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Fayaz 2019 Aeroplane
Muhammad Fayaz, a popcorn seller and part-time security guard, was inspired to make an aeroplane after watching the National Geographic series Air Crash Investigation in 2015, and had sold a field, used his savings and taken out a bank loan to pay for it. He had visited Lahore several times in order to “have a glimpse of a Boeing plane and examine how it looks like and what material and parts have been used”.
Starting the build in late 2018, the 92kg craft cost him a total of Rs50,000 (£270) to make and he claims it can fly to 1,000 feet. The programme, namely Air Crash Investigation on National Geographic, had helped me a lot and he became familiar with the parts of an airplane and their functioning, then started working on the project.
His friends and family reportedly made fun of him and his mother expressed her concern about the test flight, but this apparently did not deter him.
He experimented with second-hand engines until he found one light enough, powerful enough and cheap enough to use for the plane.
Mr Fayaz told reporters he had been told to contact Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to gain permission for his test flight, but he did not do so. Owing to limited resources, he was unable to contact the civil aviation officials and finally decided to take test flights without getting permission.
With a crowd of 500 watching, he reportedly used a length of road free from telegraph poles as the runway for his maiden flight and “took several rounds in the air”.
“I made the aircraft with my hard work. My plane can fly till 1,000 feet. Give me one chance so that I can prove that I am a patriotic Pakistani. I informed every department but no one responded me,” Mr Fayyaz said, according to Pakistan Today.
Mr Fayaz was then reportedly arrested for building an aircraft without a permit and “performing aerobatics in the makeshift flying machine”, the “first incidence report” filed by local police said.
The police at the station where Mr Fayaz was held after the incident had taken Mr Fayaz into protective custody and the “unreliable machine impounded to ensure it did not cause any harm to villagers who had gathered to witness the experiment.” The aircraft was confiscated.
Since his release, he asked that the prime minister and army chief give him an opportunity to serve the nation, as “I can make the planes for the country at a low cost.”
He also asked the government to help him get his plane back.
“No one can believe a person who has never been to college has built his own aircraft. This is the result of my passion and constant effort.”
But the impoverished man couldn’t complete his studies after his dad Muhammad Ishaque died and had to quit education after middle school aged 14.
Fayyaz was forced to instead sell popcorn to earn a living – but didn’t stop dreaming of flying a plane.
Married dad-of-four Fayyaz, who has no professional pilot training, said: “It feels great my childhood dream has come true.
Fayyaz learned the basic rules of air pressure and flying techniques with the help of experiments he carried out on his own. He also watched National Geographic’s ‘Air Crash Investigation’ show to learn about why planes crashed and to understand the different parts of an aircraft and their functions.
Fayyaz said: “I saw various models of aircraft and the thought came in my mind that if I cannot afford buying a plane, I must try to build my own.
“I took some pictures of the aircrafts at the museum and then took help from internet and my mechanic friends to design and build this aircraft
The fruits of Fayyaz’s labour have now been appreciated by the Civil Aviation Authority which has also extended all the help and efforts to promote and support his innovation.
In a statement, the CAA said they ‘appreciated the passion and skills of the mini airplane maker’ and would provide him the required guidance to achieve more expertise in the field.
The body said under the country’s New Aviation Policy 2019, developed in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, every effort will be taken to promote the sector and support innovation.
“My family had opposed me due to the risks involved and anticipating the failure of my invention, but I told them that they have to have faith and believe my hard work will pay off
“But unfortunately, when I tried to make the solo flight, I was arrested by the police
“They also took my plane into custody for a week, and I had to pay a fine of £17 to release it
“I am very happy that now I will get technical support from Civil Aviation Authorities and I will be able to fulfil my childhood dream of flying an aeroplane.
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