NAPLES, Fla. - The airplane that started the airline industry as we know is at the Naples Municipal Airport.
The Ford Tri-Motor is one of the most important pieces of aviation history still flying. At the ripe old age of 85, she took her maiden flight in August of 1929.
Just 26 years after the Wright Bothers historic powered flight at Kitty Hawk. That's how long aviation took to grow from infancy to airlines.
Henry Ford designed the 3 engine airplane after World War I, when he recognized the need for mass air transportation.
"It's not very complicated the engines are still available today for this" says Tom Leahy, A Tri-Motor Pilot. He says, "Henry Ford thought that this is the way to travel."
Ford wanted to make flying more enjoyable for passengers. By doing so, each seat provided the 9 flyers on board with a window and isle experience under an enclosed cabin.
These airplanes were built using all metal according to Leahy. They were nicknamed "The Tin Goose."
Leahy's been flying this particular Tri-Motor since 2002. In fact, it's one of only a few that is still around, "there are 7 other flyable airplanes like this, however they're all static displays or not available for the public to use" says Leahy.
Back then Ford built 199 of the aircrafts.