Fly me to … Ashburton

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Rex Newman

Rex Newman loves flying planes.

And building them.

This Van RV7A is the third one he has built.

Mr Newman, of Omaka, Marlborough, was one of more than 70 pilots at the Plains Fly-In at Ashburton airfield at the weekend.

The event, held every other year at Ashburton, is organised by the Ashburton Aviation Museum.

Mr Newman said his plane was powered by a 180hp engine, giving his plane a cruising speed of between 135 and 150 knots, allowing to him to fly down from Marlborough in just over an hour.

“There’s 1700 hours work in it, and it’s the third I’ve built. I’m also restoring a 1936 Waco bought by the Marlborough Aero Club and it hasn’t flown in 60 years.”

Mr Newman said the RV was the most popular kitset plane in the world and there were more than 10,000 built or flying.

“They are beautiful to fly, light on the controls and aerobatic.”

Stephen Johnson, chairman of the fly-in organising committee, said the fly-in involved members of Sport Aviation New Zealand, with pilots from Auckland to Invercargill.

The event attracted 72 planes, many of them home-built.

Mr Johnson said they were very well looked after in Ashburton, and the museum was more than happy to host them.

The fly-in attracted a good crowd of onlookers keen to look at the planes, see them take off and land, and to talk to the pilots.