But why old aeroplanes? Kim's Dad, Kerry, has some thoughts:
For many who train on modern aircraft there's little challenge once you've mastered the basic skills and understood the instruments and navigation aids. Unless you have a business or practical use for flying the diminishing 'fun factor' can quickly lead to an inability to justify the costs and time involved. This is not to belittle the capabilities of modern aircraft, but simply to make the point that for some of us it is not enough to have all of our flying made simple.
It felt like it was alive- the noise, the vibration!
When I saw my first Auster I was still learning to fly (in a Victa Airtourer). There were two Austers (John and Maureen Doig's KAZ was one of them) covered in dust in an old wooden hangar and I was fascinated. Could that fabric actually be airworthy? And who stole most of the instruments? Ten years later, when I flew my own Auster for the first time, it was such a revelation. Taxiing out, it felt as though it was alive; the noise, the vibration, the demands of just keeping it straight on the runway - and then the lift off. This was nothing like the Cessna's and Piper's I'd been flying and I was hooked. There was a similar experience when I first flew a Tiger. I didn't need an aeroplane for going places - I needed an aeroplane that would challenge me to fly well and keep the spark of enthusiasm burning. KAL has done that for me for 25 years. It's the challenge of navigating a long cross country flight with just compass, watch and map. (Yes, I carry a GPS now.) It's the satisfaction of a good landing - and the knowledge you'll have to work to achieve it. And there's something else...
The friendships/mateship/social life
Next to the fascination of the flying machinery comes the facination with the people who fly and restore and maintain old planes. The AAAA (Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia) provides a great focus for us all and several wonderful rallies each year, but owning a classic brings rewards that are not at first obvious. Land your Auster/Tiger/Chippie (substitute name as appropriate) at almost any strip or airport and you will find people wanting to help, to drive you to town, to find fuel, oil, accommodation - you name it. The generosities I have been shown are countless. And then there's the mateship of those who share your experience - who fly the same plane or something similar. This small band of brothers and sisters is closely knit and sometimes seems to have developed its own language, but it's one of the strongest motivations to fly, and keep flying, old planes.
Learning the ropes - and wires and tubes...
Then there's the satisfaction of getting to know your plane intimately, through restoring it or learning how to maintain it. Classic and vintage aircraft are not less reliable than most modern planes but they do demand more care and maintenance. A lot of it you can learn to do yourself, and this makes the hobby more affordable but I think most of us want to know how it functions and want to work on our machines. Rob and Kim at Transaero will help ease you into the wonderful world of old planes and caring for them.