Replica Airplane Draws Museum Visitors

When people get ready to retire, it's not unusual for some of them to pick up a new hobby.Some golf, some fish, but few build an actual airplane.Bob Heath decided to build a replica airplane, and the idea for it all came from a conversation with his friend."Hank Bater from Le Mars and I were talking about building another airplane and we kind of decided to order plans for the Nieuport eleven," said Bob.He built the Neiuport based on plans from a Canadian man, who built the original prototype. Bob does fly his plane, but right now it's kept at the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation and draws admirers from over twenty miles away. "I live down in Whiting, Iowa, which is about twenty-five miles south of here, and I saw in the paper that there was a special exhibit here and so I drove up this morning to take a look at it," said museum visitor Vincent Willey.Bob has one message for others thinking about building replica planes: "Do it. There is so much information available. I have three manuals that were published by the experimental aviation association which help a lot." It's the very information that helped make Bob's dream a reality.Bob's replica is seven-eighths the size of the actual plane that was used in combat during World War One. It took him more than five years to build.We asked Bob if he had plans to build another plane. He said "At my age... no way."