The crash site of the ultralight plane.

The crash site of the ultralight plane. Photo: Colleen Petch

IT'S AMAZING that Rudy Meyer hasn't managed to kill himself yet, though as he said from his Canberra Hospital bed,''It's not through lack of trying.'' The hospital has been the 83-year-old's home for the past eight months since he crashed the ultralight aircraft that he had built himself.

He jokes that if he spends much more time in the hospital, he will be entitled to vote in the local elections.

In April he jumped into his ultralight and threw his swag into the seat behind him.

83-year-old Rudy Meyer has been in Canberra Hospital since April after crashing his ultralight plane.

83-year-old Rudy Meyer has been in Canberra Hospital since April after crashing his ultralight plane. Photo: Colleen Petch

Soon after take-off, just above the trees, his luggage in the back seat moved forward on to the plane's second set of controls.

''The wing hit the tree canopy and the nose cone scraped the ground - if only I'd had the brains to lift my feet,'' he said.

The flesh is still growing back on to his feet which have not been allowed to touch the ground since the crash at Coleambally, five hours west of Canberra, and in which he also cracked his vertebrae and pelvis.

The site of the ultralight crash.

The site of the ultralight crash. Photo: Colleen Petch

''Luckily the doctors were good at jigsaw puzzles,'' he said. ''They saved my foot and I can move my ankles.'' Mr Meyer is the subject of a 484-page book, Let's Look at the Sunset, launched at the hospital on Friday by author Garry Baker.

The book's title comes from a talk that Mr Meyer and his Dutch family had before they were interned in Japanese camps during World War II.

His father, knowing his family was about to be separated and imprisoned in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, said: ''Each evening, let's look at the sunset and think about the time we will be together again.''

83-year-old Rudy Meyer has been in Canberra Hospital since April after crashing his ultralight plane.

83-year-old Rudy Meyer has been in Canberra Hospital since April after crashing his ultralight plane. Photo: Colleen Petch

With his father's help, Mr Meyer survived several brutal camps when others did not and after the war migrated to Australia, becoming a share farmer in western NSW.

He is now the father of four daughters, has eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He celebrates his 58th wedding anniversary in December and is ready to learn to walk again.

''But I might have to crawl first,'' he said.