Ford Tri-motor Full Flight, Start-up, Walk-Around,Takeoff, Landing at Rochester Int’l AirportAs Matt Cochran might say, “TRRIIIIIIII-MOOTOOR, TRRIIIIIIII-MOOTOOR, TRRIIIIIIII-MOOTOOOOOR”.

To write a description for this aircraft or this aircraft type is indeed a very long undertaking if you wish to be thorough but I’ll make it short and sweet. Quite simply, in all of flying history, this is one of aviation’s most valuable airplane types ever.

Powered by 3 Pratt & Whitney R-985 Series engines that still know how to get the job done, this Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT-B, NC9645, serial No. 8, is one of only 8 or 9 still in airworthy condition according to sources.

This is the same basic kind that Pan American Airways used on its first international flights from Key West to Havana, Cuba back in 1927… the first ever aircraft type to fly over the South Pole.

In its history the Ford Tri-Motor has been asked to accomplish every aviation mission type imaginable and has done it all.

This Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT-B, NC9645, serial No. 8 flew its first flight on December 1, 1928 and is named “City of Wichita” and originally flew for Transcontinental Air Transport TAT. It’s had quite the history serving with TWA, Grand Canyon Airlines, Boulder Dam Tours, TACA Airlines, being in accident, being in storage, and eventually being restored in Nevada. It changed hands a few more times after that before now being owned by Liberty Aviation Museum and by lease agreement with the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) it now does tours around the country and gives flights to avgeeks like me who appreciate its history.

You feel that connection to air travelers of past in a very real way flying on this Ford Tri-Motor. Here’s the airplane type that helped kickstart the #avgeek travel life that I love most. This was the first all-metal, multi-engine airliner and its existence led to the first hotel made specifically for the air traveler, the building of the first paved runway and the building of the first airline terminal.

Truly a bucket-list item for this airplane geek and I’m so glad I can share it with you.

Filmed at Rochester International Airport in Rochester, Minnesota KRST/RST……

Thanks to Signature Flight Support for hosting the event.


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Planespotting Rochester International Airport KRST/RST Rochester, Minnesota 2017
© O’HareAviation 2017