LUBBOCK, Texas – What started as a passion for flying has led one Lubbock family into building their own airplane.
Jerry Bland said his inspiration for aviation started after his friend took him flying, opening his eyes into new opportunities, “I didn’t realize it was just something that your general, you know, Joe Schmo could do and after I met him and went flying, I was like, ‘oh wow, so I mean, I can just go to flight school and do that. I don’t have to be in the military. I don’t have to be, you know, with the airliners or whatever.”
Since then Bland became a Pilot and realized building a plane was a better route than buying one.
“So I got my license and was a member of the EAA. The Experimental Aircraft Association, and so they helped me through the process of getting my pilots license,” said Bland.
The bland family has been building an RV-9A for two and a half years through the EAA, “It’s a kit build, so luckily it’s not from scratch. I’m not just looking at plans and just going down to the local hardware store and buying stuff. They have a pre-punc, pre-made kits and they kind of sell them in stages,” said Bland.
So far, the family has put in almost fourteen hundred hours of labor into getting the aircraft built, but the journey hasn’t been easy.
“There’s been a lot of times I’ve stopped, thinking I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know when I’m going to get this done and I don’t know why I’m doing this, but I’ve gone too far now, I mean, I have to finish it,” said Bland.
The Bland family said they hope they can see it takeoff soon for a good cause,
“I’m involved with the EAA so they do a young Eagles program and in the Eagles program, it’s Free of charge. We take kids from ages 8 to 17 for free rides on an airplane and teach them about aviation. There’s also pilots and paws where they transport animals. Angel Flight, there’s a lot of different programs I’ve been involved in, so it’ll come to play with a lot of those different things.”
To help the Bland family finish the build and take flight you can donate to their GoFundMe here.
To follow the Bland’s family journey on the aircraft you can visit the EAA Builders Log Site here.
For more information on the Lubbock Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association you can visit their Facebook here.