Meet Saji Thomas Who Built A Low Cost Aircraft By Himself Despite Being Deaf And Mute

Everybody has grown up hearing this old adage – Where there’s a will, there’s a way. But there are some people who actually apply this into their lives. And one of them is Saji Thomas.

Saji Thomas, a deaf-mute man hailing from Idukki district in Kerala, built an aircraft all by himself for Rs 14 Lakh (almost half the market price).

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That’s right! He built his twin seater ultra-light aircraft which is called Saji X Air-S, by using recycled materials and other parts of vehicles.

Here’s the whole story who he consummated his dream:

Early years:

Saji was called stupid because he was deaf and mute.

When he was 5 years old, he used to make small models of car, airplane and bus out of cardboard.

He has pursued schooling till 7th standard. Because of the financial constraints in the family, he couldn’t pursue further education. His innovative mind always nudged him to make ‘new’ things out of recycled and junk materials.

 

The unfettered love for airplanes:

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His biggest fascination was seeing planes flying in the sky.

During his teens, he had witnessed an ultra-light helicopter which was spraying pesticides on rubber plantations. Such was his enchantment that he went ahead to interact with the pilots.

Noticing his enthusiasm, the pilot offered him a ride. This led him to his early vision – He wanted to build his own airplane!

Keeping that in mind, he took their Mumbai address and left his home and stayed with pilots for 2 weeks where he was given a lot of books to read and a list of aviation companies.

 

Giving ‘wings’ to the innovative idea:

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The journey was slow and laborious accompanied by the dearth of finances. But that never deterred him or his dreams. Because he wanted to make a low-cost airplane, he used recycled materials and cheaper alternatives.

For example,

Propellers – Locally sourced mahogany instead of metal

Shock absorbers – from scooters ( He worked as a repairman in local shops)

Layers of polish gave the wooden blades greater speed.

Aluminum pipes and metal sheets were used.

His wife told that he put a lot of efforts to make each and every part. He traveled a lot to clear his doubts from people who could help him with the technical aspects.

Also, during this time, he repaired televisions in a shop and took up photography assignments for various wedding events.

 

…and the perseverance paid off

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There was no place in his village where he could test his flight. In Manimuthar, a remote area in Tirunelveli district, his dreams came true where he got to test-flight.

In 2014, Retired Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force, SKJ Nair became his mentor, he gave him an opportunity to test-fly it.

This is what he said,

”It is a great achievement to build an aircraft despite Saji’s constraints and physical disability. I have flown several models of X-Air aircraft, but I find Saji’s aircraft is a better version of the existing X-air models in the market. He has made innovative changes like building a propeller with wood instead of using expensive fibre glass.”

To know more about his airplane, you can watch this video

 

Recognitions:

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1. He was featured in Indian Book of Records, a site which recognizes Indian talent from every sphere.

2. He got featured on Discovery Channel in a program called HRX Superheroes, anchored by Hrithik Roshan.

 

So, what’s the scenario now?

He’s now looking for his aircraft to get licensed and wants to work in an aircraft firm where he can hone his skills. But till now, there has been no such development. Until then, he will continue his ‘resourceful’ experiments.

He’s also waiting for approval of his airplane by Civil Aviation.

Isn’t this laudable? This just goes on to prove that your background and challenges have no say when it comes to fulfilling your dreams given that your willpower is strong.

I hope that he gets a job to support himself and his family. Take a bow, Sir!

News Source: Bussiness Standard, Rediff and Saji-Xair

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