Sunday, July 29, 2012

Southport, North Carolina: Man to fly to Bahamas in homemade airplane (With Video)

SOUTHPORT, N.C.--A Southport man is planning a trip few would have the courage to make. In a plane weighing less than him, Norman Lewis will attempt to fly from North Carolina to the Bahamas. 

While the trip itself will be short, preparing has already been quite the journey.

Lewis said he has always loved flying. In fact, he grew up around planes. "My dad flew me to the Bahamas in his plane when I was in the fifth grade," Lewis said. " ... used to fly over to Wilmington on Saturdays to eat at Taco Bell. One time we flew somewhere to eat at this really nice Chinese restaurant!"

Now, this aviation enthusiast has big dreams for his own little aircraft. For eight months, Norman's been building his own ultra light, a small plane that you do not need a pilot's license to fly.

"It will fly like a regular aircraft ... Three axis control," Lewis said. But he emphasized his design is different than any other ultra light. "Most ultra light planes are not configured like an airplane. They've got a weed eater engine on them, got kite-like wings ... Looks like you're flying a lawn chair."

In just a few short months, Norman plans on flying his creation all the way to the Bahamas, where he said there are, "... palm trees and water that looks like a swimming pool with fish in it!"

The journey will only take about seven hours and a few gallons of gas, and while he may appear fearless, his wife Jennie said in the beginning, she was not without reservations. "I was just excited to see it finished," she said. "Then when it started finishing, I got a little nervous. But I'm over that.

So with his family's support, Norman said he is ready to soar. "I can't explain to you what it's going to be like turning final into the Bahamas airport."

Lewis hopes to take off for the Bahamas at the end of October. When he gets back, he plans to explore the idea of turning his passion into a business by building and selling his ultra light designs.

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