Son continues family project

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Dennis Williams is building a Van’s RV-6A kit airplane in his front yard. Williams and his father began the project in 1998, prior to his father’s death.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Eleven years after beginning a Van’s RV-6A kit airplane with his father, Dennis Williams has resurrected the project and designated his front yard as his work station.

Williams’ father died about five years ago from a brain tumor and Williams decided that he couldn’t let the project go unfinished.

“As long as one of us finishes it, it’ll be a success for him and for me,” the 60-year-old said. “There’s no sense getting in a hurry.”

Williams is a member of the Civil Air Patrol and has been a licensed pilot since 1971. His father and great grandfather were also pilots and introduced him to planes when he was younger.

Williams said he spends hours working on the plane and is at a turning point.

“After this part of the kit, I can take the plane off this wooden cart and it can stand on its own wheels,” he said.

Williams’ wife, Pamela, said she pitches in whenever he needs another set of hands, but for the most part just watches and keeps her husband company while working on the project.

“It’s exciting,” Pamela said. “Planes scare me but I’ll fly with him in this when it’s finished.”

Williams worked as an airplane mechanic 30 years ago, but said he couldn’t make a living at it.

“But that knowledge helps me on a project like this,” he said.

Williams works on the plane whenever life permits him time, but he has a specific deadline.

“I will be finished before Aug. 13, 2014. I plan to retire the day before that. This will be my retirement present,” he said.