The maker of the cumbersome-looking “airplane” has completed construction of his aircraft and Kareb Soini is undeterred by an expert who warned that his aircraft is a disaster waiting to happen.
On Friday Soini showcased his contraption to members of the public at Outapi, who had to pay to catch a glimpse of the “aircraft.”
Friday’s demonstration went ahead, despite a local pilot warning that should the “aircraft” miraculously take off, it would immediately fall like a rock, because it does not have the avionics, while its design does not meet basic requirements for an aircraft to take off and land safely.
Last month, New Era reported about a metal aircraft made by Soini from Outapi in the Omusati Region, who has never flown in his life, but he would want to join air travellers and the jetsetters who travel frequently by air for business or sheer leisure.
On Friday he planned to take his aircraft to the carwash, but later changed his mind, saying he wanted people to pay for viewing his invention that has yet to go on a test-flight. Soini instead opted to drive his aircraft around to show this reporter that his plane is complete and at least has ground mobility. However, he confirmed that his aircraft cannot fly, as the engine is too heavy and unsuitable for flying.
The engine in his model was salvaged from a Toyota Corolla and he is now using his homemade “plane” as a car. The craft was driven from the shack, where it was assembled, to an open area where locals jostled to have a look after parting with a few cents.
The so-called plane attracted some prominent people, including Omusati Regional Police Commander Simeon Shindinge, Oshikuku Regional Councillor Modestus Amutse and Outapi Regional Councillor Taatati Shileka, who contributed N$100 each to the venture. They commended Soini on a job well-done, saying they need more Soinis in society.
A pilot, who requested anonimity, said all aircraft in the world are either made of aluminium, monocoque, semi-monocoque plastic or nylon. He said weight plays a major role in an aircraft’s performance.
“Not the whole body is made of plastics/monocoque though. Also, note that every aircraft has a specific weight limit for both take-off and landing.
“Now, if the brother is just putting items together without weighing them, that aircraft will hardly get airborne, and if it does, it will fall out of the sky like a rock,” said the pilot.
“Soini needs to consider the weight of his “aircraft”, he said. He further said, by comparing the contraption made by Soini with standard aircraft, that the head and tail, as well as the whole body of his craft are relatively equal in width, whereas he needed to have at least a pointed and small head, compared to the rear of the craft.
“Imagine him using different heavy metals to assemble this and using diesel or petrol will again add more weight to that aircraft. Since he will use a car engine, of course he has to use petrol or diesel, and the engine will surely fire since it’s the right fuel, hence [it is necessary to consider] the weight and flammability of that fuel,” he explained.
The young pilot, who is willing to help the young inventor financially, said there are only two types of aircraft fuel that he knows of, namely aviation gasoline (Avgas) and jet fuel, that are meant for specific engines, and are less dense and have less weight, compared to petrol or diesel used in cars.
All aircraft must also have documentary clearance certificates issued by the Directorate of Civil aviation of Namibia. He said Soini’s aircraft would not be safe to fly and hence would be illegal.
He said if Soini does not have the necessary clearance, he should not attempt any take off and needs to remember that flying is not like driving.
The pilot warned that it does not mean that if one is an engineer he can also fly, because one needs to learn the dynamics and principles of aviation.
“I’ve managed to put dozens of young Namibians into the aviation industry, both pilots and engineers, and I still feel it is my obligation to assist this young man to pursue his career, but I will take a different approach to this.
“Since he does not have Grade 12, which most sponsors will request, I will try to raise funds for him to go study, instead of raising funds for him to buy materials,” the pilot said. He said he would contribute least N$1000 and would like to send him to Johannesburg for training.
The pilot promised to introduce Sioni to real aircraft and fly him if he wishes to.
He urged other Namibians to put more effort into raising funds for Sioni to go to school, instead of raising funds to buy materials for constructing something he does not have much technical knowledge of.