An air frame, avionics, engine, wings and most importantly plenty of passion are all you need to build your own home-made aircraft according to Hastings District Flying Club pilots.
Port Macquarie pilots Douglas Toppazzini, Alan Bradtke, Steve Woodham, Mike Bullock and Ray Lind have built or refurbished several recreational aircraft from scratch or from pre-made kits.
"Building kit aircraft is a bit like a great big Macarno set, it comes with all the parts cut and holes drilled. You just have to pop it all together with about 2000 rivets," Mr Bradtke said.
"I'm an ex-military pilot and when I left I did hardly any flying for 20 years. I thought I wouldn't mind having my own plane and began to build one in my spare time.
"It works out a lot cheaper if you build it yourself because it's all your own labour."
Mr Bradtke used American plans to build a single engine, low-wing, two-seater KR-2 monoplane over the course of eight years.
"Most of the people who like to build planes, generally like to tinker with things and that's quite motivating," he said.
"You talk to any people who fly, it gets in your blood and gets hold of you."
Home-builds can be registered in Australia with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, who license pilots and oversee safety in the industry.
Aircraft may be propeller or jet-powered, single or twin-engine and include balloons, gliders, gyroplanes or helicopters.
Port Macquarie aircraft engineer Douglas Toppazzini brought his work home with him by fully refurbishing a Zenith Zodiac light sport aircraft over 12 months.
"It's been a passion since I was a little boy. My grandfather and my dad were both aircraft mechanics," he said.
"The aircraft was badly built by another person, it was not airworthy so I decided to pull it apart and rebuild.
"In a kit-built aircraft an air frame itself would be about $15,000, $20,000 for a low-end engine and another maybe $10,000 for avionics.
"There's a sense of satisfaction to spend so much time with something you build. You know your plane inside and outside, you take such great care to create it.
"Usually in aviation if something's not perfect then it's not good enough. There is definitely an element of perfectionism."
Mr Toppazzini is now building his own aircraft at home from original plans.
"I've currently got an air frame that I've built from scratch from drawings. It's made in my garage and you don't need any specialised tools, you can get everything from Bunnings," he said.
Shining bright from the hanger is a single engine, two-seater Sonex aircraft. The plane was built by Steve Woodham from a kit over the course of 18 months.
"There is better performance for dollar value in a kit build," said Mr Woodham.
"It goes fairly fast for the amount of money it costs. It's a fairly straight forward process to build from the plans and you can maintain them when you build them, which makes a big difference.
"If you are thinking about building your own aircraft I'd recommend just talking to other builders and becoming involved in the community."
The Club has had around ten home-built aircraft, most are fully aerobatic and capable of speeds from 100 to 140 knots.
Flying enthusiasts can attend a Hastings District Flying Club open day at Port Macquarie Airport on Sunday, November 24 from 9am to 3pm.
The open day is a free event. Food and drink will be available throughout the day. Model aircraft and a photo exhibition by Richscape Photography will also be on display.
The club will showcase its latest aircraft acquisition, a South African two-seater light aircraft called the Sling 2.
Also making news, sport:
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.