Ford Tri-Motor returns to Air Zoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — This summer, the Air Zoo is offering flight opportunities in its restored 1929 Ford Tri-Motor.

The Ford Tri-Motor was the world’s first mass-produced airliner. Between 1925 and 1933, the Ford Motor Co. built 199 Tri-Motors. Today, only 12 remain.

The Tri-Motor flight experience will last about 15 minutes and will take place at the Air Zoo’s East Campus.

1929 Ford 5AT Tri-Motor 4The Air Zoo’s 5-AT Ford Tri-Motor came off the assembly line in 1929 with serial number 58 and was delivered to National Air Transport where it delivered freight and mail. It quickly went to Ford Motor Co. for modifications and then was sold to Northwest Airways, flying passengers on the Minneapolis-St Paul to Chicago run. It was one of five Tri-Motors bought by what would become Northwest Airlines.

Kal-Aero of Kalamazoo later purchased the Tri-Motor and started rebuilding it. After many years of work, the new Tri-Motor flew again in 1991 and was later donated to the Air Zoo.

Guests can take flight in this aircraft the weekends of May 24-27 and July 18-21. Tickets are $70 per person in advance, $75 at the gate and $50 for children 17 and younger.

The Air Zoo’s Tri-Motor is operated by EAA and tickets can be purchased by calling 877-952-5395 or by visiting

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