Saturday, February 13, 2016

Replica sports deco paint job

DECO WINGS: Havelock North's Brian Anderson and his deco-inspired replica of a 1926 German biplane. 

For Hawke's Bay microlight builder and pilot Brian Anderson the timing for this year's annual Sport Aviation Fly-In is spot-on.

Corker, in fact. Or dashed super-duper.

The event, which is staged annually and held alternately in the North Island then the South Island, will take place at the Bridge Pa Aerodrome over two days of the Tremains Art Deco Festival.

Which is great for the estimated 100 pilots who will bring their home-built aircraft into the region from as far away as Christchurch and Auckland, and rather fitting for Mr Anderson as one of his two single seater aircraft has the deco touch. Mr Anderson moved to the Bay about 10 years ago from Wellington and has been a member of the association for 20 years. His first "built in the garage" aircraft was a sleek Pulsar XP which he bought as a kitset and built over about four years.

Then, after retiring, he took on a second, and quite unique project ... a project which would come to have a deco influence.

"A foolish moment," he laughed when recalling the decision to again head for the garage to build a microlight designed to resemble a vintage 1926 German sport biplane.

"My wife actually bought me the plans for Christmas," he said.

The work involved would be extensive as it effectively meant building four wing pieces.

"But I like woodwork and a lot of it was wood so I thought yes, maybe I could do this."

Which, over the next seven years, he did.

"I'd spend an hour here and there working on it and it came together very well."

Apart from the four-cylinder 2.2 litre air-cooled engine, he effectively built everything from the intricate plans, and when it came to delivering the final touch — the paintwork — he took some local inspiration.

"Because of where we are I used some Art Deco style and colors."

Mr Anderson said there were a couple of others of its type in the country but they were in more traditional German colors and style of the mid-20s. It will be part of an impressive line-up of aircraft set to take to the runways at the Bridge Pa Aerodrome.

"The aircraft range from the very simple — as simple as an airplane can get — to the very sophisticated fully electronic glass cockpit and with instruments to match — from the slow and the low to the very fast fully IFR (instrument flight rules) capable," Mr Anderson said.

The Sport Aircraft Association NZ is devoted to promoting and assisting the private aircraft builder and flier and there are about 320 "amateur built" aircraft on the register. However, with amateur built helicopters, gyrocopters and microlights not identified on the register, the number was about 700 — which per capita of population would be the highest number in the world.

The fly-in is being staged on February 19 and 20.


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