STOCKTON — An old Ford Tri-Motor plane flies across the country year-round and the piece of history has also been cruising through the Stockton skies.
“The flight was wonderful. We flew all around Stockton and saw some of the sights,” said Randy Welch.
The Experimental Aviation Association’s Ford Tri-Motor Tour landed at Stockton Metropolitan Airport Thursday to take groups of people like Welch up in the air through Sunday.
“I waited all my life,” Welch said. “I never thought I’d really get a chance to do this, but it exceeded all of our expectations.”
The plane only reaches around 85 mph and soars at around 1,000 feet above the ground but for Welch, it was a way to experience flight like he never has before.
“The slow speed of the aircraft and the big windows it made like you were in a movie and just flying on a cloud,” Welch explained.
The pilot, Taylor Oliver, says the old metal plane was the lap of luxury and innovation 90 years ago.
“In 1929, it became one of the first inaugural airplanes to bring transcontinental air service between the East Coast and the West Coast with transcontinental air transport,” Oliver stated. “This was a very opulent airplane. It’s outfitted more like a train car would be rather than the commercial airliners that we’re used to today with plastic and fake leather.”
Oliver says the 30-minute flights give passengers a glimpse of a time long gone.
“It’s just really fun to take a step back in the past and see what things used to be like but more than that, it allows us to see how far we’ve come and maybe what we take for granted,” he said.
For Welch, it did just that and more by reigniting his passion for aviation.
“Flying commercially for the last 30 or 40 years, over a million miles, it’s become so routine, it’s like a bus trip. And taking a flight on the Tri-Motor, it’s just something that brought me back to really enjoying flying again,” Welch expressed.
If you missed out on the experience this weekend, you still have a chance to experience flying the historic aircraft. The Ford Tri-Motor Tour will be heading to Marysville from April 11 to 14 and then to Auburn April 25 through 28.
You can find more information about the tour on their website.