By Suzanne Schmidt
To most people a bunch of leftover signs would just be a bunch of trash, but to Marcus Price it is an opportunity.
Price, co-owner of Goin’ Postal and Life Size Greetings in Zephyrhills, ended up with lots of scrap material while making signs through his company, Life Size Greetings.
One night he and one of his business partners, Bob Stephens, decided it would be a great idea to build an airplane out of those scrap pieces.
“We had all of this spare plastic and we were looking for a way to use it,” Marcus Price said. “I originally drew the plan on a napkin and then Bob went through and put the pieces together and fixed the design as we went along.”
Now the airplane is almost complete and he plans to fly it to see how well it works.
“I know how an airplane works and what shape they should be,” Marcus Price said. “When we have an engine the idea is to be able to fly at about 20 miles per hour. We figured all of that out on a napkin too.”
About 99 percent of the plane is made up of the recycled plastic signs including the wheels, the body of the plane and the wings. PVC piping is used to make the controls and to reinforce some of the structure of the airplane.
In the next couple of weeks, Price and Stephens plan to build the control surfaces and then at some point they will take it for its maiden voyage. Since the plane will not have an engine, it will be towed behind a truck just to see if it is able to fly.
“For the first flight, it should only be about six or seven feet off the ground,” Marcus Price said. “If anything happens, it should be OK since we won’t be that high up.”
Stephens said over the last couple months, he and Price have spent about 24 hours total building the plane.
“I am normally the Devil’s advocate to his ideas, but when he came up with this one I was all for it,” Stephens said. “It was a no brainer, he must do it. I am just jealous we built it for him and I can’t fly it. Over the years, we have done so many fun things. We both love to fly and we have loved creating the plane.”
Marcus is no stranger to flying. He is actually a multiple engine commercial instrument rated pilot, which means he can fly commercial airplanes.
“He has always been an aviation enthusiast and so have I; we actually met sky-diving,” M. J. Price said. “He could apply for a job at a place like Delta Airlines and get a job. He was in the top of his class at Airline Training Academy in Orlando.”
Marcus’s Dad, Tony Price, was his original inspiration to learn how to fly.
“My Dad was an old-time pilot,” Marcus Price said. “He flew real airplanes and he once built an airplane in our living room when I was 7-years-old.”
Price said he is looking for a sponsor to buy an engine for the small plane so that he can try to fly it independently.
“We built it so that it can support an engine,” Marcus Price said. “We are looking to get an MZ313 cc, which is a racing bike engine. Anybody could sponsor the engine.”
The future plans if the plane works, is to sell kits on eBay and then to move on to make a catamaran and a tank with a potato gun on the turret all out of recycled plastic signs.
Marcus and his wife M. J. and Bob Stephens all started Life Size Greetings in 2003. The business has grown now to create signs for such big names as Danica Patrick, Estee Lauder, NASA and McGruff the Crime Dog.
“We do everything from making stand ups for weddings to school fundraisers,” M. J. Price said. “We can also make great big holiday cards and greetings and we do enlargements for the courtroom to make an impact on a jury.”
For more information about Life Size Greetings, visit www.lifesizegreetings.com.