I built quite a few model aeroplanes as a kid. Mostly Airfix kits, and one made from scratch out of balsa wood that actually flew, powered by a small and very noisy engine. I’ll never forget the excitement, the sense of achievement I felt watching that little plane take to the sky for the first time. Now multiply that feeling by at least a hundred, and that’s what it must be like to build your own real life aircraft, one you can fly yourself and go places in.
Home built aircraft, or kit planes, are very popular in Australia – lower purchase prices and operating costs are a key factor. But many owners will tell you one of the big attractions was the challenge of building their own aircraft. There are more than 100 different types of home built aircraft flying in Australia, and there’s more on the way. One of the best known is the Jabiru http://www.jabiru.net.au/ – made in Bundaberg, the home of Australian aviation pioneer Bert Hinkler.
You buy the aircraft in kit form and it depends on you how long it’ll take to build. A good example is Cairns pilot John Martin – who took 1400 hours. Once you’ve got it registered and you have your pilot licence, you’re ready to fly.
Home built aircraft owners are represented by the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia www.saaafnq.com
Its Cairns chapter is having an information night next Thursday July 4 in Cairns for people thinking of buying or building a home built or kit plane. You’ll hear from people who’ve done it successfully, get the chance to ask questions and find out if it’s for you. The information session starts at 7pm at the North Queensland Aero Club www.nqac.com.au
LISTEN John Martin and Martin Boyle know they made the right decision. Click on the red arrow to hear John and Martin talk about building and flying their own planes.
Contact John firstname.lastname@example.org or Martin email@example.com for more information.