Ford Trimotor Brings Aviation History to Elmira Through Flight
BIG FLATS, NY (WENY) -- A historic aircraft is bringing nearly a century of flight to excited passengers in the Twin Tiers this weekend.
The Ford Trimotor was the first ever plane meant for passenger flight, first built in the 1920's and was produced through 1933. Only 199 were ever made, and the plane's development also lead to the creation of the first paved runway.
"The Trimotor was built in 1926 to 1934, it became a project of Henry Ford's, built in Deerborn, Michigan. This particular [aircraft], there were 199 built, this serial number is 8, first flight was December 1st, 1928, and it went into service shortly after that," explained pilot and Ford Trimotor crew member Ed Kornfield.
Boarding the Ford Trimotor is like stepping back in time, with rich wood paneling, leather seating and heavy fabric curtains giving the field of early-America travel.
"It looks like a railroad car, and Henry Ford designed it to specifically; people were used to riding on Pullman cars in those days, and that was one of the reasons they designed the inside like that, so that people were already comfortable with those things," Kornfield said.
Affectionately called the Tin Goose, only about six Ford Trimotor aircraft are still in operation. The one visiting Chemung County is on loan from a museum in Ohio, and is maintained by Kornfield and staff with the Experimental Aircraft Association. They travel across the country, bringing the Ford Trimotor to communities to share her story.
"We take it all around the states, and try to keep aviation alive, at least show people what it was like, and everybody gets a chance to experience this, and it's relatively inexpensive to get a seat in here, and you'll have that experience just like back in 1928," Kornfield said. "I can say that people get on the airplane with a smile, and the smile gets bigger when they leave."
Tickets for flights this weekend are $80 for adults in purchased online, or $85 at walk-up. Children 17 and under are $55. Flights are offered continuously September 2nd, 3rd and 4th from 9AM to 5PM, taking off from the EAA hangar near the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport at 358 Sing Sing Road in Horseheads.
Flights last approximately 15 minutes, taking passengers approximately 1,000 feet above the Elmira-Corning area.
For information from the Federal Aviation Administration on the Ford Trimotor, click here.