A Ford Tri-Motor was briefly brought back to Port Clinton in 2008 for a Fourth of July event
I grew up spending weekends with family at a vacation trailer park in Ohio on Lake Erie, a short drive from the Cedar Point amusement park. Several times daily, the Ford Tri-Motor airplanes would carry fisherman and tourists to Put-In-Bay, a town on South Bass Island out in the lake. You could hear them coming because they flew so low and the engines were so deafening. It was a scheduled airline, and the one-way tickets were maybe $7.
I had never flown before, and so one day I said to my mom, "Let's go take a flight!" My dad drove my mom and I to the Port Clinton airport and we boarded right from the tarmac. No security, no stewardesses, no snacks. I remember that the plane had the capacity for about 18 passengers, but it wasn't full this flight. The seats were minimal and metal, and you could see the pilot. I don't think there was a co-pilot.
I sat on the right side of the plane and I do remember that once we took off and I looked down on the street, I was astonished to see that we were going only just a little faster than the cars on the country roads. We passed over the trailer park and Mouse Island and the ferry docks. It wasn't very high, flying just a few hundred feet above the tree tops. Out over the lake and then we were at our first stop, Middle Bass with Lonz Winery. There we dropped off a few fisherman, who had their fishing poles and tackleboxes just laying in the aisle next to me.
We took off again and circled around Perry's Victory Monument on Put-In-Bay. We were right at the same level as the observation deck; you could look at the people up there on the deck! It was so cool! It was right there!
After landing on the island, my mom and I took the airport's old, converted school bus-turned-shuttle to the Miller Ferry. We went right back to our trailer park; we didn't even stay on the island for lunch. It was just about the flight experience. My next flight wouldn't happen until several years later, and then it was long-haulDetroit to Honolulu!