A man who was arrested by police in Pakistan for testing a homemade “flying machine” in front of a crowd of 500 without the approval of aviation authorities has asked to have the confiscated aircraft returned to him.
Muhammad Fayaz, a popcorn seller and part-time security guard, said he was inspired to make the aeroplane after watching the National Geographic series Air Crash Investigation, and had sold a field, used his savings and taken out a bank loan to pay for it.
The 92kg craft cost him a total of Rs50,000 (£270) to make and he claims it can fly to 1,000 feet.
Mr Fayaz told reporters he had been told to contact Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to gain permission for his test flight, but he did not do so.
“Owing to my limited resources, I was unable to contact the civil aviation officials and finally decided to take test flights without getting permission,” he told Pakistan’s Dawn.com.
In a conflicting report, he apparently told journalists he had in fact told the CAA about his plans, but had not received a response.
“I made the aircraft with my hard work. My plane can fly till 1,000 feet. Give me one chance so that I can prove that I am a patriotic Pakistani. I informed every department but no one responded me,” Mr Fayyaz said, according to Pakistan Today.
With a crowd of 500 watching, he reportedly used a length of road free from telegraph poles as the runway for his maiden flight and “took several rounds in the air”.
Mr Fayaz was then reportedly arrested for building an aircraft without a permit and “performing aerobatics in the makeshift flying machine”, the “first incidence report” filed by local police said.
A police officer at the station where Mr Fayaz was held after the incident told Dawn.com Mr Fayaz had only been taken into protective custody and the “unreliable machine impounded to ensure it did not cause any harm to villagers who had gathered to witness the experiment.”
Speaking after his release from the station on Tuesday, Mr Fayaz explained to Dawn.com he had decided to make his own plane around four years ago, and began building it a year and a half ago.
He said he had visited Lahore several times in order to “have a glimpse of a Boeing plane and examine how it looks like and what material and parts have been used”.
He added: “A programme, namely Air Crash Investigation on the National Geographic also helped me a lot in this direction and I became familiar with the parts of an airplane and their functioning, and started working on my project.”
His friends and family reportedly made fun of him and his mother expressed her concern about the test flight, but this apparently did not deter him.
He experimented with secondhand engines until he found one light enough, powerful enough and cheap enough to use for the plane.
Since his release, he has asked that the prime minister and army chief give him an opportunity to serve the nation, as “I can make the planes for the country at a low cost.”
He also asked the government to help him get his plane back.
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