Goldsboro Air Center Hosts A Stately War Veteran

p>The Goldsboro Air Center in Pikeville, North Carolina, was able to host an honorable war veteran earlier this week. The 1929 Ford 4-A-T-E Tri Motor plane was struck by bullets at Pearl Harbor a remarkable 67 years ago. Fans were able to get a closer look at this rare and time-tested aircraft at the Goldsboro Air Center during the weekend.

The 1929 Ford 4-A-T-E Tri-Motor plane was available to view between 11:00 and 14:00 on Sunday, December 7, 2008 at the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport. The airport is situated at 240 Aviation Road in Pikeville, and the rare and carefully restored aircraft drew quite a bit of attention. According to Steve Davis, the president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, the opportunity to see this important and historic aircraft was incredibly rare “because so few of Ford’s marvelous Tri-Motor airplanes still exist.” Davis added that this may well be “the last chance to see an icon of an important period in American history before it goes into a private collection.”

The Ford Motor Company built just 199 Tri-Motor airplanes between 1926 and 1933. This particular aircraft was built in Spokane, Washington, in 1929. It served as a passenger plane for Mamer Flying Service. It was apparently shot during the war shortly after it was bought by Honolulu’s KT Flying Service and taken to Hawaii. A surprise attack by Japan saw bullets puncturing the aircraft’s exterior. Fortunately the punctures were quickly repaired and the Tri-Motor airplane was able to be returned to service without too much difficulty.

It then enjoyed a short stint at the Trans World Airlines 20th anniversary celebration in 1949 where it was on display. After the war the plane was sold, where upon it was modified into a sprayer and a firefighting tanker. It was used by Johnson Flying Service to provide firefighters with much needed supplies and to drop smoke jumpers. Its active career came to a close around 1969 when the plane was bought by a private owner and put on display in the Wings and Wheels museum collection in Orlando, Florida. And that was where it remained until it was bought by Barret-Jackson who set to work carefully restoring the aircraft, making it capable of flight once more, but not taking away any of its original character and charm. The aircraft is now ready for a new owner and will be auctioned off. The short, open-house display provided prospective buyers – and the general public – the chance to see the aircraft in person before the big sale. The aircraft is set to go on auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 17, 2009.