AUSTIN, Texas (Spectrum) — The Municipal Airport in San Marcos is home to an aircraft museum with some fascinating old airplanes and one of those is a special visitor in town for the weekend.
When people see a 1928 Ford Tri-Motor on the ground, they might think it’s an antique airplane, but the people who fly the “Tin Goose” see it more like a time travel machine.
“We get to get in it and pinch ourselves and we really get to go for a ride and experience 1928 aviation,” said pilot Todd Mather.
It’s noisy and there is no air conditioning, restroom or auto pilot functions. In the roaring 20’s this was considered luxury travel. Sally Swiegart, 86, got her ticket to ride as a Mother’s Day present. It is one that brings back memories of the first time she got off the ground.
“Very early planes, like when I was a kid, this reminded me of that but I knew it would fly well I wasn’t afraid, it was great,” said Swiegart.
Looking out the broad windows gives close to a bird’s eye view over I-35 and the Texas State University campus. The speed barely cracks 80 mph and the plane only goes about 1,000 feet off the ground. This ride wasn’t built for getting through the sky in a hurry.
“It was essentially made to make people feel at home even though at the time it was a new style of transportation,” said Russell Ross, who volunteers for the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Ford only made the Tri-Motors for a short time. This version heavily influenced the industry as the first mass produced commercial airplane.
For the dozen people who can fit inside, the thrill of lifting off and touching down hasn’t gone out style.
Volunteers with the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association are selling rides on the plane as a fundraiser. It’s free to come see the plane and take pictures at the San Marcos Municipal airport.