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calendar   Tuesday - September 29, 2009

ONE HECK OF A HIGH FLYING WOW FACTOR.  TAKE A LOOK AT THIS.

Isn’t this just somethin’ else?  Must hand it to the guy. Brilliant.  I’m looking for words and having trouble I am so overwhelmed. No kidding. I think this has a WOW factor of about a million. Took 11 years and he had to learn another language as well.  Talk about determination and enterprise and patience.

Retired firefighter builds a four-seater plane in his garage from scratch

By Chris Brooke
29th September 2009

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His wife would have preferred an extension to their house, but after watching the film Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines Alan Shipp vowed to do whatever it takes to build his own plane.

The result was the ultimate DIY project spanning 11 years, costing £25,000 and requiring thousands of hours of his own labour.

Instead of putting together a kit, the retired firefighter did it the hard way by constructing a four-seater aircraft from his garage workshop using only plans.

He had to learn French to translate the detailed instructions from the design documents, sourced materials from all over the world and twice extended his garage to fit his growing Jodel D140E Mousquetaire inside.

Now, after countless nights toiling through to the early hours, his labour of love is complete.

The plane has had a successful maiden flight and Mr Shipp, a qualified pilot, is looking forward to putting his home-built aircraft through its paces in the skies.

The completion of the marathon project is not only good news for Mr Shipp, but a cause for celebration for his family and neighbours in Kirk Ella, Hull, who have had to put up with the construction project for so long.

Local residents became used to the sight of plane parts being delivered to the Shipp family home and listening to the sounds of cutting and hammering coming from inside the garage.

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Mr Shipp, 67, started on the aircraft after taking early retirement and primarily used wood and steel to build it from scratch. He said: ‘A lot of aircraft are kits but this is just from plans. Everything has to be made.

‘Even if you’re not building, you are studying plans - there’s no one to turn to for help. Over the years I’ve developed my own kind of French, even though no Frenchman could understand me.’

The engine, fuselage and interior had to be put together with extreme precision and to adhere to the most rigorous safety standards. Parts had to be sourced from specialist suppliers, with steel tubing being sent over from California.

Mr Shipp’s passion for making things began at school when he built a canoe when asked to make a model and ended up setting off across the River Humber in it. He later built speedboats and a caravan before catching the flying bug.

The plane - now said to be worth £75,000 - had its maiden flight from an airfield in York 10 days ago and was flown by a retired airline pilot.

Mr Shipp is awaiting Civil Aviation Authority approval before he can take the plane on solo excursions, but the flying fanatic intends to spend many hours in the skies above Yorkshire over the coming months.

He said:’I must admit, when the plane took off on its first flight I did have my heart in my mouth because it is someone else’s life in your hands but when it all went smoothly I was absolutely delighted.

‘To me it’s just magic. Whenever I see an aircraft take off, it just defies logic. Whenever I look at it, it mesmerises me, that massive weight going up in the air, all the thousands of parts working in unison.’

Wife Andrea, 68, described her husband as a ‘workaholic’ and said finishing the project was ‘very emotional.’

‘He has worked very hard for 11 years in the garage, every night till 3am to 4am.  People are amazed when they walk by and we are bringing it out of the garage and putting it back in.’

Son Garry, 42, said: ‘It’s been 24/7 365 days of the year. He’s done brilliantly and we are all very proud of him.’

Daughter Debra Craven, 40, said:’Dad has always worked for what he has and he will make sure he gets it just right, he’s a perfectionist.

‘It really is an amazing achievement and a relief for all of us that he has finished working on it. Maybe now he can semi-retire and start relaxing a bit - it will be nice to have my dad back.’

She said his next job would be to build his three-year-old grandson a rocking chair.

HIGH FLYER HERE FOR GREAT PHOTOS

Really folks ... take a look ... impressive.  I know he isn’t a “hero” in the usual way that word is used. But I couldn’t think of another strong adjective to describe the guy and what he did.  And I really understand exactly what he is saying with regard to looking at planes in wonderment. 


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 09/29/2009 at 06:05 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesArt-PhotographyHeroes •  
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