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Yes, that's a plane being restored right there
Hey, did you know that Ford once made airplanes?
It was the 1920s and Henry Ford had a finger in many industries, but aviation took a backseat only to cars. During the period from 1925-1933, 199 Ford Tri-Motors were produced in Dearborn, Michigan and Henry himself blatantly bragged that its all-metal, American-built construction made it the "safest airliner in the world."
Ford Tri-Motors are still puttering around, outliving and outflying countless other airplanes. They've lived crazy lives, for example going from Pan Am to drug smuggling in Central America, doing domestic routes in Cuba to hopping between the Lake Erie Islands. It's that last piece of the Tin Goose's history that's being celebrated with the debut of a new museum at Ohio's Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport (PCW), the former home of Tri-Motor operator Island Airlines.
The Liberty Aviation Museum formally opened on Friday, and we were there for the fanfare. Focusing on World War II, the golden age of aviation and vintage aircraft, the museum covers multiple bases for history lovers. However, it's the Ford Tri-Motor that rings most truly with us, having figured in our personal family history. This is a story, told by my mother, of her first flight everonboard an Island Airlines Ford Tri-Motor from PCW to Lake Erie's South Bass Island.