Wairarapa News : December 28th 2011
2 WAIRARAPA NEWS, DECEMBER 28, 2011 NEWS www.stihlshop.co.nz STIHL SHOPTM Masterton 4 Chapel Street Phone: 06 377 5549 Mon - Fri 7.00am -- 6.00pm Sat: 7.30am -- 5.30pm, Sun: 9.00am -- 1.00pm Right into Outdoor Power Equipment STIHL MS 170 / Chainsaw Economical, compact and lightweight ideal for all domestic applications around the home and garden. $395 HOLIDAY HOURS: STIHL SHOP TM LOG SPLITTERS 10% off until end of January only 25, 26, 27 Dec Closed 28, 29, 30 Dec 7am -- 5.30pm 1, 2, 3 Jan Closed 4 Jan 7am -- 6.00pm 5 Jan Normal Hours 2155630CH Editor Walt Dickson email@example.com Phone (06) 370-5690 Manager Lynette Juno Lynette.Juno@wainews.co.nz Fax (06) 370-5699 Advertising Email Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Web ww w.wairarapanews.co.nz for on-line edition Address 123 Chapel St, Masterton, PO Box 902 BOOKING DEADLINES Retail: 4pm Thursday Class: 11am Monday Except Public Holidays 2185166AB Accounting Ph 377 0541 • 027 592 6794 email@example.com www.makescents.co.nz Does your accountant sit down and talk with you and go through your annual results, tax returns and the implications, your business concerns & goals regularly? Regular contact can lead to better results for you. You need to contact Make $ Cents Accounting. We have fixed fees for all accounting work that we can tell you beforehand. We like to sit down with our clients and talk through any business issues and concerns to ensure you understand them and know where you are heading. That's what is most important to us. CALL US NOW. Your Business -- Does it Make Cents? 3747449AE • PLUMBING • WOOD FIRES • DRAINLAYING • ROOFING Ph: 06 3774878 Mark Forsyth Wairarapa Wide 4165860AB On Call • SOLAR HOT WATER During Christmas and New Year $ $ $ $ Plane builder's By PIERS FULLER The Vintage Aviator's test pilot and production manager Gene Demarco is one of the world's most experienced pilots in WWI aircraft. Photo: PIERS FULLER Pilot building living history The Vintage Aviator has quickly become one of the most important manufacturers and restorers of World War I aircraft in the world and in doing so is making an incredible contribution to aviation's living history. With a workshop in Wellington and hangars in Masterton and Omaka, The Vintage Aviator has brought to life some extraordinary machines that can be found nowhere else. A key member of the team is production manager and test pilot Gene Demarco. The New York native has flying in his bones and his passion for early aircraft goes right back to when his father was an inspector for Pan Am during the golden age of commercial flight. His mother was an air stewardess for the same airline. As a kid Demarco was fascinated with airplanes and was privileged to fly on commercial flights when flying was a mode of transport reserved for the wealthy. I always wanted to be a pilot, from as far back as I can remember,'' he said. He built scale models of many classic aircraft including the big WWII fighter, the Vought F4U Corsair, one example of which is now housed in the Masterton hangar, which is also home to many of the Vintage Aviator's classic fighters. Demarco started his flying lessons when he was 14 years old and flew solo for the first time when he was 16, earning his pilot's licence shortly after that. Demarco is one of the world's most experienced pilots when it comes to flying WWI aircraft, and also knows how to build them. He restored his first airplane, a 1940s Piper J-5 Cub Cruiser, when he was 16 and flew it solo around the US in 1980 -- at the ripe old age of 17. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I have fantastic memories of landing in airfields and people were really nice to you. Like here, they are often small tight-knit flying communities,'' he said. He flew across 32 states and had absolutely no problems with his trusty J-5. After that adventure Demarco went to college and graduated as a mechanical engineer. He got a job with IBM, which he hated, and ended up leaving when he became too busy with a flying wholesale rose delivery business that he had started in college. He brought a Cessna 182 with the profits of the business and started another venture in upstate New York, leasing an airfield from where he operated a range of aviation services. During that time he was restoring more airplanes and started his own restoration business. He became involved with the famous Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome on the Hudson, where he got his first experience with old WWI airplanes. It took four or five years before Demarco was allowed to fly one of their Golden Era (1920s and 30s) planes and couple of years after that before he got to fly a genuine WWI fighter, the Sopwith Camel. During his time at the Old Rhinebeck he would fly these planes almost every weekend. Because each aircraft's design varies, their mechanics and flying characteristics are all unique, with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. There's a huge difference from modern planes and you really have to be around them to learn about them,'' he said. Some early aircraft don't have throttles, or brakes or even ailerons so they are notoriously tricky to operate. As he flew more and more different types of aircraft, opportunities kept presenting themselves and Demarco was sought after for more flying duties. His vast experience in the Sopwith Camel meant he was in demand to come to New Zealand and fly a plane for Sir Peter Jackson's King Kong movie. Sir Peter has long been an enthusiast of early aircraft and he is one of The Vintage Aviator's biggest customers and supporters. A significant part of the company's work is in the movie business creating props and replica vehicles. As production manager at Vintage Aviator, Demarco overseas the completion of some seriously cool projects. The 50-person team based in Wellington and Wairarapa build aircraft exactly as they were constructed back in the early 20th century. They use original parts where they can and will even reverse-engineer entire engines so the aircraft is 100 per cent authentic.
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