One man's hard road to flight - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

One man's hard road to flight

by Cami Mountain

OSHKOSH (WAOW) --   At this year's EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, leaders are recognizing the number of homebuilt aircraft.  They say this year, the 30-thousandth homemade plane will fly in.

Here's the story of one man who built his plane, from the wheels up.

Back in 1985, Keith Livingston from Cottonwood, California started building his R-V Aircraft.  It's a two seater that's he's traveled the country in.

He's had a love for the sky since he joined the Air Force straight out of high school.  Today, he's 75.  But getting behind the wheel of a plane wasn't that easy for him.

He says, "Because they were between wars, they were kind of cutting down the number of pilots flying. So, they started me in navigation where I went. Then went to a specialty school to become a flight engineer on a B-36."

After years in the Air Force and some prodding from his family, Livingston left the military to become a pediatric dentist in California.  Only years later, would he experience the thrill of flight.

 "I waited until I got out of dental school, got my license, learned to fly and came to Oshkosh in '84. It changed my life."

It was then he knew, it was time to build a plane of his own.  So, for next 5 years, in a shed in his backyard Livingston built this plane.

"After the little experience I had flying, I thought, of the 3 or 4 I'd flown, this is the way an airplane should fly. Just like this, sensitive, just like a sports car."

Since then, he's flown between 4 and 500,000 miles and across the country.  In the past 18 years, Livingston has clocked 2,400 miles in his plane.  He usually fly's with his wife as co-pilot.

He says building planes is a great way to spend retirement and it's kept him healthy.  This is his 10th time to EAA.

Online Reporter:  Cami Mountain

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