"Gooney Bird" keeps Meridian man busy

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jan 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-17 23:42:31-05

You can tell a lot about a neighbor by what's in their garage. Some are a mess. Some are tidy. And some just make you shake your head in wonder. Roland Beres shows us one such garage that's got all the neighbors talking.

Inside this suburban Meridian garage...

"It helped win the war."

Is something you'd never expect.
"I have a World War Two vintage aircraft."

And it's known as...

"a gooney bird."

That's Bob Allen.
The retired Air Force mechanic who spent the past 9 years building this classic DC-3 variant in his garage.

"It's a nice looking plane, and I enjoy doing it.."

"And talk about detail. Bob has taken just about everything into consideration.  The handles turn to open doors for rescues.  There's even a tiny ladder that looks original.  How about that?"

And look at the attention to detail in the cockpit.
The 140 inch wingspan, 50 pound replica is remote-controlled.
But it almost looks big enough to fly off with its maker.

"Yeah, I'd kinda like to go with it.  It would be nice."

Of course, Bob's already flown in the real thing.  His dad was the pilot then.
But when the time comes, Bob's son or someone else will have to fly this bird.

"i'm not good enough to fly this."

And no matter who flies it the first time, Bob says he'll be on pins and needles.

"It's gonna go up and it's gonna come down fast or come down slow.  There'll be tears on that day, tears of joy or tears of sorrow."

But the DC-3 is among the most solid designs in aviation history.  Many of the real ones are still flying today.
And soon, this replica will join them.

"It's done.  As soon as it's warm I'll paint it and start the engines."

And Bob will have to find something else unusual, to fill the garage.
The whole project was funded by a longtime friend of Bob's who will take ownership of the plane in California later this year. Roland says he plans to be there when Bob's airplane takes off for the first time.