Eighteen-year-old Torrey Lee creates model airplanes from pretty much anything he can get his hands on.
Torrey has autism, and without instructions or a template, he creates every plane to precise detail.
At 12 years old he won his first art contest at Edgemere Junior High. Since then, he spends a great deal of his time at the library doing research for his next model. Not just the exterior, he also recreates the interior and every working part.
Torrey uses any and everything he can find around the house, from Lego’s, to straws, bread ties, boxes; nothing is off limits. It takes him about two days from start to finish.
“He goes in his room, and he closes the door, and he builds it. And you can’t touch it and you can’t watch him build it and he doesn’t show anyone until it’s done,” said Tavia Lee, Torrey’s mother.
His love for airplanes has now expanded to spacecrafts.
Because of his attention to detail, Torrey can give specific details on every plane and every spacecraft.
“On July 16, 1969, there’s three astronauts named Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins,” said Torrey.
His replicas depict step by step each separation stage from takeoff all the way to its eventual return to earth. He is able to take apart each model and put it back together to show its real-life functions.
His mother has no clue where the talent or the passion comes from. “I can’t cut a straight line,” said Tavia.
When asked about his knowledge of every airplane and every spacecraft, Torrey said, “It’s history,” and is more amazed that others don’t know the how the machines work.
Torrey rarely leaves the house without one of his models. He does not give them away and doesn’t make them for others.