Ken Wood’s love of flying spans several generations. The 25-year air veteran’s father and grandfather were aviators, and he has followed in their wake, working as a US Airways assistant chief pilot.
Unlike them, Wood has a penchant for collecting readymade model airplanes. It began four years ago and has spread to his 9-year-old son, Kenton.
Wood, 47, has amassed more than 2,500 scale-model airplanes, a hobby that has literally taken over a portion of the Wood home. Kenton has around 300 in his bedroom.
“It’s Ken’s second love,” said Wood’s wife, Karyl, before adding with a chuckle, “actually, it’s his first.”
Wood admits he’s hooked on model airplanes. Most are in a 26-foot by 13-foot room adjacent to his living room. Wood beamed with pride as he showed a visitor the die-cast and plastic models, ranging in scale from 1/72 for military jets to 1/400 for other planes. About 50 of the models are 1/100 scale. Wood is especially proud of the just-finished, built-in glass display cases that will make his biweekly dusting project a lot easier.
“It’s like flying,” Wood said of his hobby. “Flying is a drug. Once you start, you never stop.”
Priced at $25 for smaller models and up to $350 for large ones, Wood said he has spent thousands of dollars on his collection and, as the years climb, so do the values.
“I’ve got a tag on the bottom of each with their value,” Wood said. “That’s so Karyl knows what they’re worth when I’m gone.”
Wood values his collection at around $100,000 and has it insured.
Born in Scotland, Wood’s addiction began when he received a plastic model plane kit of an Airfix Vickers VC-10 as a young child. His “rebirth” in the hobby came when he visited the then-America West Airlines company store and noticed discrepancies in models versus the real things. He later became a technical consultant for the store’s buyer. His collection started with planes he flew, then expanded.
“I flew a Concorde twice, so that’s a favorite,” Wood said. “Then, there are seaplanes I flew over the Bahamas. The whole thing just grew from there.
“Just when I thought I was getting the hang of this, there’s another release of military jets,” Wood said. “Who knows how many they’ll make? As long as the companies I buy from keep making planes, I’ll get them.”
Wood already has visions of making the room he just had expanded larger.
“My 15-year-old (Kendra) has a room on the other side of one of the walls of my model area,” Wood said. “It was my office. I’m not about to put (the planes) in the attic. When she gets older, my room will expand to 54- or 55-by-13.”