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Terry wants to wing it on weekends (6 photos)

Sault man building a plane, wants to fly to see grandchildren

Terry Mortimore's dream is coming together one piece at a time.

Mortimore has always loved aviation, has owned an aircraft before, and is now looking forward to getting a new, second one in the air.

Mortimore has purchased a kit airplane (an RV-6A built by Van's Aircraft of Oregon) in four major pieces over the years, beginning in 1994.

He has been slowly but steadily building the plane in the garage of his east end home.

Last weekend, he moved all the pieces out by truck to a rented hangar space at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport to get the plane ready for final assembly.

The parts alone have cost him about $18,000, and he has paid out even more for installation of the plane's engine, panel and instruments.

Mortimore, 58, an Essar Steel Algoma employee and Sault native, told SooToday it will all be worth it once the wings are attached and the plane in the air.

"Both my daughters now live in Kingston, my oldest girl has two kids now, I have grandchildren, and I want to be able to fly down and see them for a weekend and fly back."

"It's the freedom to be able to do it when you want."

"Down and back it would be about five hours, and it uses about 40 gallons of gas, and aviation fuel is about four dollars a gallon, so it's about 160 bucks per round trip," Mortimore said.

He hopes to be up and flying by late summer or early fall.

"Inspectors will come and sign off on it, then comes a test of 40 hours of flight time (no passengers allowed during that time) to shake the bugs out of it."

"After that 40 hours you're good to go."

The RV-6A, Mortimer said, "is like a sports car… it's very manoeuvreable, very fast, it's got a reputation as being a nice-handling airplane." 

"My father flew and I grew up around airplanes when I was a kid…he had airplanes all the time when I was growing up so that's how I got bit by the aviation bug," Mortimer said.

"We flew to Montreal, up to James Bay goose hunting, out west to Calgary, I saw a lot of the country flying with him."

"It (flight) just gives you a whole different perspective on the world being able to see it at a different altitude."

Mortimore is a member of the recently-revived local chapter of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), a group that brings local pilots together for flight and social occasions, and is looking forward to taking part in more COPA activities once his plane is ready to fly.