Bruce King, a pilot-turned-aircraft-designer-turned-businessman, designed a small, one-person airplane, built it from scratch, and soon he plans to take the BK1 on a cross-country trip.
He finished his last practice flight at Zuehl Field near Marion Tuesday morning, giving him the required 40 hours of near-home flying required before taking it on a much longer trip to Oshkosh, Wis.
King got into building planes when he couldn't afford to fly any other way.
"Between 1975 and 2002, I couldn't fly, because I didn't have an airplane. I couldn't afford to rent one. I couldn't afford to buy one. They're just too expensive. Then I said, 'Well, I'll build my own,'" he said.
After making major modifications to the kit plane he bought -- just so he could fit inside -- he decided it might be easier to design his own.
"To me, it's like an aerial version of a go-cart," he said.
He used a Volkswagen engine and aluminum, along with ideas from other designs that have all been around since the 1930s, and designed his first plane with pencil and graph paper.
He's since moved on to a computer to make the design more precise, and completed his second design, the BK1.
"My dream is that 50 years from now, they'll still be building them. There are plans-built aircraft out there that have been around since the '30s and are still being constructed, because they were good designs. People like them a whole lot," King said.
He has sold 80 sets of plans for the BK1 through his business, BK Fliers, and said 8-10 of them are being built.
He'll show off his design, and hopes to sell more plans at the aviation show in Oshkosh, Wis., in late July.
If things go according to his plans, his design will one day become a kit plane.