Twente flies plane he built from scratch

By Staff
FLYING ACE Dr. George Twente makes pre-flight preparations before taking off in the Pitts Model 12 biplane he built from scratch. Photo by Chris Allen Baker / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
March 23, 2002
Dr. George Twente looks forward to Thursdays and weekends when he can enjoy his passion: flying a single-engine biplane he built from scratch.
Twente, whose love of flying dates to his childhood, finished more than three years and about 2,000 hours of work in November building his plane that is called a Pitts Model 12.
The plane is made of fiberglass and aluminum with wings made of wood and glue. The plane has a nine-cylinder round engine; other planes usually have six-cylinder flat engines.
Twente said his plane can fly faster than 200 mph, "but it eats a lot of fuel to do that." Normal cruise speed is about 170 to 175 mph.
Painted in patriotic red, white and blue, the plane displays American flags on each wing. Twente said the colors were already chosen and designed before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Twente takes off in his plane using a 4,000-foot grass runway behind his home north of Meridian next to an old World War II auxiliary air field.
Twente has flown in his homemade plane to Alabama and also to Rome, Ga., to see one of his two sons. His wife, Theresa, is often a passenger.
Although George loves doing aerobatic tricks he has performed at air shows in the past he avoids them with his wife.