Arizona Business Gazette
Jan. 12, 2006 12:00 AM
If practical, proud aircraft owners would keep their planes in their home so they could admire them 24/7.
Graeme Warring offers the next best solution.
Warring is chief executive officer of Pacific Aircraft, a 20-year-old Scottsdale Airpark company that specializes in creating handcrafted model replicas of beloved aircraft, boats and ships.
“Our customer base is really quite diverse,” Warring said.
Private pilots to fractional owners of corporate jets have requested models, according to Warring. They are also a hit with those who served or are serving in the armed forces.
“And not just pilots request models,” Warring said. “A mechanic will have the same sense of pride of achievement in keeping an aircraft aloft. There is a fraternity of people who are passionate for aviation, especially in the military.”
Pacific Aircraft maintains an inventory of nearly 10,000 replicas at its warehouse just off the northeastern end of Scottsdale Airport’s runway.
Models range from the Wright Flyer to space shuttles.
“Our catalog is really the history of Aviation 101,” Warring said.
The company fills custom orders with detailing right down to the N-number on the tails.
Warring said he is working on a model for singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who flies a Cessna Caravan dubbed “Margaritaville.”
A Cessna 414 is being made for 76-year-old former astronaut Jim Lovell, who made two trips to the moon.
Twelve years ago, Pacific Aircraft branched out into the maritime model market and now produces everything from warships to ski boats.
A model of the USS Arizona will soon be presented to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., but the move is bipartisan. Warring said he hopes models of the USS Arizona will help the efforts of McCain and Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano raise nearly $3 million needed to refurbish the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
From a block of wood
The models, which typically are 15-17 inches long, begin as a solid block of kiln-dried mahogany.
They are hand-carved, painted and sealed.
All of the models are made by master woodcarvers at Pacific Aircraft’s production facility in the Philippines. It takes carvers nearly 60 hours to create one model.
Prices begin at $129 for a Cessna 172. A model of the USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76 aircraft carrier can cost $1,299.
“It’s the perfect upscale gift for yourself or someone you know,” Warring said. “These are not toys. They are collectibles and will be passed on from one generation to the next.”
It takes about eight weeks to receive a custom model.