How I Did It
I'm a pilot who couldn't afford to buy the historical planes I wanted to fly, so I built them from scratch
By As Told To Daphne Mosher

(MONEY Magazine) – BY FRED MURRIN, 55, GREENVILLE, PA. AS TOLD TO DAPHNE MOSHER

"The first replica I built was a German Fokker Dr. 1 triplane. No plans existed, so I had to do a tremendous amount of research. I found an original World War I-era engine, which I extensively restored. I also reverse engineered the propeller, which I carved from birch and walnut. The next plane I built was a British Sopwith F1 'Camel.' I found all the original instruments, even the machine guns. I started to build the plane in my shop, but it outgrew the space, so I rented a hangar to finish the work. That project lasted about 12,500 hours, and I did everything myself--from working during some of my lunch hours to tracking down parts across North America.

I worked an average of 14 hours a week, so it took me about 18 years to finish the plane. Building both planes cost less than $39,000, and I did that on a five-figure engineer's salary. I saved money for the planes by thinking of it as an extra monthly car payment. Today both planes are worth almost 10 times their cost, but their value isn't really that important. My passion is W.W. I aviation, and flying these old planes is what drives me."

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.