It doesn’t take a load of dough to get feet off the ground

THERE is a misconception that flying is reserved only for those from the leisure class, with more time and money than they know what to do with.

Yet Brian Melbourne from the Flying Tigers' aviation club of Boonah, west of Beaudesert, says getting airborne typically costs less than fitting out for travel with a car and caravan.

"You can buy a Thruster for $4000 or a Drifter for under $15,000 and get your recreational pilot's licence for about $4000," he said.

"A lot of people pay more than that for their golf club fees.

"Flying bloody well keeps you young," said the club president who took up flight after retiring at the age of 55.

"You use your mind and your judgment and landing is always a challenge."

Retired Broadwater businessman Bruce Nicholas prefers to keep his feet on the ground, but has always admired the big warbirds and can vividly recall his school days when the Wirraway was the trainer of choice at the Number One Bombing and Gunnery School at Evans Head.

"I can remember seeing dozens and dozens of them as a young kid," he said.

"Plenty of them crashed and we used to collect the bits of plastic windshield and some of us would make sculptures from them - birds and finger rings - and we would bring them to school and place them on our desks."

For Queensland's Werner Kroll, driving the road is a lot like flying, especially when he is sitting in the cockpit of his converted Douglas DC-3, which is now his caravan.

Instead of taking paying passengers he carries a pianola and a fairground organ, both of which he restored himself, and entertains his audience with oompah music.



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