WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The roaring 20s recently made a special visit to the City of Wichita, offering passengers a trip to the past.
A 1928 Ford Tri-Motor plane, best known for redefining world travel and marking the beginning of commercial flight, is touring the country, inviting people to learn and share in the spirit of aviation.
“This is the way people used to travel, and this is the mode of transportation that inaugurated east to west and west to east, transcontinental transport. It really joined both coasts of our country together,” said Pilot Taylor Oliver. “That occurred in 1929, almost 100 years ago, so it’s really important to see how things used to be and be able to compare them to how easy we have things today.”
Oliver is one of several volunteers who travel the country with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). While in Wichita, he flew dozens of people on board the Tri-Motor 5-AT-B, which was named after the City of Wichita.
“There’s a huge history here, and this actual airplane was inaugurated in the City of Wichita by Transcontinental Air Transport,” Oliver explained. “They named the aircraft off of their major hubs as they came from New York out to Los Angeles.”
The plane changed ownership multiple times and underwent numerous renovations following its inauguration. It is now part of the Liberty Aviation Museum in Ohio. Oliver said thanks to a leasing agreement with the EAA, people of all ages have the chance to ride on and learn about the plane.
“I want folks to have an appreciation for how things were and be able to draw parallels to how things are today and just see just how far we have actually come and how convenient and accessible air travel is now and safe versus the way it was back in the 20s,” Oliver said.
Chuck Powell of Wichita is also a pilot. He and his young grandson, Octavious, enjoyed a trip on board the Tri-Motor.
“I heard it was coming to town, and I just knew that it would make a good memory for him,” said Powell. “Hopefully, he will remember it and grow up to be an aviator.”
Click here to see the Tri-Motor tour schedule and ticket pricing.