Antique aircraft comes to Hastings

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - You can take a trip back in time with a ride on the world's first mass-produced airliner right here in Hastings.

A 1928 Ford Tri-Motor plane, also known as the "Tin Goose," is at the Hastings Municipal Airport this weekend. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

The Experimental Aircraft Association is hosting a 1928 Ford Tri-Motor plane, also called the "Tin Goose" at the Hastings Municipal Airport this weekend.

Rides kicked off on Thursday. One of the riders was Jack Northrop, a World War II veteran and current resident of The Kensington. He was only four years old when people boarded the first flight.

"To be in something that was built years and years ago, and somebody has kept it up so that it can be flown, it make me think of the people that had to fly in them, such as the bombers and the fighters," Northrop said.

Northrop sat and waited for his turn to fly with six other veterans, who also live at The Kensington.

This isn't his first time in the Tri-Motor, however. Northrop flew in this exact plane in Wisconsin many years after the war.

"For some reason we get fascinated by an airplane. What makes it fly, what makes it stay in the air?" Northrop said.

There were almost 200 Ford Tri-Motor's built. Only five of them are currently in flying condition. The one at the Hastings Municipal Airport is one of the few passengers still ride in.

The flying experience is about 20 minutes long. You fly 1,000 feet over Hastings, and can watch the pilot work the controls.

"You start these engines, and they get into that bucketa, bucketa, bucketa," said Steve Lambrich, the pilot."There's just nothing else like it. I'm definitely a fan of the old radio round engines."

Lambrich has been a pilot for more than 40 years. He currently flies with United.

He's one of 12 pilots that flies these antique planes across the country. Lambrich has worked with this program for the past three years.

"Prior to building these, they basically had mail airplanes. They would throw a few seats in there and passengers would fly with the mail. This was the first purpose-built airliner. The Fords, people really realized the Fords started the airline industry as we know it," Lambrich said.

The experience gives you a chance to see Hastings through the lens of a 1920s passenger.

They'll continue rides from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. You can buy tickets at the door for $77.

People are also welcome to go and look at the plane.