Build your own airplane — from a Coke can

One of the classic crafts you will see at an air show or fly-in is a model airplane built from a beverage can. You may think to yourself, “I wonder if I could do that?”

Those of you who would like to try it can get plans and even a detailed instructional video, for a price, from BC Air Originals. The company is the brainchild of Wayne Mathis, a pilot who, for the better part of 20 years, has been building airplanes from soda and beer cans. The models, he says, can be built with household tools in a few hours.

“I have sold 10,000 sets of plans and shipped them all over the world,” he said. “I get emails from teachers who use the designs as class projects and I have also heard from EAA chapters and scout troops who built the aircraft for auction, as well as from people who build them for sale on the air show circuit. One guy told me he got enough money to buy a motorcycle. Another guy told me he built and sold the airplanes to pay for his private pilot license.”

The designs can be built to accommodate RC engines, he notes, “and it has been done.”

Mathis does not build custom aircraft, saying it would take too much time. The only model he builds and ships is a biplane that sells for $99.95. The buyer gets to select what kind of beverage is sacrificed for the project.

“It takes approximately 17 cans to make one of the biplanes,” says Mathis. “I buy a case of beer and get it home and it all gets poured down the sink because I can’t drink that much beer.”

The cost of the plans ranges from $9.99 to $75.95 depending on how involved the design is and if the buyer also purchases the instructional video.

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