“Sell-out” crowds boarded a 1929 Ford “Tin Goose” passenger plane to enjoy nostalgic fly-overs of Miami-Dade County from Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, Feb. 13-16.
The roar of the Eastern Aircraft trimotor engines on daily flights was a noisy benefit for the airport’s “Young Eagles,” whose members, ages 8-17, take free flights in vintage aircraft restored by members of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, a national non-profit.
“It’s a first-time experience to ride in one of our planes and experience something entirely different from flying inside a commercial jet,” said Yale Mosk, president of the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport-based EAA.
A Pinecrest resident who hangars two of his own craft, both he and more than 50 members provide free flights while building or carefully restoring vintage aircraft.EAA members encourage interest in flying while providing an education on aviation history during every-other-month flights.
For visitors Ed and Nancy Hirsh, arrival of the Tin Goose was a nostalgic treat: “I heard that old plane fly overhead so we drove down here just to see it once again,” explained Hirsh, whose father took him for a once-in-alifetime trip aboard the tri-motor craft when he was 7 years old — 81 years ago.
“We had a turn-away crowd, a spectacular success,” said Rick Sante, who is coordinating a Florida schedule for the Tin Goose. He counted a total of 640 trips over the four-day Kendall stopover, advertised at $75 per trip.
“We had waiting lines for the flights because The Goose only seats 15,” he said while manning a hot dog barbecue stand just outside the entrance to Landmark Aviation’s ultra modern building that hosted the Tin Goose, so named because it was the first U.S. passenger plane entirely fabricated in metal.
Noting that all proceeds will benefit the Young Eagles programming, Mosk said the nearly 60 members of Kendall- Tamiami EAA also fly both restored and rented craft out of Homestead Airport to provide free trips for youth.
The EAA Young Eagles program was launched officially on May 13, 1992 at a news conference in Washington, DC. Since then more than 42,000 member pilots have flown over 1.5 million youngsters from more than 90 countries.
On Nov. 13, 2003, the Young Eagle program registered the one millionth Young Eagle and on Dec. 17, 2003 the one million flight goal was met as the program continues to fly young people, without cost, in communities across the world.
The appearance of the Tin Goose is one of many events associated with Wings Over Miami to document South Florida aviation history and encourage interest in vintage aircraft restorations and model building.
For information, visit www.eaa620.org.