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'Tin Goose' returns to the skies of northwest Ohio

Tourists can take a step back in time with a ride on the historic aircraft.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — The Ford Trimotor was a major player in both aviation and local history. On Saturday, it returned to the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton to offer rides to folks who hoped to take a step back in time.

The plane is better known as the "Tin Goose."

"It kind of waddles when it's out on the runway; looks like a big old goose. But, it's made out of tin," Dave Hirt of the Experimental Aircraft Association said.

A ride in the "Tin Goose" is hot and noisy. 

It was America's first coast-to-coast passenger airliner and was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company between 1925 and 1933. One hundred ninety-nine were built for airlines like United, Pan Am, Continental and Delta.

Today, only 12 remain in the world and only six are still flying.

As aviation technology advanced, the "Tin Goose" became obsolete and went out of production, but it left behind a lasting legacy.

"That was the airplane that started it all. It was America's first all-metal airline; built them out of metal because they were durable," Hirt said.

The "Tin Goose" also played a historical role in our area. It was a commuter airplane used for transportation between the Lake Erie Islands and the mainland.

"Island Airlines flew to the islands for years in these airplanes, flying everything from people to chickens, hogs and dogs to groceries," Tin Goose pilot Dave Ross said.

The "Tin Goose" holds a special place in the hearts of tourists like Sue Fogle, who rode the plane on a Saturday flight. She last rode on the "Tin Goose" 50 years ago with her family on a day trip to Put-In-Bay.

"It looks exactly the same; a little fancier now because then it was more of a day-to-day operation," she said.

You can hitch a twenty minute ride on "Tin Goose" out of Put-In-Bay Airport —weather permitting — all day Sunday. The cost is $77 per passenger. 

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