Historic Experimental Aircraft Coming To Falcon Field
January 9, 2019
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
The Liberty Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT-B is making its Falcon Field debut in late January, thanks to the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 50.
The aircraft will arrive at Falcon Field on Monday, January 21. Rides and visits will be available to the public 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, January 24, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, January 25, to Sunday, January 27. The rides are 15 minutes and cost between $50 and $70. A secure flight-reservation system and complete information are available through EAA’s Tri-Motor tour website at flytheford.org or by calling 1-877-952-5395.
The visit is sponsored by EAA corporate in Wisconsin, the local EAA Chapter 228 and Warbird Squadron at Falcon Field. Admission is free, but there is a charge to ride in the aircraft.
EAA Chapter 228 President Trent Heidtke said the event’s goal is twofold: to expose kids to aviation and to raise funds for the organization’s programs.
“It is, in a lot of senses, exposing people to aviation, but at the root of it is fundraising,” he said. “The rides pay for the gas for the airplane and pay for additional programs for kids throughout the year. We have an aviation camp that goes on throughout the year.
“However, if we don’t start training for the left seat of a commercial plane, that’s going to be a problem down the line.”
Heidtke describes an experimental aircraft as one built by an individual or group for the sole purpose of flying it themselves.
“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has a very heavy hand in making sure the airplane is built or manufactured to a specific criterial before it’s signed off to take to the skies.”
The 1928 Ford Tri-Motor, nicknamed the “Tin Goose,” underwent a 12-year restoration beginning in the 1970s. Philip Buckalew is an EAA Chapter 228 member and the Ford Tri-Motor marketing chairman. He said the aircraft tours in multiple cities each year and is serial No. 8.
“We’ll have other planes on display,” Buckalew said. “We’ll round up similar vintage aircraft for static displays, and there are a couple others in another organization that we may be able to bring out. We’ll have similar vintage antique cars on static display, also.”
The Falcon Warbirds promotes aviation through the event as well, said Santiago Montez, the organization’s vice president.
“We’re interested in educating the general public and kids in aviation,” Montez said. “We try to encourage them to pursue an aviation career if there’s interest.”