An interesting story that appeared in the Guardian newspaper tells how a 25 year old Afghan aviation enthusiast successfully built and flew a flexwing trike based on information he had gleaned from the internet.
Readers may recall having seen You Tube video of Kenyan homebuilder Gabriel Nderitu’s almost Flintstones like attempt at building a light aircraft, which sadly never flew, but Sabir Shah’s attempts were certainly far more successful.
Shah’s trike unit appears to have a quite conventional look with a fiberglass nose fairing that he fabricated from plaster molds. Other parts are scrounged from a rickshaw and a Toyota Yaris.
According to The Guardian, the wing is constructed of steel tubes and Shah had to recover it twice before he got the aerofoil right. Five prototypes wood propellers were constructed and tested by using an electric motor from a roadside juicing machine attached to a toy car to measure its ability to create thrust.
With no flight training experience test flying the aircraft was always going to be fraught with danger and sadly after four attempts the almost inevitable loss of control occurred and the aircraft was substantially damaged, fortunately with no harm coming to Shar. However he had by then flown the craft about 50 meters at a height of approx 30ft.
Shah spent about £5000 building the aircraft, money provided by relatives in Australia, and claims it’s the first homebuilt aircraft in Afghanistan’s history. He told the newspaper that the government should train him to fly or send him abroad for training, "otherwise it is much too dangerous."