PURCELL, Okla. – He walks past the forgotten toy chests of Purcell’s grown-ups, the storage units containing stuff they don’t play with any more.
But Carroll Milner has his favorite toys out in the open on this day. The latest is a ‘junker’ he made himself.
“I guess I’m somewhat of a McGyver, or an innovator,” he says.
He modeled his half-scale airplane after the WWI era Junkers. But Milner actually used junk to make it.
He says, “I’ve always loved airplanes,”
A first time observer can identify blinkers from a boat, a machine gun made of PVC pipe and a car clothes hangar.
It’s powered by an old four-wheeler motor he turned on it’s end to fit. “Lots of experimentation,” says Carroll.
Before the the airplane project, he built himself a model train. The wheel rims are made from metal dog dishes.
Always busy, he’s finishing up work on an old wooden oil rig. It won’t pump oil. The train doesn’t actually run on tracks, and, if you haven’t guessed already, his ‘junker’ won’t fly.
“I’m a little bit short on the power,” jokes Milner. “Somebody asked me if it would fly and I said it would do everything but get off the ground.”
His plane and train get a lot of use in parades around central Oklahoma. He might try to tell you he built them for his grandkids to ride in, but there’s still enough kid in Carroll for him to pretend a little too.
“It’s fun,” he says. “It just lights up my day.”
The old ‘junker’ can make 10 miles per hour down the side streets of Purcell. It’s not enough for a real take-off but that’s okay with Carroll.
His flights of fancy and his skill as an ace builder are enough to take him anywhere he wants to go.