Deaf and dumb Indian man builds his own two-seater aircraft from junk
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This idioms fits perfectly for 45-year old Saji Thomas who has made a fully-functional airplane from trash and recycled material. And mind you he is completely deaf and dumb from birth! That didn’t stop him from exploring his passion for creating model vehicles in his childhood, although the locals used to call him an idiot. The deep rooted passion carried on over the years and now he has come-up with his most complex creation thus far.
Saji from Thattakuzha village, near Thodupuzha in Idukki district of Kerala has been building his own aircraft for 5 years and now it has finally taken flight. His hometown had no place to fly the plane and he had to take his plane to Manimuthar, a remote area in Tirunelveli district for its maiden test flights. Retd. Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force, SKJ Nair made the arrangements for this test flights and has been a mentor to Saji in turning his dream into reality.
SKJ Nair says that Saji’s aircraft is better than current breed of X-air models in the market and it is not surprising that the plane is called Saji X Air-S. To top it off, the aircraft cost him just 14 lakh to make from material that was salvaged from here and there. For example the shockers come from a scooter while the rotor which is normally made from fiber material is crafted out of wood.
His disability proved to be hurdle many times while designing the aircraft as he had to consult his wife Mariya to check if the engine sounded good. For now Saji wants to get a license to fly this thing officially but sadly the Indian aviation laws won’t permit him the license due to his disability.
That however doesn’t deter him from staying focused on improving the aircraft design and one day have enough funds to commercialize his mechanical and design skills. Unfortunately, due to disability he was not able to complete school and has a hard time supporting his family. For this project too he had to sell-off his land and this shows his determination to turn his dreams into reality. Really commendable it has to be said.