OGDEN -- It's that look seen on a child's face on Christmas morning.
That was the look on the faces of two dozen men and a few women Thursday when a historic experimental airplane flew into Ogden-Hinckley Airport.
The tiny plane was the bright-yellow RV-1, the original homebuilt aircraft that started an industry of similar aircraft in the past few decades.
The RV is a small, experimental aircraft people purchase in a kit and then assemble in their garage or basement. There have been 11 improvements to that first model, all distributed for in-home building by Van's Aircraft.
"Wow! That's where it all started," said Phyllis Jones, of Syracuse, as she gazed at the plane, which is on a national tour to airports from Alaska to Florida. The aircraft was discovered abandoned in a hangar and was restored by a group who formed a nonprofit agency to care for it.
"Since this was a prototype, they used fabric," Jones said, pointing to the body of the aircraft. "That's interesting."
Jones was one of 20 owners and builders of similar, small RV aircraft. The aircraft were all on display on the tarmac surrounding the RV-1.
Other types of aircraft can be assembled at home, but people at the airport Thursday agreed the RV planes were the best they could make and said they out-performed factory-made planes.
Jones and her husband, Jerry, spent seven years building their aircraft in their basement.
She said they wanted to stay on a budget, so they just purchased one part at a time.
They completed the plane in 2007.
At around $30,000, it was the least expensive of the aircraft whose owners were interviewed. Other planes on display Thursday varied in cost, including one that cost $150,000.
"A lot of our instruments are used," Jones said. "We bought them on eBay."
But once the plane was completed, she said, experts from the Federal Aviation Administration signed off that it was a sound aircraft.
"You don't just build an aircraft and let it fly," she said, noting the importance of FAA approval.
Jones said people are surprised when they hear about her and her husband building the plane.
"They say, 'You are crazy,' " she said. "But it's more solid, more secure and smoother than any factory-built plane."
Jones said she feels secure knowing exactly how sturdily each rivet on her aircraft is fastened, because she tightened them herself.
"If you learn how to build an airplane, it's a skill that is transferable to a million other things," said Ed McKenney, of Eden.
McKenney said home-built and sport aircraft are some of the fastest growing sectors in aviation. He said there are 200,000 members of the Experimental Aircraft Association worldwide.
Hooper resident Blake Harrop said he has a lot of fun in the aircraft he spent two years and two months building.
"It scoots along," he said of flying 190 to 205 mph.
"It's such a small aircraft," he said. "It's pretty efficient on fuel."
In fact, he said he goes faster in his plane and uses less fuel than he could in a commercial brand.