A Kimberley councillor who has spent 13 years building an aeroplane says he feels a huge sense of achievement.
Councillor Shane Easom estimates he spent between 3,000 and 4,000 hours building the aircraft, which he has now flown to Wales as well as various local airfields.
“When it was finally finished and I got to fly it, it was just an amazing feeling and a great sense of achievement,” he says.
“It’s been a real learning curve.
“To fly your own aeroplane is quite an amazing feeling really.
“It’s been a real buzz.”
The Broxtowe Borough Council Conservative member for Kimberley bought the basic frame for the Europa XS aircraft which included the wings and fuselage, and then sourced everything else himself.
“There’s quite a lot to it,” he says.
“You have to source all the materials for the cockpit and put it together, find an engine, propeller, put all the upholstery in.
“You have to obviously cut everything to shape and blend bits together.
“Then when you’ve glued it all together you have to cover the plane in a special filler and smooth it all down. It obviously has to be as smooth as possible for Councillrit to move through the air properly.
“It’s quite clever really – it’s nowhere near as simple as it sounds.”
Shane says he found building the plane fun, but on many an occasion did not think he would finish it.
“I found it a lot of fun but some of the jobs were tedious,” he says. “Working with fibreglass for the wings was hard work – it got everywhere.
“You lose heart with it at times.
“Also life catches up with you. It would have been built quicker but other things get in the way – work, council work and so on.”
The project was inspired by an unwanted Christmas present.
“A friend of mine had a flying lesson as a Christmas present and they didn’t want it and gave it to me,” says Coun Easom.
“The bug got me and I started to learn to fly.
“It’s addictive. I couldn’t afford to buy an aeroplance so I thought I would make one and pay for it over time.”
He says when the aeroplane was first finished, it had to go through a process to make sure it was safe, and to get the permit to fly it.
“It had to be flown by an aircraft test pilot for the first four or five hours,” he says.
“They have to take it on a short flight, then a two-hour flight. It’s baby steps to make sure it’s safe. You can’t just jump in and fly for five hours.
“There’s paperwork that has to be done as well.”
And now he wants to fly to France.
“There’s lots of farm strips to fly around and you can stop in many different places,” he says.
“It’s a bit like caravanning but in the air.
“For me, the whole thrust of it was to do something diffrent and see things from the air.”
Coun Easom says he wanted to name the plane after his dog that died, so labelled the registration plate is G-PPOD.
“It’s named after my dog who died, Priya,” he says. “She got the nic name PPod, although I don’t know why.
The plane is now having its finishing touches in a paint shop.