First ever passenger airliner takes flight in Perry

PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The first ever passenger airliner in the country touched down in Perry on Thursday. 

The plane is almost 85 years old.

41NBC had a chance to go up in the air with the man who gets to fly it on a daily basis and he says it’s unlike anything he’s ever flown before. 

With a wingspan of about 77 feet….and weighing around 10,000 pounds….
The 1929 Ford Tri-Motor isn’t what most of us are used to when thinking of air travel.
The plane is the first ever to take to take passengers to their destination through the skies. 
A chance to ride was something Jerry Gallegos and his son, Jake, couldn’t pass up. 
“We used to live right over one of the places we just flew over. I used to jog over here to this airport. So it was kind of neat, flying over the places that I was pretty familiar with,” Gallegos said. 
The plane gave passengers an opportunity to see a birds eye view of Perry
I was a little nervous, but the plane’s pilot Bill Thacker, says the plane rides sturdier and smoother now, than it did 80 plus years ago.
“It actually flies slower than most of the planes you see on a ramp. Also, how quickly it takes to the air, it only takes about 300 feet of ground running and it’s flying,” Thacker said. 
Thacker, who’s been flying airplanes for 30 years,  says the old charm of the plane is real a blast from the past…
“It truly is a walk back in time. It is a very faithful restoration. The wood on the inside, the paint, is like it was when it was new,” he said. 
There’s only 199 of the Ford Tri-Motors that were ever built. 
A little piece of history, Jerry and Jake won’t ever forget….
“I wanted him to get bit by the flying bug like I was bit a long time ago,” Gallegos said. 

Flights on the airliner are open to the public until Friday at the Perry-Houston County airport. 

Tickets to hop on board are $75 for adults and $50 for kids. 

Categories: Local News

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