Mudrovcich Pearce 1903 replica
Aucklander Ivan Mudrovcich, a retired automotive engineer, has spent the past 10 years building a replica of the Canterbury farmer's controversial aircraft, which some say pre-dated the first flight of the Wright brothers in December 1903.
Mudrovcich Pearce 1903, ZK-RPT
The fuel has to be mixed from kerosene, ethanol and paraffin to replicate what was used more than 100 years ago.
"Richard Pearse had to go to the chemist to buy his fuel," said Mr Mudrovcich. Once it has started, its running time is short and the engine gets dangerously hot. "We've had eight minutes out of it. We have a rule after it has run that we don't go near it for a quarter of an hour," he said.
When not in use, the dismantled aircraft is stored at home. "I keep it in the garage at home. I also keep parts of it under the bed, in the living room, everywhere," he said.
The replica takes up most of a small hangar at Hood Aerodrome and consists of an engine on a wooden tricycle undercarriage. The 13m wingspan is made of bamboo and steel tubes covered with linen. It is registered as a microlight and has a licence number, ZK-RPT. Whether it can actually fly is unknown.
"We haven't explored its capabilities and we are reluctant to fly it here. We will be firing it up and maybe taxiing it," said pilot Neville Hay. "Never fly higher than you can jump."