Hanging out in the library waiting for his brother to finish hockey practise gave Billy Johnson an opportunity to learn a new skill.
The 11-year-old Glenmerry student is learning how to build a model airplane, old-school style after children’s programmer Darcee O’Hearn approached him to join.
“I love planes so right after she asked I was ready to start,” said Johnson. “It’s fun.”
O’Hearn asked her father Brian to fly to Trail from his native Toronto to teach the children how to build a model airplane from balsa wood strips, which is a hobby he has practised since childhood.
“My daughter thought it was something I should be doing since I retired,” said Brian. “It is a good skill to pass down to younger kids because you don’t see this hobby much now. And it keeps them away from the television or computer.”
Eight children ages 9-12 started the Trail and District Public Library workshop Tuesday, and within the next four weeks will have an exact replica of a Cessna 180, ready for flight.
The hobby requires a high level of concentration and fine motor skills to first pin the frame to the plans before gluing the delicate pieces of wood into place.
The next phase involves “skinning” the airplane, which is a finicky and slow process requiring tissue paper and diluted white glue to mold a body to the wood frame.
“That part takes awhile to dry,” explained O’Hearn. “Which is why the workshop is planned in four stages. But after that the kids can paint their plane any crazy colour they want,” he said.
“After then we’ll go over to the gym and let it rip.”