Randy Ferri | Teen Ink

Randy Ferri

January 13, 2009
By Anonymous

What's in your garage? A car, right? Well... Randy Ferri's ( age 52) garage is different.

"I had the chance to retire early and needed something to do with my time," he says.

I guess he did what any normal person would do to pass time. Build an airplane!

Randy has enjoyed flying his entire life. However, it really took off when he moved into his new house. He saw his large back yard as a way to fulfill his childhood dream. First is started off with a paraglider, a powered parachute. He took a few lessons on how to fly the contraption, and he was up in no time.

"It was awesome being able to take off from my own back yard but I needed something a little faster."

So what did he do two years later? Thats right! He bought something faster. This time it was a Trike. Basically a go-kart with a hang-glider on top.

"I could still take off from my yard. Well, not my yard," he laughed. "We combined the yard with the two neighbors and made a grass runway. It was like our own personal airport."

After going through three different models of Trikes, he decided that he still wasn't flying fast enough. It was time to upgrade! In order to get anything faster than what he had, he was required to get his pilots lisense. He attended a few months of pilots school and was ready to buy an Ultralite. An Ultralite is a light weight airplane that is covered in a nylon skin instead of aluminum. Ultralites are much slower than a regular plane, however, it was faster than what he had.

"It still wasn't fast enough, I couldn't keep up with my friends," he said.

That's what caused Randy to go to extreme measures and build an airplane in his garage. It took three years and alot of rivets but he did it.

"It was a learn as you go kind of thing. If I messed a piece up, I made a new one."

He couldn't use the the runway in his backyard anymore but atleast he could keep up with his friends. He keeps the new plane at the airport where he rents a hangar.

Randy flies his new plane as much as possible and even flew to California over the summer. He made several stops on his way but made it there and back safely.

"It's a great hobby and an awesome feeling flying over the country in a plane hand built by myslef. I feel like I accomplished something with my free time."

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