Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Pilot-in-training Larry Tobin of Spokane, Wash., stands under the Experimental Aircraft Association's restored 1929 Ford Tri-Motor nicknamed the "Tin Goose," which was built by the Ford Motor Company in the late 1920s and played a major part in the development of safe and reliable air transportation in the United States. The public can ride on board the classic aircraft at Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville through Tuesday.
"It feels like I've been shot out of a gun," David Stinson Jr. said. "It's so exhilarating."
A freshman at Grayson High School, Stinson said his favorite part of flying is takeoff. After hearing stories from his aunts in the Air Force and his grandma who builds bombers at a base in Warner Robins, Stinson became interested in aviation and now tries to take plane rides as often as he can.
As a member of the Young Eagles, a club for young people interested in flying, Stinson has had the opportunity to fly in general aviation planes before, but never a Ford Tri-Motor. On Thursday afternoon, he rode the "Tin Goose" for a quick spin above Gwinnett County.
The Experimental Aircraft Association brought the restored 1929 Tri-Motor to Lawrenceville as part of its 2012 tour. The tour allows aviation enthusiasts, like Stinson, to take a 15-minute flight in one of the few remaining Tri-Motors for $80. The plane will be at Briscoe Field at the Gwinnett County Airport through Tuesday.
Built by Henry Ford, the Tri-Motor was the first mass-produced airliner in the United States. Its blue and gray Eastern Airline paint job, leather seats and interior woodwork show its age. The plane holds seven passengers, each having access to a large picture window allowing for wide aerial views of Gwinnett's landscape.
EAA brings Ford Tri-Motor Aircraft to Lawrenceville
A look at the Experimental Aircraft Association's restored 1929 Ford Tri-Motor nicknamed the "Tin Goose," which was built by the Ford Motor Company in the late 1920s as it takes flight on May 24, 2012 in Lawrenceville.
"It might be slow but it can haul anything you get in it," said pilot Colin Soucy as he gave the passengers a brief history of the plane. According to Soucy, the aircraft had an interesting past including service to Cuba and roles in movies, the most recent being "Public Enemies" with star Johnny Depp, who sat in the last seat on the left.
After the brief, Stinson entered the plane and sat behind the pilot for an Young Eagle's eye view. Visitors are encouraged to take pictures as they fly above Coolray Field and the Mall of Georgia.
"This one is going to be hard to beat," Stinson said of the experience.
EAA volunteer Joel Levine said the Tri-Motor flight is a great way to reach out to young plane lovers like Stinson. "Not all of them are going to be pilots but it gives them a taste of what its like to fly a plane," Levine said.
The Lawrenceville chapter of the EAA has given individual plane rides to more than 600 kids.
Exiting the plane, Stinson seemed even surer about his future as an aviator. "I like Delta and I want to fly planes commercially," he said.
For information on the EAA'S Tri-Motor tour, visit flytheford.com or call 877-952-5395 to pre-book flights.