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Take a ride on the "Tin Goose"

This summer, the Air Zoo is excited to once again offer flights in its historic Ford Tri-Motor. The Tri-Motor has a colorful past and its return to the skies has been much-anticipated by both Air Zoo staff and visitors.

Take flight in the Air Zoo's 1929 Ford 5AT Tri-Motor!

The Air Zoo's 5-AT Ford Tri-Motor (N4819) came off the assembly line in 1929 with serial number 58 and was delivered to National Air Transport where it probably delivered freight and mail. It quickly went to Ford Motor Company for modifications and then was sold to Northwest Airways flying the Minneapolis-St Paul to Chicago run. It was one of five Tri-Motors bought by what would become Northwest Airlines.

Eventually it flew out to Seattle, Washington where it was purchased by the co-founder of Northern Air Transport. It was based in Fairbanks, where it carried freight for what became Wien Alaskan Airlines (later to become Alaska Airlines).

Later on, the Tri-Motor was flown all the way from Alaska to Monroe, Michigan in 1945 where Monroe Airways completely overhauled it and used it for barnstorming and selling rides. From there, the Tri-Motor's list of uses included: being used for scenic flights down into the Grand Canyon, delivering smokejumpers to forest fires and was also rented back to Northwest Airlines in 1956 to participate in the company's 30th anniversary where it was even featured on the Arthur Godfrey Show.

Kal-Aero of Kalamazoo (later bought out by Duncan Aviation) purchased the Tri-Motor and started rebuilding it. After many years of work, the new Tri-Motor flew again on July 15, 1991. It was purchased and donated to the Air Zoo, which flew it until it was time for a complete overhaul.

Flight Opportunities

May 24 - 27

Tickets are $70 per person in advance, $75 at the gate, $50 for children 17 and younger. To book your flight today, visit or call 1-877-952-5395.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program