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The Ford Tri-Motor and the Lake Erie Islands Region

The history of the Ford Tri-Motor and the Lake Erie Islands region are very much intertwined.

Beginning in 1936, Ford Tri-Motors were a common sight in the skies above our region, playing a vital role to the isolated populations on the Lake Erie islands.


For the first time, people had a reliable form of all-season transportation for travel to & from the mainland, as well as in between the islands themselves.


With their large payloads and short takeoff and landing capabilities, Ford

Tri-Motors were ideally suited for their work of hauling passengers and freight in and out of the short island runways.


For nearly 50 years, the Tri-Motor was put to good use as an ambulance, commuter, school bus, mail plane, hearse and freight hauler, carrying an almost endless list of cargo on a daily basis.

The World's Shortest Airline

The importance of this all-metal aircraft to the Lake Erie islands region, as well as the development of safe and dependable commercial air transportation, cannot be overstated.


In 2008, our group was honored to be awarded an Ohio Historical  Marker to commemorate the "World's Shortest Airline" and the importance of its Ford Tri-Motors in developing our local region.

This marker can be seen on display just across the field from Liberty Aviation Museum, outside the main terminal of the

Erie-Ottawa International Airport.

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