← Gone. Not forgotten.
The Island Airlines Ford Tri-Motor over Put-in-Bay- sold
I flew on one of these back in 1972 when I was a kid. I will never forget the roar of those radial engines, nor forget the pilot turning the plane around to pick up a woman’s forgotten diaper bag! A vanishing piece of Americana that will be sorely missed.
When I was 10 years old on 8/21/72, our family was taking a flight from Port Clinton to Put-In-Bay in the morning. We missed the flight because my father was getting a newspaper from the “terminal”. We watched the plane take off, and then crashed right in front of us. I don’t think any passengers were hurt, but the pilot was. There was only one trimotor left, and we took the next flight.
My parents used to take my sisters and I to PIB every summer and we always flew on the tri-motor. Some of the fondest childhood memories we had are from the island. A few years ago they had a rebuilt tri-motor from Oshkosh in Catawba and I took my parents and my then 10 yr old son (who sat in the co-pilots seat) for a 20 minute flight over the islands and we relived those summers days. I loved hearing the roar of those engines and looking out those windows waiting to get to the island but wishing the flight would never end. Fond memories indeed!
I agree. I have ridden, and flown, many different kinds of aircraft and nothing compares with the “Tin Goose.”
Neat! I got my first airplane ride in the old Island Airlines “Tin Goose.” Not at Put-In-Bay, though. The plane was touring around selling rides in 1976, and I flew in her during a stop in Hillsdale, Michigan..for the princely sum of 12 dollars. Last summer my wife and I flew on the EAA Ford Tri-motor, and it cost us 60 dollars each (for a much shorter ride.)
I try to keep tabs on the Island Airlines Ford. She’s currently owned by Florida aircraft collector Kermit Weeks, and has been under long-term rebuild since a hangar collapsed on her during Hurricane Andrew. I’m not sure what the current status of the project is.
There is a Tri-Motor restoration project underway in Port Clinton:
Thanks for the reminder. I have been following their progress. It is going to be a great tourist attraction for Port Clinton area.
I flew in a Tri-motor during a Henry County air tour.The airfield was a hay field on Fuhrhop Farm on Co.Rd. J Henry County ,Ohio
Sometime in the late 1970s, a group of friends went ice fishing at Put-in-Bay, back in the days before global warming when the lake froze so hard that a pick-up truck ferried us to and from the ice shacks. We threw the perch we caught out on the ice, and they instantly froze. I remember a gull trying to pick one up with no success.
We flew there and back to the mainland on the Tin Goose.
The flight out was uneventful, but the flight back was unforgettable, at least for me.
The plane was totally full so I was picked for the co-pilot’s seat. I remember that the floor wasn’t level and it was like walking up an incline to get into the cabin. There was no consideration of whether or not I was a mad terrorist, a thought not in the nation’s consciousness at the time.
Now, it was snowing heavily as we took off, and it seemed to be a white-out once we were in the air. The pilot seemed very young, perhaps even a teenager, and he was as calm as a cat stalking its prey.
I wasn’t doing as well, especially when he asked me to look out the window and let him know when I saw the shoreline. Thankfully, I did see the shoreline, told the pilot and he banked hard right, scanning the shoreline until he recognized something, banked left and shortly we were on the ground. I thought we had dodged a very unpleasant experience, but you would have never have guessed it from the pilot’s matter-of-fact countenance, with no sense of visible relief.
My friends were completely unaware of what transpired, thinking it had been an excellent return flight, probably assuming the Tin Goose was capable of instrument landings.
My thought was what a great young pilot and how proud Charles Lindbergh would have been of the kid’s focused skill.
My opinion changed when I got off the plane and saw the airline owner or some official, red-faced, and chewing out our pilot. Apparently, he should have never taken off in that blizzard.
I’ve always wondered if the pilot had had a hot date and was unwilling to be stuck on South Bass Island and miss it.
The Ford Tri-Motor was a great airplane for its time. Thanks for sharing your memories.
I lived in Port Clinton,Ohio and made my first airplane ride in the Ford Tri Motor around 1940 when I was 10 years old. What a thrill!! Our family moved to Cleveland in 1945 where I continued to follow the fantastic growth of aviation displayed at the Cleveland Air Races. One of my kids was an Air Force F-15C fighter pilot in the 90′s and flew at Mach 1.0-2.0. Awsome!!He is now a 15 yr, Southwest Captain. All this started at that little scrruby,wind wind blown grass field on the shore of Lake Erie. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
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