The sky's the limit for aircraft builder turned pilot
Morgan Frost was just a 16-year-old school boy when he started working on Alan Caudwell's microlight.
But now he is a 20-year-old with his own pilot's licence after learning to fly the aircraft he helped build.
"There is nothing like it," Frost said. "Just being out there and cruising. It's awesome."
Caudwell bought the kitset Van's RV12 microlight about four years ago as a way to get school students to learn about aviation.
"I've been involved in aviation all my life," he said. "This was a way to give something back. To get kids doing something that isn't on a cellphone these days is impossible."
A few hardy young souls, including Frost, gave up their Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings to learn how to put the plane together.
When Caudwell started the project there were about a dozen students from schools across Nelson. However, that number quickly dwindled to half that amount.
Five of the students are now working as aircraft mechanics. Frost is the only student to have gained his licence.
"That's a positive result out of it, I suppose," said Caudwell.
Frost said while he had got his licence he preferred to keep it as a hobby rather than a career but credited learning with giving him confidence.
"For a while there I thought I couldn't do anything but now that I have the licence it's proof that I can do something."
His instructor Kevin Allport said initially Frost had some challenges but when he got up in the air he came into his own.
Caudwell provided the microlight free of charge. All Frost had to pay for was the fuel and the landing fees.
"I couldn't have done it without that," Frost said.