VH-OLD landing at Langley Park

How time flies!

Like many others I seem to have been born (in 1951) with the aviation gene. From my earliest days I can remember being fascinated by aircraft. Living just north of Perth city we often used to see airliners and light aircraft coming and going from nearby Perth and Maylands airports. I have fond memories of many DC3s, DC7s, Lockheed Constellations, and later various jet airliners flying over our home. I even remember seeing a Vulcan bomber, Handley Page Victor, Vickers Viscount and many other types. In my early teens I often rode my bike out to Perth Airport for a close-up look.

In high school I applied for air force entry but missed out. I was also unsuccessful with Qantas cadetship but the interviewer gave me a glimmer of hope by suggesting I complete an engineering degree then to apply for a flight engineer entry. By the time I finished engineering at UWA there was not much of a future for flight engineers so I spent most of my working in engineering in the chemical and petroleum industries.

That didn’t stop me fling though. I started flying training with the Uni Flying Club, completing my restricted PPL in 1972. My unrestricted licence had to wait until later when I had a little more cash available.

I held various positions in the Uni Flying Club of the years and met many fascinating and inspiring people. People like Alan Mitchell, Malcolm Yeo, Fred and Barbara Reif and many others. In later years I got involved in the Sport Aircraft Builders Club based at Serpentine Airfield south of Perth where I served on committee and in various positions for many years.

I had always wanted to build an aircraft. Even in primary school my friend Alan Genoni and I made a start on finding timber for wing spars. In hindsight that effort was quite unrealistic and didn’t go very far. At Serpentine I was infused with enthusiasm for building and after several mis-steps (Corby Starlet, KR2) I settled on an all-metal Vans RV7. This kit plane is available in stages so I bought the empennage kit in 2005 followed by the wing kit in 2007. This was going to be a SLOW-BUILD project!

I’ll continue the story in a series of blog posts which will make it easier to keep track of the dates. I welcome any comments and questions along the way.

Phil Maley