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Man spends decades on 'Bathtub' plane

Sept. 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM

RENTON, Wash., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- An 84-year-old Washington state man said he has spent nearly six decades creating a replica of a 1924 "Dormay Bathtub" plane and he hopes to fly it this year.

Ed Kusmirek of Renton said he bought an authentic engine for the plane for $40 in the 1950s and he has since restored the engine and during the past seven years built a replica of the airframe from re-purposed parts including pot lids, dirt bike wheels and a spring from an old recliner, The Seattle Times reported Monday.

Kusmirek, who worked for 39 years as a researcher at Boeing, said he needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and a refresher of his flying skills before taking the plane into the air.

The pilot conceded the Dormay Bathtub is "very pilot unfriendly," and replicas of the plane were involved in fatal crashes in 2008 and 1994. However, Kusmirek said he loves the design of the aircraft.

"It looked so rudimentary, so birdlike. That's what started it all," he said.

He said he hopes to take the plane for one flight before donating it to a museum.

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