By Taniya Dutta
A Pakistani popcorn has spent £480 building his own single-seater PLANE using internet tutorials and TV to fulfil his dream of becoming a pilot – but hasn’t flown it yet.
Muhammad Fayyaz, 32, from Punjab province, spent a year working on the aircraft during the weekends and spent £480, a huge sum for him, by moonlighting as a security guard, taking a bank loan and selling off a piece of his land.
The wannabe pilot now has permission from Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority to fly his homemade plane after the police stopped him from performing an unauthorised take-off earlier this month.
He developed the design for the plane using internet tutorials, his own experiments at home and by watching National Geographic’s ‘Air Crash Investigation’ and is eager to fly the aircraft soon – despite opposition from his worried family.
Married dad-of-four Fayyaz, who has no professional pilot training, said: “It feels great my childhood dream has come true.
“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.”
Fayyaz had always dreamt of flying a plane since he was a child and would stare at the sky whenever any aircraft passed.
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.
After a brief visit to an aircraft museum three years ago, he came up with the idea of building his own plane and began constructing it at home a year ago without any technical help from anyone.
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.
“Initially people, even my own friends and family used to make fun of me, my dream but once the model was ready, they started taking my passion seriously.”
While Fayaz was successful in building the single-seater plane, his dream to fly it is yet to be fulfilled as he hasn’t been given permission by police and security agencies.
The cops confiscated his aircraft earlier this month stopping him from taking off using a metal link road as a makeshift runway near his village.
But 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.
Fayaz said: “I wanted to take off for my plane’s first flight on April 1.
“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.
“There are no words to express my happiness.
“I ask my countrymen and my friends, family to pray for me so I can get in the air as soon as possible.”