PHOTOS | HELEANA GENAUS
Some people own a garage where they can collect cars to restore and love. Others own a hanger where they collect vintage planes to work on/restore... easy (enter sarcasm emoticon).
I don't really know why, but I always had this idea that airports (and pilots) were severely controlled, heavily regulated, prestigious and elite environments to enter into. But so far, my limited experience through the Petrolettes I've met, it has been the opposite. Granted I haven't yet met any commercial pilots working for major airlines. That said, I've been so surprised by the instructors, students and aerobatics champions I have met and how easy, relaxed and yet strong and reliable the pilots are.
Cass and Peter from the Australian Aerobatics Academy share a hanger with some mystery owner (mystery because I didn't meet him/her rather and thus could be a billionaire vigilante) who also collects and restores small aircraft. The hanger was a workshop of tigermoths and vintage cessnas all at various levels of restoration. I didn't know where to look first!
I'm used to cars and motorcycles being wrenched on as most people have access to be able to work on or store/park such vehicles. If we all had space for our own hangers, more people would fly too. It's expensive to be be a pilot of any type, but then passion is passion and will always drive our priorities to the things we love. These planes are very lucky to have someone look after them, importantly for the history of these planes.
Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.