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AeroSports Update: Kalamazoo TV Station Features Homebuilt Airplane

It’s Always Good News To Hear A Success Story About A Homebuilt Airplane Project, But It’s Even Better When A Local TV Station Puts It “In The Spotlight”

Here’s a connection that is not easy to make. Your wife wants a new master bedroom, and you want to build an airplane. While these goals seem widely separated, this good news story about general aviation shows how unlikely goals can be achieved at the same time.

According to a report from News Channel 3 out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, they received an e-mail from a viewer who wanted to share his story in their new feature called, “In the Spotlight.” The e-mail from local pilot, Andy Millin, lamented that all too often general aviation stories are about bad things, and he asked if they would be interested in some good news. They were; and here’s Andy’s story.

Millin wrote that the whole story of his building his own airplane, a Velocity XL, actually started in 1995 with the celebration of his birthday. His wife was aware of his interest in aviation, and his birthday gift was a ride in a B-17. This was the extra push that it took for Millin to decide he wanted to fly and to do it in an airplane he built himself.

Andy was joined by his neighbor, Carlos, and the first part of the project was to come up with a place to build it. Here’s where the new master bedroom comes into the picture. They built an addition to the Millin home for the purpose of being the airplane factory, but it was designed such that it would later be converted into the new master bedroom. The wisdom in this concept should not be overlooked by any builders that are facing challenges other than the aircraft itself; you must think out of the box (or in this case, “in the bedroom”).

The airplane rolled out of the shop/bedroom on Andy’s birthday in 2011. The report quoted him as saying, "I darn near cried. This whole thing has been kind of like a fairy tale story for us. Now we have our magic carpet and we can travel the world. There are times I'll be flying around and it'll almost bring a tear to my eye. I built this! I can't believe it."

If you could come up with frosting to top this cake, it would have to be Andy’s being awarded a Bronze Lindy at EAA AirVenture 2012. Millin also gave credit to his EAA chapter 221 for playing a big part in his completing the project.

While the News Channel 3 broadcast of this story shared good news with its viewers, those of us in aviation can take away other messages. First, taking an airplane ride can lead to the unquenchable desire to build your own airplane. Second, problem solving involves a lot more than simply building the airplane. And lastly, be prepared for the long haul.

We at ANN say congratulations to Andy Millin and we thank News Channel 3 for presenting recreational aviation in a positive light.

(Image of Millin’s Velocity making the news provided by Andy Millin)



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