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    Posted February 23, 2014 by
    Vero Beach, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

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    Tri Generation Flight – The Legacy of a 1929 Ford Trimotor Plane


    Tri Generation Flight – The Legacy of a 1929 Ford Trimotor Plane

    Everyone was there for a reason. Each attendee had a story and a connection to the plane, a 1929 Ford Trimotor. As we gathered at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport, we began to exchange memories like long lost friends. It was a multi-generational group who were united in the fascination of aviation history.

    As my husband, son and I stood in line with our tickets, we were moved by a 97 year old man. He was celebrating his birthday and first airplane flight. He emerged from the previous plane ride with the energy of a teenager. I was eager for our family to experience time travel but I began to wonder of this was an express route to the fountain of youth?

    On Saturday, February 22, 2014, we were hoping for a once in a life time opportunity – the chance to extend a family tradition. I confess that initially it was to be a father-son outing. However, I too benefited from my Dad’s fascination with aviation. I was not going to miss out on time travel.

    Forty-two years ago my Father-in-law, Ed, took my husband to Put-in-Bay. They flew in their Cessna 170B from the Detroit Area. They were on a mission – to fly in a 1929 Ford Trimotor plane.

    My husband, Jim, was just 12 years old. Throughout our marriage he has recounted flying in the co-pilot’s seat. He vividly recalls taxing down the runway in one of the first passenger planes at a top speed of 90 miles per hour. The internal combustion radial engines created a roar that was much different from a modern age jet. It’s hard to believe but at the time of the Ford Trimotor’s release, a Ford Model A boasted a fast speed of 40 miles an hour. Today, a Boeing 787 cruises around 561 mph.

    As a financial advisor there are other “teachable” lessons and connections to this craft. The elite status of this flying machine became stratified on October 24, 1929 – historically known as Black Thursday. The crash of the stock market on this day rang in the depression and relegated the future of the Ford Trimotor to travel for the elite. Later the DC-3 relegated it as dated.

    Jim and I still recall what a big deal it was to travel by plane in the 60’s and 70’s. I remember my mother’s white gloves and up-do’s. Jim has always reflected about the series, “Little Golden Book.” The main character, a boy, gets on a Boeing 707, and the Captain pins a set of wings on him. We have shared this legacy of love with our son, Wyatt. It spans three generations that weaves the fabric of our genealogy.

    As much as I wanted to witness a tender moment between father-son, I also, had my own agenda. I wanted to be transported into an era when women were just emerging as aviation heroes.

    Amelia Earhart has always been one of my greatest heroes. After all who can forget that it was just a year earlier, in 1928, that she was the first women to fly the Atlantic? Her choice to remain independent by referring to her marriage as a “partnership” with “dual control” made her a woman ahead of her time.

    There was also Jacqueline Cochran, born near Panama City; she was a considered to be the most gifted pilot of her generation. She was also the first woman to win the 1938 Bendix air race. At the time of her death, no other pilot held more speed, distance or altitude records in aviation history.

    As the clouds and wind rolled in off the ocean, the plane shook ever so slightly; I was pulled back to the present. My attention was drawn to my husband and son’s expressions. I revealed in their delight. We passed over Historic Dodgertown, the Alma Lee Loy Bridge, the Indian River Lagoon and the turquoise ocean shore. All of this gave me great joy. It seemed that in less than 30 minutes, we had traveled around the world. We were connected on a voyage of discovery. It was a tribute to the past and peak at new beginnings.

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