Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The remarkable ramshackle aircraft made by Africa’s DIY aviators

Published on 27 Jun. 2013 12:34 AM IST 

Most of us are happy to try a spot of DIY but there aren’t many who would take on the challenge of building their own aircraft.

These unusual looking planes are the creations of amateur engineers in Africa who have made their own jets - often just using scarp metal, a book guide and a lot of improvisation.

Despite their lack of material, training and money, these determined aviation-enthusiasts have managed to build their own machines.

Gabriel Nderitu’s aircraft, which he built in his front yard in Kenya, is powered by an engine which was once used to mill animal feed.

He sourced aluminum bars, bolts and plastic sheeting to make the frame - sticking it all together with some gum.

While Somaliland trio Mohamed Abdi Barkadle, Saed Abdi Jide and Abdi Farah Lidan, built a helicopter from an old van engine and scrap metal with no financial support in 2010.

They’d hoped to use the plane to fight fires but it is unclear whether their machine ever made it off the ground.

Farmhand Onesmus Mwangi managed to build a 25-kilogramme helicopter from scrap material he salvaged from around his village in Magomano.

According to the BBC, the 20-year-old dropped out of school at the age of 12 and has no training in aviation.

But, incredibly, Mwangi has managed to build a plane in just seven months, working around his full-time farming job.

It is not known whether it can actually fly - but Mwangi says he has managed to get it a full feet off the ground.


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