There will be no further attempt to fly a full-size interpretation of pioneer Richard Pearse's 1903 plane.
Retired Kelston engineer Ivan Mudrovcich, 79, says his recent diagnosis of inoperable liver cancer prompted the decision.
Mudrovcich researched and built the plane in his suburban garage over 13 years in the hope it might prove that Pearse's design was capable of flight.
But he doesn't want to risk damaging the aircraft in a crash landing because he is too ill to repair it.
"The job's done. The priority now is to preserve the aircraft for New Zealand," he says.
"We want the plane to go somewhere where it is looked after. I want to tidy up the loose ends and have some peace about it."
Mudrovcich wants ownership to stay in his family but for the aircraft to be kept somewhere where it is accessible to the public as "an educational asset".
"It's New Zealand's aircraft, New Zealand's history. We've made a copy as best we can about what Pearse did and I think we've made a bloody good job of it."
Mudrovcich has kept the material, including Pearse's patent and documents in the aviation pioneer's handwriting, on which he based his interpretation.
His copy, the Richard Pearse Two (ZK-RPT), almost flew at an airshow in 2015, then engine problems thwarted an attempt last year in front of media at Whitianga.
Renowned pilot Nev Hay was at the controls both times and says he had to abort take off in 2015 because a cross wind was pushing the aircraft towards the crowd. "I think it was very close to flying."
But the wing is nothing like modern wings, says Hay, and the potential was there for crashing.
"Ivan is a brilliant engineer and I thought it was worth supporting him to really prove whether or not flight was possible with an aircraft based on Richard Pearse's design.
"It is a sad end. The riddle of Richard Pearse continues. It's a journey we have been on and the journey may not have been completed as we had hoped. Somebody else may do the job. "
Mudrovcich says he has solved the engine issue that dogged the attempt in Whitianga.
"The engine is finished. It has more than sufficient thrust now for flight. Just as we got everything right I went to hospital to have the check-up and they gave me the news."
Mudrovcich says his heart condition means treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation are not viable.
While a flight attempt is out, if he is well enough he may do engine demonstrations in his driveway "to show the thrust it has got, show the figures".
"Then we want the aircraft to go somewhere where it will be looked after."
It has taken time for Mudrovcich to accept he will not see it fly. "You have got to get your head around these things. But I know, and the experts have said, that it's flyable. That's as good as I can get in the circumstances. I'm satisfied."
The idea to build a copy came after Mudrovcich had a triple-bypass operation in 2004. He needed something to throw himself into and the project gave him a new lease on life.
Countless hours and $50,000 went into it.
His wife, Janet, learned to live with aircraft parts stored throughout their tidy two-bedroom house.
During the process Mudrovcich came to feel a bond with Pearse. He says the South Canterbury farmer and inventor was misunderstood, underestimated and denied due credit.
It has been claimed that on March 31, 1903, nine months before the Wright Brothers flew their aircraft, Pearse flew and landed the machine that Mudrovcich has copied.
But evidence to support such a claim remains open to interpretation, and Pearse did not develop his aircraft to the same degree as the Wright brothers.
Many people contributed expertise, materials, time, money and encouragement, says Mudrovcich, particularly artist Michael Smither, engineer Warwick McKenzie and Hay.
New friends made on the journey include descendants of Pearse. A great-nephew who lives in Pearse's house at Waitohi visited the Mudroviches this month.
The Richard Pearse Two may not have flown but it has served a purpose in many ways for many people.