Article from Daily Mail News paper Feb17th 2000

Building a Jab in your house!

Arthur Forbes

WHEN he's not pottering in the garden or puzzling over a crossword, pensioner Arthur Forbes turns to his other hobby... building a plane in his house. No, not an Airf'ix model. For two years he has worked quietly in his utility room with glue and glass fibre, painstakingly putting together a full-size two-seater aircraft -and now it's almost ready to take to the skies. There's just one problem ... he'll have to dismantle part of his home to get it out. 'I don't think my wife will be too pleased if I cause any damage - I will have to be quite careful,' the 70-year-old retired inventor said yesterday. 'One option is to remove the patio-style doors and wheel it through the house, although I will have to take the engine out.' Once he does get the plane from his home in Yatton, near Bristol, to Bristol International Airport, he is planning a celebratory flight to Switzerland. After importing the £20,000 Jabiru aircraft in kit form from Australia, Mr Forbes spent his spare time constructing the glass fibre shell, bolting on the undercarriage, Installing the 2.2lltre engine and applying ten coats of paint. Once he gets it outside, he'll attach the wings. 'It is now three-quarters finished,' he said. 'It has taken a long time because I have been doing it in my spare time. That's the Joy of working on It at home, as I have been able to get on with it quietly. 'I do make some noise, but I have had no complaints from the neighbours. It will be able to fly to Switzerland when it is finished, although it would not usually be used for such things. It is quite intrepid.' But his wife Harriet - who helps move the plane around the utility room when he needs to work on various sections - has not yet decided whether to take to the skies with him.

'I have never flown with Arthur', she said. 'I may go up with him when it is finished, but I will have to wait and see.'

Mr Forbes developed his love of planes when he was a child, spending hours constructing model aircraft. He first flew a glider at the age of 17, but his passion became a hobby as he went on to forge a successful career in engineering. He started work as a lecturer in mechanical engineering and mathematics at the University of Bath. But in the 1980s he went into business with an academic friend, Professor Ken Diprose. The pair struck gold after designing an energy meter to measure the cost of providing water to heat homes. They also came up with a design for automated ship guidance -which was adopted by the Royal Navy - and a device for guiding welding torches.

Mr Forbes first became involved in self-build planes ten years ago, when he helped a fellow enthusiast construct a light aircraft. 'I sometimes think I am getting a bit old to do this, but I am building it for fin,' he said.