Southsider Voice “Car Nutz” columnist Bill Thorpe traded in his wheels for a pair of wings when soaring over the Indiana University campus last month in a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor.
A member of the media who took a flight on the Experimental Aircraft Association’s airplane, Thorpe said the experience is one that he will cherish forever.
Sitting comfortably in a leather seat next to a picture window, Thorpe knew it was time for takeoff when the pilot – manning the aircraft from an open cockpit – turned around and said, “OK, folks, buckle up. It’s time to go up.”
Thorpe said he could feel and hear the power of the three engines as the plane barrelled down the runway. “It was loud, but that was the way it was supposed to be back in the day. Hearing the engines was part of the experience, and they are close to the seats.
“The plane made a lot of racket, but you could carry on a conversation. You could feel the air going over the wings, which resulted in a bumpy ride. But it was really neat and a lot of fun, and I got to go into the cockpit. I didn’t want to come down. I wish the flight had lasted longer. I had never been on a plane this old.”
The plane, which made banked turns over the campus to allow the passengers to take good pictures, seats 12, including two pilots.
You could say that Thorpe has a need for speed.
Earlier this year he participated in the two-day Corvette Owners Driving School in Parump, Nev., about 60 miles west of Las Vegas. The program is conducted on a 2.1-mile road course complete with hairpin turns, S-curves and straightaways.