TABUR, PAKISTAN: The motor is from a road cutter, the wings are burlap, the tires are borrowed from a rickshaw: a popcorn vendor has captured the focus of the Pakistan Air Force by building their own airplane. The tale of Muhammad Fayyaz has caught the hearts of numerous in a country where large numbers, just like him, have minimal access to education and learning and are combating for chances.
“I was literally in the air. I couldn’t experience anything else,” Fayyaz declared of his 1st flight in a motor he learned to build generally from seeing Television clips and online blueprints. Pakistan has been thrilled before by stories of technological prodigies plucked from obscurity before — notably, that of the industrial engineer who declared in 2012 that he had invented the car that could run on water — a story that was later on debunked by researchers.
The engine is from a road cutter, the wings are burlap, the wheels are borrowed from a rickshaw. But Fayyaz insists he flew and his claim is being taken critically by the air force, whose representatives have now seen him several times, even issuing a document to commend his work, he revealed.
There has been a steady stream of visitors wanting to view his development, which now sits in the empty courtyard of his three-room house in the village of Tabur in central Punjab province.
The 32-year-old declared he had imagined signing up for the air force as a kid, but his father died while he was in still in school, forcing him to drop out at the eighth grade and do odd work to feed his mother and his 5 younger siblings. As an adult, his passion for flying remained undiminished, so he took a wild gamble on a brand new wish and put everything he had into developing his own craft. By day he worked as a popcorn vendor, by night as a safety guard, saving every rupee he could.
The very first thing he had to acquire was data — beginning with watching episodes of the National Geographic Channel’s Air Crash Research for insight into thrust, air pressure, torque, propulsion. Cheap internet access in a close city helped fill the gaps, with Fayyaz claiming he spliced blueprints of airplanes he found online for his own development. He sold a piece of family land and took out an Rs. 50,000 ( $350 ) bank loan from a micro-finance NGO, which he is still paying off. He used his meager funds creatively, buying burlap sacks wholesale and persuading a kind workshop employee who had seen him scouting for components to develop him a propeller.
There was learning from mistakes. Some tools need to be modified, models had to be altered, the wiring had to be reworked. His family worried he was obsessed. “I kept telling him to quit. I kept telling him to concentrate on his family and work, he was being crazy over nothing. But he didn’t listen to just one expression,” his mom, Mumtaz Bibi, recalled. But Fayyaz kept going. And, at the end of it all produced a plane fragile, and painted a bright blue.
AFP has been unable to verify the claim. But the attempt made Fayyaz bold enough to want to try again in front of the rest of his small town, lots of whom had mocked his hard work. He picked March 23, Pakistan Day, for the unveiling. Police declared 100s of people crowded around his tiny plane, many clutching country flags. But before Fayyaz could even start the motor, the police arrived and arrested him, confiscating his plane.
“I felt as though I had committed 1 of the most awful acts in the world, as though I am the worst person in Pakistan,” he explained, adding: “I had been locked up with criminals.” The court launched him with an Rs. 3,000 fine. When AFP visited the nearby police station, officers declared they had arrested Fayyaz as his airplane was a safety threat. Officer Zafar Iqbal discussed: “The plane came back to him as a goodwill gesture. Should he obtain a flying license or permit, he is free to fly.” Fayyaz’s misfortune resulted in social media fame, and he was called a “hero” and an “inspiration” by certain netizens.