Saturday, March 01, 2014

Quincy Regional Airport (KUIN), Illinois

Cape Air cancels three flights Sunday  

With 7 to 9 inches of snow being projected by the National Weather Service, Cape Air has canceled its first three flights out of Quincy Regional Airport on Sunday.

Cape Air and airport officials will monitor weather conditions Sunday to determine if the 4 p.m. flight will be launched. The terminal will open at 3 p.m. for travelers.

Passengers began to be notified Saturday about the cancellations to allow them to make other arrangements or postpone travel plans.

While Cape Air flights have been canceled, the airport remains open, officials said.


Sonny Callahan Airport (KCQF), Fairhope, Alabama

 Airport Needs More Hangar Space


Two Fairhope businesses complained to the Airport Authority board about the lack of adequate hangar space at the city's Sonny Callahan Airport.

Alan Boan of Boan Contracting Inc., said his jet suffers significant "hangar rash" due to over-crowding and the deteriorating condition of the aging north hangar.

Damage to insulation and birds nesting in rafters make it difficult to keep his plane -- a "significant investment" -- clean; and he often finds it parked outside by the FBO (fixed base operator), Continental Motors, who currently operates the airport for the city.

Continental Motors, Inc. is a subsidiary of AVIC, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

Kel Jones owner  of Fairhope-based Executive Aviation Group agreed that space is inadequate for his three smaller planes as well; and added that additional new businesses can't locate here without more space for their planes.


Boan said he would be willing to finance construction a new 90 X 100 ft hangar himself (for about $600K), but could only afford it if he were allowed to put in a new fueling service ("fuel farm").

Pictured at right is the existing fueling station, operated by Continental Motors.

Boan's hangar would likely be located just east of the State Trooper's helicopter hangar.

Jones said he too would like to expand his business by investing about a million dollars in more hangar space -- including another fueling facility to bring in revenue.

His hangar could be located just south of the rotating beacon. (A third possible site, south near Bishop Rd. was also mentioned.)

Both said saving current hangar fees and being allowed to sell (mostly jet) fuel for income are their primary financial considerations.


 Bill Ross, current airport manager for Continental Motors that runs airport operations (via a long-term contract with the Airport Authority) --  opposed any new competing fuel farms, calling his company's profit margins "slim" already.

However, he agreed that more hangar space would be an "asset to the facility."

Two residents who live just west of the airport, near the polo grounds, objected to the new fueling stations and housing larger jet planes on safety grounds. The "risk of contamination" and close proximity to a public school were also concerns.

Boan replied that he was not looking to hurt the FBO -- but needed the fuel farm to finance his hangar for 30 years and it would comply or exceed all safety codes: "A first class facility."

He added the term 'fuel farm' could be misleading since the system would all be above ground and self contained in a 10' X 10' X 27' unit -- trucked in fully-assembled.

The 12,000 gallon tanks would need to be filled about 6 times a year, by tanker trucks. The fuel farm and hangar would withstand 150 mph wind.


Airport Authority Chairman Chuck Zunk suggested the three entities may want to combine efforts on one new hangar instead to satisfy everyone's needs. A shared hangar on land currently leased by Continental was mentioned.

Zunk: "One large hangar versus two smaller ones ... may be better."

All committee members agreed more hangar space is needed and other facilities needed upgrading; but there was skepticism at the prospect of more fuel farms.

Zunk: "We're not obligated to allow more (fuel farms) ...  it would set a precedent (have to allow more) ... ."

Authority members voted to support more hangar space -- but to table the fuel farm issue for further discussion.


The Authority then considered the impending expiration (Nov 2015) of its contract with Continental to conduct airport operations, in conjunction with the many needs of the airport.

Continental has held the FBO lease for the past 29 years. Since the lease has been in effect since 1985, new financial terms are a major consideration as well -- as needed income for the Airport Authority.

Authority members discussed hiring a consultant to help seek new applicants for the FBO contract -- or possibly not even putting out an RFP, request for proposals, if Continental itself came back in 30 days with satisfactory proposals for making the needed improvements itself.

Continental's Ross said his company did want to continue its long term lease as the FBO, and would be back at the next meeting with plans for improvements, growth and expansion.

Zunk scheduled a vote on the RFP matter at the Authority's March meeting.

 Story, photos and comments/reaction:

Hill Aerospace Museum to cut 18 aircraft, 3 missiles from collection

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Hill Aerospace Museum will be cutting 18 aircraft, three missiles and other support vehicles from its collection.

The museum is located at Hill Air Force Base and has been open to the public for almost 30 years. It has more than 2,000 artifacts on 34 acres of land.

"We have a lot of aircraft in that museum and as the government continues to reduce resources, we won't have the manpower, funding or means necessary to give those aircraft the attention they need over time," said Acting Museum Director Aaron Clark. "With that being the case, the most responsible thing would be to give other museums the opportunity to have these aircraft and to take care of them."

The museum's aircraft require periodic restoration and repairs to maintain appearance, which can be costly. Clark said an outdoor plane needs to be painted every five or six years, which can run from $15,000 to $100,000 depending on the size of the plane.

The mission of the museum is to portray the history of the Hill Air Force Base and aviation in the state of Utah. Clark said museum officials are using the cuts as an opportunity to refocus on the mission while becoming more fiscally responsible.

"These aircraft have little to do, or sometimes nothing to do, with that mission," he said. "So we put that into consideration when we chose the aircraft that we were going to put on the excess list."

Most of the aircraft being excessed are located outside, which makes them more expensive to maintain, but some of the current indoor displays will also be finding a new home. Clark said the planes people are most likely to notice missing are the A-7, B-47 and F-106.

However, removing the planes from the collection will allow the museum to focus more on artifacts with local ties. It has plans to restore a C-47 that was used in the middle of the century and bring it indoors.

"If we eliminate those (aircraft) and they actually go away, then we'll have space to bring more aircraft that have more to do with Hill Air Force Base inside and protect them from the elements," Clark said.

After downsizing, the museum will still have more than 50 aircraft.

The excess artifacts will not disappear from the museum overnight. The excess list has been sent to the National Museum of the Air Force in Ohio, which will work with organizations that would like to obtain the artifacts.

The aircraft will be offered to field museums, base air parks, certified civilian museums and service museums. They could also find a future home with veteran's organizations, hospitals and cities.

"If they have a desire or a need for that aircraft in their collection, they can work with the national museum to see if they can obtain it," Clark said.

Museum officials said they don't expect the streamlining of aircraft to affect attendance. More than 138,000 people visited the museum last year.

Museum Excess List:

Aircraft: F-4C (RF), F-4E, F-86L, T-39A (CT), C-131D, C-130E (trainer), H-21C, F-4E (GF), A-7F (YA), C-45H, F-106A (QF), U-3A, H-13T, T-28B (BUNO), F/A-18A, B-47E (WB), C-119F (RCAF), C-7B

Missles: CIM-10C Missle, LGM-118 Peacekeeper Missle, LGM-30 Minuteman III Missle

Support Vehicles: BGM-109A Trailer, SSCBM Minuteman ICBM Storage, Peacekeeper Air Elevator Support Trailer, Peacekeeper Support Truck

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Dubois Regional Airport (KDUJ), Pennsylvania

DRA waiting to advertise for new air service

REYNOLDSVILLE - Clearfield and Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority heard at yesterday's meeting it will need to wait on the U.S. Department of Transportation to advertise for and award an essential air service contract for the DuBois Regional Airport.

On Feb. 14, Silver Airways, which has served as the airport's EAS provider since September 2008, announced it would discontinue its current two-year contract for commercial air service it provides between DuBois and Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. Receiving a similar notice were airports in Jamestown, N.Y., Bradford, Franklin and Parkersburg, W.Va.

The company whose contract to provide EAS at the airport would have expired Aug. 30 forced DOT to move up its deadline to advertise for proposals from early summer to as soon as specifications for an agreement can be prepared. Bob Shaffer, airport manager, said in an interview following the meeting, requests for proposals have not been advertised as of this morning.

Although Silver's early departure decision was unexpected, Shaffer assured authority members during yesterday's meeting the experience is no different than one they would have had later this year when DOT would have advertised for EAS contracts for DuBois Regional Airport for a two-year period beginning Sept. 1 through Aug. 30, 2016.

He noted during the meeting, he has had several calls from airline companies inquiring about various features of the airport noting he presumes this means those companies are pondering submitting an application once DOT advertises.

He said once the advertisement is placed, the airlines will have 30 days to submit offers to DOT. DOT will then allow the public, including the authority, 30 days to comment on the airlines that have submitted applications. The agency will then make an announcement shortly after the 30-day comment period has ended concerning which airline is being awarded the contract and notify the authority and the public. Shaffer said the company that submits the lowest bid is the one generally chosen.
"I would expect that we will see DOT coming back with a list by the end of March," Shaffer told the authority, adding, "I hope the low bidder will be the one we want to provide service from here."

Shaffer said the authority would have no control over which airlines submit proposals nor which city flights would travel to. "Silver has committed through May 15 and I hope we will know something before that." Shaffer said he hopes the airline that submits a proposal for EAS at DuBois would also be interested in utilizing the airplane maintenance facility there. He said in the past the facility has been a draw for airlines and he hopes that would continue.

EAS is a program that provides federal subsidies directly to companies for commercial air service they provide at airports that can't fund a commercial air service contract on its own but can justify the need for commercial air service. DuBois Regional Airport has been in the EAS program since 2006.

Silver Airways notice said discontinuing the air service would allow the company an opportunity to strengthen operations, simplify its fleet, increase revenue, and reduce its costs and better position the airline for future growth and new markets.

In other business, the authority:

• heard a report on the recent Part 139 inspection. Shaffer said Part 139 sets standards for all airports that have commercial air service allowing pilots to have a comparable experience.

He said the inspection was "extensive" and "all-encompassing." "We had some issues," he said noting those were partially because of the recent loss of two key employees noting those had to do with paperwork, filing and signatures. "We got ripped on a couple things. We're addressing those and we'll be better for it."

Shaffer said there were no safety issues and no huge problems. "The airport is as safe as it always was. We are in compliance and we will continue to be in compliance."

• heard a report on the audit of the 2012 financial records. Tim Fannin of Catalano, Case, Catalano & Fannin, Clearfield, said the audit was clean with no findings in either reporting or compliance with regulations.

Fannin told the authority he is retiring, and Tracey Clark-Radzieta who also attended the meeting, would be assuming his duties as the firm's newest partner. The authority thanked Fannin for his work and his excellent service to the airport.

• heard it has been a long season of snow removal at the airport. Shaffer said crews are using a second truckload of salt. "We have never needed a second load of salt that I know of. Usually 26 tons is enough to see us through the winter season."

Shaffer said a total of five truckloads of sand have also been needed to maintain the runway this winter. Usually one load is needed.

He said the storm that is predicted for Sunday into Monday, if it materializes, would require four employees to move snow. Two plows will transfer snow simultaneously and a blower is required to keep snow from blocking the runway lights.

Shaffer said this would be the third major storm at the airport this winter. "Hopefully this is the last hurrah," he said.

• signed two contracts with GAI Consultants, DuBois, for engineering services for projects to be done this year. Both projects were recommendations in the recent Part 139 inspection.

The authority plans to seal and repair cracks in the pavement around the airport and paint markings on the restored pavement and replace 50 worn signs erected in 2000 with signs with LED lights resulting in a savings in both electricity costs and light bulbs for the authority.

The cost for engineering is $30,982.14 for the pavement crack sealing and repair and painting and $31,073 for the lighting project. The costs for engineering will be paid with the Federal Aviation Administration assuming 95 percent of the total cost and PennDOT's Bureau of Aviation and the authority paying 2.5 percent each of the remaining cost.

The next meeting is March 28 at 8:30 a.m. at DuBois Regional Airport's conference room.


Gulfstream confident on Middle East business jet market

Gulfstream, the American business jet maker, remains bullish on the UAE and Saudi Arabian markets as demand from Egypt slows down.

“The Middle East has always been a good market for Gulfstream. We have very good brand recognition in the Middle East in particular,” said Trevor Esling, the regional senior vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“We have a fleet of about 100 aircraft in the area. Saudi and the UAE are our two biggest markets. This is because of the concentration of people, industry, and commodities – oil, in this particular case.”

However, Egypt, which was once an important market for Gulfstream, has taken a big hit because of its economic struggles.

“Egypt was also a strong market. A big driver of our products is confidence in the market,” he said.

“Obviously, now it is much more difficult to make a decision from a business perspective and invest in products like ours if you have an uncertainty of how the economy will look.”

With a presence in the Middle East that goes back 30 to 40 years ago, Gulfstream targets wealthy individuals, companies, heads of state and militaries.

The company, which is publicly listed in the United States, reported US$8.1 billion in revenues last year, up 17.4 per cent from 2012.

“The Middle East was a good market for us last year, and the same is continuing for us in 2014,” said Mr Esling.

Gulfstream’s biggest markets are China and Russia, but the Middle Eastwas a “significant” one, according to Mr Esling.

Mr Esling added that part of the region’s significance is that it did not suffer “as much” during the global financial crisis of 2008.

“It’s still a commodity-driven economy, although this is changing here in Abu Dhabi and other places, where there is investment other than the oil industry. This helped significantly after 2008,” he said.

Gulfstream’s flagship, the G650 aircraft, is a best-seller in the region. The twin-engined business jet became available in 2008.

“It can fly from the Middle East to New York, which you can’t do in an executive-configured Airbus A319. That’s really the main difference. You trade cabin size for range and speed,” said Mr Esling.

Mr Esling describes the business jet product as “a necessity for some businesses” rather than a luxury.

“We don’t call our product a luxury, but it is used by businesses to save time and save money,” Mr Esling said. “For the most part it is a business tool.”


Qatar in Talks Over U.S. 'Preclearance' Customs Facility - Doha Airport Would Be Gulf Region's Second to Participate in Program After Abu Dhabi

The Wall Street Journal
By Rory Jones

Updated March 1, 2014 9:09 a.m. ET

Qatar is the latest Persian Gulf country to apply for a controversial U.S. "preclearance" customs post, a development that could potentially offer the region's government-owned carriers an advantage over other airlines.

Doha's new international airport, which is expected to open later this year, is in talks with U.S. authorities over such a post, according to Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways.

A similar U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility that opened in Abu Dhabi earlier this year led to an uproar among U.S. pilot associations, which claim such posts would give Gulf carriers an unfair advantage over peers. The facility allows passengers to go through U.S. customs before boarding their flight and thus bypass the process after arriving in the U.S.

"This will enhance our product as we are growing in the United States," Mr. Al Baker told reporters Saturday.

The growth of the Gulf region's three biggest carriers--Qatar, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways--has irked some European and U.S. carriers, which have complained the Gulf airlines are funded by deep-pocketed governments that subsidize their cost base.

The Air Line Pilots Association--the largest pilot union in the U.S., representing some 50,000 pilots--has objected to the Abu Dhabi facility, previously calling it an "example of bad U.S. government policy."

Abu Dhabi, whose preclearance facility opened in January, was the 15th airport to secure such a post. Ireland's Shannon Airport was the first outside North America to open one of the U.S. facilities. Similar posts exist in Dublin and several Canadian airports as well as in Bermuda, Aruba and the Bahamas.

Etihad, which is based at the Abu Dhabi airport, plans to increase flights to New York this month and will launch service to Los Angeles in June and Dallas-Fort Worth in December. No U.S. carriers currently fly to Abu Dhabi, which is paying for about 85% of its preclearance facility.

The two other large Gulf carriers are also aggressively expanding in the U.S. market. Qatar plans to start service to Miami, Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth this year, in addition to its routes to New York, Washington, Chicago and Houston. Emirates said last week it intends to begin service to Chicago and will start flights to Boston from Dubai this month.

Dubai, which operates the world's second-busiest airport for international traffic, has also expressed an interest in setting up a preclearance facility.


Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bonding commission approves $5.2M for runway 

HARTFORD -- The State Bond Commission approved $5.2 million in runway safety improvements at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford at its meeting Friday.

The commission, whose agenda is controlled by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, also approved $538,000 for rehabilitating the parking garage at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport and $2 million for the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. to help minority-owned businesses throughout the southern half of the state obtain bidding and performance bonds.

The Sikorsky Memorial Airport improvements have been stalled for years amid arguments by Bridgeport, which owns the airport, and Stratford. The town opposed lengthening a runway that would require shifting Main Street on the eastern side of the airport.

Under the agreement announced last year, the runway will stay the same length, but an emergency arresting system will be installed before a 2015 deadline. The project is expected to cost $51 million -- $43.4 million of which will come from the federal government, $2.4 million from Bridgeport and $5.2 million from the state.

"This plan has been around for many years," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, a former state lawmaker who got together with another veteran of the General Assembly, Stratford Mayor John Harkins, to finally hammer out a deal.

About $6 million of the project is targeted for cleaning up a former Raymark Industries landfill in Stratford.

The commission also approved an $8.9 million grant for the Westport Housing Authority to demolish 33 mobile homes at the Sasco Creek Apartments and replace them with 54 new units.

Newtown, meanwhile, was awarded $3 million to continue its planning and design phase of a new Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Housing Authority in Danbury won a $5.1 million grant for the rehabilitation of the Glen Apartments, including the conversion of heating and cooling systems, upgraded lighting and insulation, an emergency generator, and improvements to the community building at the 100-unit elderly apartment complex.

In Stamford, $10 million was approved for railroad and road replacements.

State Rep. Gerald M. Fox III, D-Stamford, said he was pleased that the commission approved the $10 million to finance preliminary engineering for the bridge replacements and road reconstruction for the Metro-North Railroad bridges over East Main and Atlantic streets in downtown Stamford.

"The bridge replacements and related road construction is critically important to Stamford and the region," Fox said Friday. "Funding dedicated to infrastructure improvements is welcome news to commuters and our neighborhoods." 


How to build your own airplane

When Colin Goodwin bought a kit plane, he had nowhere to build it, no flying experience – and no idea that 11,000 rivets would be the least of his problems

“I remember when it all started very well.” Colin Goodwin, a 51-year-old writer, is sitting inside the club house at White Waltham Airfield in Berkshire enjoying a breakfast of bacon and eggs. He’s talking about the day in August 2006 when he went to an aircraft show in Gloucestershire with no plan other than to have an enjoyable day out. “But then this plane called a Van’s RV-7 won first prize for the best kit plane at the show.” Goodwin registers my blank expression and smiles. “I hadn’t heard of it either,” he says.

“It looked quick and pretty, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So when I got home, I looked on the website and could hardly believe how fast it was or how far it would fly. It’ll do 215mph and if you got in her now, you could fly to Corsica. From that moment, everything that happened afterwards was fairly inevitable.”

Inevitable to him, maybe, but the problems that stood between Goodwin and his flying his own aircraft were immense. “The least of my worries was I had no money,” he says, spearing another rasher. “The greater concern was I had nowhere to build it.” As a kit plane, the Van’s RV-7 is not an aircraft you just buy and fly. Engine and instruments aside, you build the entire aircraft down to inserting the last rivet. A Van’s RV-7 has 11,000 rivets.

Goodwin’s other obstacle was so insignificant to him he fails even to mention it. Because he’ll write about anything that moves under its own power – planes, cars and motorcycles – it might be reasonable to assume he has a wall-full of engineering certificates, degrees and other qualifications relevant to the not inconsiderable task of building an airworthy plane. Not so. Ask him to detail his credentials and he replies: “Do four O-levels count?” He pauses: “Actually, now you mention it, I do remember at one stage in the build deciding I needed to go on a metalworking course. A day was enough.” Oh, and he also had to factor in learning to fly.

The origins of such stern stuff are not hard to find. Look at the side of the sleek and purposeful aircraft he spent five years constructing and you’ll find it is registered G-DMBO. The G is compulsory for all UK-registered aircraft but DMBO is Goodwin’s homage to his father or, more specifically, the flying elephant that was painted on the side of his Wellington bomber.

“Dad signed up on day one in 1939, desperate to be a pilot, but he couldn’t pass the maths.” He ended up as a front-gunner and bomb-aimer first on Wellingtons, later in Lancasters. “Back then, in Bomber Command you had a one-in-four chance of surviving 30 missions. He completed 53.” He was never shot down but often came back in a plane “with rather better ventilation than when it had left”.

Goodwin junior’s strategy was simple. “My plan was to do it bit by bit, working on one wing while earning the money to buy the other and so on. All I needed was somewhere to build it.”. . .

Everyone Goodwin spoke to told him to build it close to home or else he’d never finish it. “I looked at various local workshops but they were either too expensive or not suitable. Only then did it occur to me to build it in the garden.” Yet he lives in a typical three-bedroom house in the middle of a terraced street in Hampton, Middlesex. Like all such houses, its garden is small and notably lacking in aircraft-building facilities.

“The garden is about 15ft wide which isn’t really enough but I realised that if I built a shed, bits could just stick out of it. My wife agreed so long as I converted the shed to a summer house at the end of the build.”

Goodwin started on the empennage – the tail – because it was the cheapest section of the plane. “It cost $1,000 all in: tail, elevators, the lot. Even I could afford that.” Having friends who travelled helped too. “Every time a mate went to America, they came back with a few extra bits.” Even so, despite the help of friends and neighbours, the project almost stopped before it started. “I did the first 10 rivets and they were all rubbish. Imagine that, knowing you’ve got 10,990 to go. That’s the only time it nearly defeated me.” It turned out the fault lay with his rivet gun, not his technique.

The logistical challenges of building an aircraft in a suburban terrace are even greater than they might seem. Just to get to the shed, every part had to go through his standard-size front door, his house and into the garden – so each crate of components had first to be unpacked in the street. The shed was so small he couldn’t walk around what he was building to get to the other side, so he crawled underneath instead. And once each section was built, he had to get rid of it before he could start the next. A friend with a hangar at an airfield in Gloucestershire agreed to store the sections but Goodwin could hardly dismantle them again to get them out of his garden. So his neighbours got together to carry each section across every garden fence between his house and the nearest street. “No one ever complained,” he says. “It became a bit of a community project.”

Soon, months of building turned to years. Goodwin was earning a living by day and working by night. Many processes required more hands than one human possesses, in which case friends, family and, most often, his father-in-law came to help. Goodwin never worked weekends. “It was tempting of course, but it’s a marriage breaker.” Instead he learnt the art of using all those small fragments of time most of us lose every day. “Most days, I’d find 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there and, instead of reading the paper or putting the kettle on, I’d go and work on the plane.” Even so, the tail alone took six months, as did each wing. The fuselage took two years of graft to complete.

The real problems came when Goodwin realised the project had run away with not only his time, but his money. “You complete the basic structures but you’ve still got the finishing kit, including fancy stuff like wheels and brakes to come. Only then do you realise the idea that this is a cheap way to build an aircraft is a fallacy. All the really expensive gear – the instruments, engine and propeller – had yet to be bought. The whole thing got completely out of hand and I had to do massive amounts of ‘man maths’ to make the numbers add up.”

In the end Goodwin spent about £60,000. He reckons that if you pared the budget to the bone and chose the minimum legal instrumentation, a second-hand engine and fixed-pitch propeller, you could build it for £50,000. He thinks the completed aircraft is worth about £90,000, which values his labour at slightly less than the minimum wage. But he has no regrets: “This is the only plane I’m going to build or own and not having the money was actually quite handy. If I’d had 50 grand, I’d have probably spent 50 grand and not got the plane I wanted. But if you haven’t got 50 grand, not having 60 grand really doesn’t make much difference . . .” Man maths at its finest.

Unfortunately, with £20,000-worth of the Lycoming engine now attached, the fuselage couldn’t get out of the shed. Undaunted, Goodwin hacked a hole in a wall big enough to accommodate the aircraft body, had it winched away over the rooftops and kept his promise to rebuild the shed as his wife’s summer house. Then all that was needed was a trifling five months in the hangar in Gloucestershire turning all his different assemblies into an aircraft.

Agonisingly – and despite having qualified as a pilot in the interim – Goodwin was not at the controls for its maiden flight as, under civil aviation law, it had to be flown first by a test pilot familiar with how such aircraft should operate. It behaved perfectly. It was then taken away to be painted before finally arriving at White Waltham. “That was the moment,” says Goodwin, “not when it first flew or when I first flew in it, but when it landed here and was finally home. I will admit that was quite something.”

An offer of a spell in Dumbo’s right-hand seat is too good to refuse. We take off and, as soon as we’re at a steady 200mph cruise at 4,000ft, Goodwin invites me to take over. I haven’t flown much but the way the plane responds instantly to the slightest pressure of my fingertips reminds me of a thoroughbred racing car.

“There are two reasons I stuck with it,” says Goodwin as we stroll back into the clubhouse after an hour in the air. “First, I never thought of it as building an aeroplane. In my mind I was building a wing rib, or an aileron, or whatever I was working on at that time. Mentally to take on the entire project would have been overwhelming.”

And the second reason? “When I get revved up about something, I’m not very good at quitting.” The evidence of that is parked outside.

What I learned about myself

● That I’m actually a lot more organized than I thought.

● I have a lot of patience when it’s required.

● I can rebuild my morale after making mistakes.

Colin’s tips

● Don’t fantasize too much about the adventures that you’re going to have when it’s finished.

● If you mess a bit up, put it down, do something else and then finish the day’s building with a pint.

● Always tidy the workshop at the end of the day.

● Try and do something every day, even if it’s for only half an hour.

● Get friends to come in and do a bit with you. About six different people had a go at riveting.


You can’t do it without these guys:

America’s kit-building organization – they have good how-to videos on the site:

Company that supplies bits and pieces ... you’ll be spending a lot of money with them:

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