Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a little trip in a piece of history. I got to experience what air travel was like nearly 80 years ago very cool. Donna Prather, the vice president of the Hamilton County Tourism Commission and I drove out to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport in Fishers and climbed aboard a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor aircraft. The folks at the Experimental Aircraft Association were kind enough to allow us on their media flight. The whole time I was up there I was thinking about how far transportation has come since the 1930s. Although the Ford Tri-Motor was pretty advanced for its time, the plane was ancient compared to the comfort that we are accustomed to riding in today. But, as Donna put it, riding in a Boeing Jet isn't real flying like this was. I mean, Amelia Earhart flew a Ford Tri-Motor. Let me say it again VERY COOL! The three motors were deafening and made my whole body vibrate. Every time the plane made the slightest turn, or the wind blew, I could feel it. Thankfully Thursday was calm, turbulence in that little thing would have been scary, to say the least. It was SO COOL to be up there, but then again, it was only for 15 minutes. I can't imagine actually travelling somewhere on that plane. If we wanted to take a trip anywhere, my family of 5 would have filled up close to half of the plane's seats. Furthermore, the plane had no instruments, so the pilot had to do everything simply by sight. Which explains why we were flying only 1,000 feet above Fishers when the average commercial jet reaches a cruising altitude of 30,000-40,000 feet.
What was cool about this was that I could recognize a lot of the things that we were flying over. We passed over Hamilton Town Center, I-69, Conner Prairie, and both Fishers and Hamilton South Eastern High Schools (I'm not going to lie, the only reason I recognized those two were because of the football fields). I'm going to venture a guess and say that the view in 1929 was probably a bit different. We knew that the Ford Tri-Motor planes were the world's first mass-produced commercial airliners, but once we got there we discovered that our plane had a unique history of its own. This particular plane took the first flight for Cubana Airlines in October of 1930, and then became Air Force One for the Dominican Republic in 1946. It returned to the U.S. in 1949 and in 1965 was featured in the Jerry Lewis movie The Family Jewels. In 1973 the plane was damaged in a windstorm and the EAA purchased it and began a 12-year restoration. More recently the plane is featured in the upcoming movie Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Johnny Depp actually taxied the plane that I was in. When the movie comes out on July 1, I think I'm going to have to go see it with my friends just to tell them that I have been on that plane.
Here are a few more pictures from the day!