Pat and Arthur Roe anxiously awaited for Arthur’s son, Michael Roe, and his wife, Geenee Roe, to fly into the Victoria Regional Airport last week. This was the first time they had seen Michael’s self-built plane fully built.

Geenee and Michael flew 970 miles from Lake Havasu City, Ariz. to Victoria in his Cozy Mark IV.

Although the flight took 6.5 hours with a 30 minute stop in Pecos, it was a trip 21 years in the making.

Michael purchased the plans to build the plane in 1998. Two years later, he started to build it while his wife was attending cosmetology school in the evenings.

He purchased the plans before getting his pilot’s license.

“I was totally committed right up front,” Michael said. “I finally finished the airplane in 2017, so it took 17 years to complete.”

Michael first became interested in building a plane in 1994 when he attended an Experimental Aircraft Association event in Phoenix.

“I saw an airfield full of planes and people were just walking in,” Michael said. “They looked like they had been dipped in nail polish and set out. I was mesmerized by this airplane I had never seen before.”

Michael saw Nathan Puffer, the designer of the Cozy Mark IV, at this event. “I never got it out of my head,” Michael said.

Two years later, he joined a group online at cozybuilders.org and later traveled to Puffer’s home to purchase the plans in 1998.

His father had seen the plane in the construction mode, including seeing it in its early stages in a spare bedroom of his son’s home in Golden, Colo.

“He took me into his bedroom and showed me what he was building,” Arthur said. “So I saw the very first component.”

Michael spent more than 3,000 hours building his plane.

“You have to force yourself to get going because all you see is materials on the shelf,” Michael said. “You buy batches and bulks of raw materials like rolls of fiberglass, buckets of epoxy and blocks of foam and you start shaping something into an airplane following the plans.”

Along the way, Arthur was visiting Colorado when Michael and his son, JR Roe, were working on the Cozy Mark IV’s wings.

“They take this hot wire and cut the shape out of the wing. It was so neat watching those guys shape that wing,” Arthur said.

Arthur and Michael’s mutual love for aviation began long before the Cozy Mark IV.

They were both helicopter mechanics in the National Guard. They also learned to fly at the same aviation field in Colorado, now called Centennial Airport.

Arthur was a private pilot and would take his son flying as a child.

Michael shared one specific memory he had while his father was in flight training. When Michael was 8 years old, he was in a building full of airplanes.

“I’d get in every one of those Cessnas,” Michael said. “I’m touching all the switches and ‘flying’ those planes while he was doing his night flying.”

After a weekend of visiting with friends and family, Michael and Geenee prepared to fly home to Lake Havasu, Ariz.

His father offered one parting request.

“Next I want to see it with a paint job,” Arthur said.

Shelby Miller is the multimedia intern for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at samiller@vicad.com or @samillerphotos on Twitter.

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