Anyone flying into New Plymouth airport may look twice at a hangar on the western end of the airfield with an unusual tail of a large aircraft poking out. Few would realise what’s within: ZK-PBY, a 1944 Catalina flying boat, the only airworthy one in New Zealand and a remarkable aircraft with a remarkable history.
If there’s one sort of person that cannot resist a challenge that’s a Kiwi backyard inventor. When a mate sent Dave Hunger an internet photo of a giant wheeled contraption and a challenge to reproduce it, Dave rose to the task.
Don’t try this at home. In the town of Niagara Falls, you are heading along a street. You suddenly overfly a car, then a bicycle travelling along a path near the water. In an instant you are over the lip of Niagara Falls. In a scary moment you find yourself looming over the precipice and then zooming away across the face of the thundering water.
"You must have too much time on your hands.” That’s what people often say when they see my model cars. I'm never really sure what to reply, because it's something I do instead of watching television or building the real thing. But the question I get asked the most is how long it took to build.
How hard could it be for a couple of seasoned and more-or-less professional Kiwi do-it-yourselfers? When the kitset tin garden shed—3.45 metres long by 1.75 metres wide— arrived in a tidy package after being ordered online, it comprised pre-cut, mostly pre-drilled and numbered parts. All you needed for assembly was a drill and a screw-driver.
When we planned the renovation of our 1986 rental property one of our aims was to use products and materials that were both affordable and kind to the planet, as outlined in earlier articles in this series in The Shed magazine. We found it was possible to do both with little compromise.