AVIATION engineer David Kingshott has spent the bulk of his 32 years restoring and maintaining aircraft two-to-three times his age.
Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Sussex man, who now calls Bundaberg home, has been quivering with excitement in the lead-up to the Wide Bay Australia International Airshow.
“My passion is these old planes, the history of it, the character and the smell of each plane,” he said while tinkering with a 1948 Chipmunk.
His expertise has led him to some interesting locations, not least the French Pyrenees on set for James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
“I was working on a L39 jet and they asked if I wanted to be an Afghani rebel, so I agreed ... plus I've been into (Pink Floyd guitarist) Dave Gilmour's private hangar and worked on his aircraft, that was amazing,” he said.
His wide knowledge of the 60-plus aircraft at the airshow renders him invaluable to the operation.
“We have almost $20 million worth of aircraft and he has the skill to step across each one and know them intricately,” ground operations manager Matt Fisher said.
“I couldn't count the number of times we have wished to have someone like David on board for our airshows.”
When he does not have an airshow to prepare for, the enthusiast fixes local planes and general aviation craft, but his goal is clear.
“I want to expand the vintage aircraft maintenance, and people are beginning to send their planes to me here in Bundaberg and that side of things is increasing,” he said.
He started his business 18 months ago, but the former chief engineer of Air Atlantique in England has a world-class reputation that is beginning to catch up with him.
“I had it easy in England, everyone knew me and I'm only just starting to get recognised in Australia now, but there aren't many vintage maintenance companies in Australia,” Mr Kingshott said.
The one-man-band is up to his ears in restoration duties ahead of Friday's opening day, but no amount of work can take the smile off his face.
“My wife knows when I've been fixing the older planes, because I come home at the end of the day and I'm way too happy,” he joked.
• 8.30am-4.30pm at Bundaberg Airport
• Discounted tickets online, $5 extra at the gate
• Parking and shuttle bus available at Kendalls Road