until he moved to an airport in the UK more than a decade ago. Mechanical engineer Ashok Aliseril Thamakshan seriously considered learning to fly.
He got his first taste of flying a few years later when his wife Abhilasha bought him a 30-minute flying experience for his birthday. This man built a plane for his family in his garden.
Aliseril, based in the British county of Essex, booked flight lessons at a local airport and flew to the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England, during his first session.
“That was an eye-opener of what it was like. [flying] giving you the freedom to go places If you have that ability and have access to planes,” he told CNN Travel, “that really hooks me.”
Aliseril received a private pilot’s license in 2019 and soon began hiring planes for short-haul flights.
Engineer Ashok Aliseril with his daughter Diya spent 18 months building the four-seater plane during the pandemic.
Sincerely, Ashok Tamarakshan.
But when his family grew up He and Apilasha already have two daughters. Two-seater planes that are normally for private chartering are not very suitable. And he began to contemplate buying his own plane.
Aliseril considers buying older planes briefly and consider some aircraft built in the 1960s and 1970s.
However, he said he was unfamiliar about the opportunity to fly his family on an old plane he was unfamiliar with. and didn’t think it would be “Convenient travel”
Aliseril began to look into the possibility of building his own aircraft. He argued that this would help him understand the plane better. to make it easier to maintain in the long run
After researching the self-assembly of the aircraft assembly He found a four-seater plane made by Sling Aircraft in South Africa that ticked all the boxes.
“This is a pre-COVID period. It was also very convenient at that time,” he explains. “I ordered the first set when I returned. and when the time comes The UK is completely locked up.”
Aliseril said his colleague which some people have experience in building aircraft Offered to help build the plane initially. But the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which is spreading all over the world at this point means this is impossible.
Assemble the house
Aliseril’s home improvement experience was helpful while building the four-seater Sling TSi plane.
Sincerely, Ashok Tamarakshan
Aircraft built by amateurs in the UK are inspected by the CAA, which issues a “license to fly” when satisfied that the plane can fly.
Although the start of the build was slightly delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions in the UK at the time – the Light Aircraft Authority inspector assigned to the project needed to visit his workspace in advance – Aliseril could. can start in April 2020
Although he noted that his engineering background helped in some ways. But he believes that his home improvement experience is actually the most useful while building the plane. which is 7.175 meters long and 2.45 meters high
“These aircraft kits are designed for all hobbyists to build. If you have experience working with specialized tools,” he adds. by explaining in detail “Guide to Ikea furniture types” with drawings that come with the kit.
“In general Anyone can participate in this kind of production.”
He built a shed in his garden to complete the construction.
Sincerely, Ashok Tamarakshan
Aliseril completed the work on his own, sketching in Abhilasha to help with parts requiring more than one pair of hands, their eldest daughter, Diya. who is now seven years old ready to perform tasks such as removing plastic from individual components.
By the end of summer 2020, Aliseril has created a tail and wings. He began building the fuselage in October. When the next part of the kit arrives.
Although he initially planned to hire a factory to build the planes, Aliseril felt that building a workspace at home was a better option.
“I was able to step into the shed and do it,” he said, “so having everything in the backyard would help a lot. even though the space is cramped.”
Each stage of the project must be signed by an auditor before he can proceed – the light aviation agency has completed approximately 12 audits in total.
When most of the components are built And it was time to put the planes together. Aliseril moved everything from his home to a hangar near Cambridge for final assembly and assembly of the engines. The plane passed a final inspection a few months later.
It was one of the first Sling TSi custom-built aircraft in the UK, the G-Diya, named after his eldest daughter. It signed its first flight in January 2022.
Aliseril recalls waiting anxiously on the ground when the test pilot took the plane he had spent 18 months into the air.
The plane, with an operating range of 1,389 kilometers, was allowed to fly back in May.
Sincerely, Ashok Tamarakshan
“He took about 20 minutes and he came back,” he said. “So relieved. I couldn’t look up to see what was going on. [during the test flight]”
The first flight was very important in many ways.
“With these build projects Everyone called it a project until the first flight,” he explains. “When it flew, it was usually called an airplane. You never call it a project anymore. That’s a huge step forward in psychology.”
When it came time to fly the plane for the first time on his own, Aliseril was accompanied by another experienced test pilot.
As he admits to being extremely cautious the test pilot “Fly the plane like a race car”
“I was very nervous. I don’t want to be more stressed,” Aliseril explains, “but he [the test pilot] It’s really pushing it to the limit and it’s nice to experience that. I know it. [the aircraft] can handle this
“When I landed, he [the test pilot] Clap your hands and say, ‘Congratulations, you just got off the plane you built.’ That’s a good feeling.”
The G-Diya, which has a range of 1,389 kilometers, has undergone several test flights before being allowed to fly in May 2022.
The next weekend, Aliseril flew with his wife and daughters Diya and four-year-old Tara to the Isle of Wight, where they were a short taxi ride from the airport to the beach.
“The children are very happy,” he said. “That freedom. And that we can only do it on Saturday and still be back by 4pm, that’s a great feeling.”
In June 2022, he traveled for a week across Northern Europe with fellow pilots. and flew to the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.
As Aliseril emphasizes, he is still a relatively new pilot. He currently has about 125 hours of flight time, his confidence increasing with every flight. And he is working to fly to Europe with his family.
“That’s the future plan,” he said. “We can go on a trip to the UK on weekends when the weather is good. and on summer vacation We can book a week and fly to Europe.”
For Aliseril, one of the main advantages of this aircraft In addition to the freedom that the plane gave him and his family. It’s the friendship he has built with other pilots.
He was always aware that owning an aircraft could become a financial burden. But this can be solved by providing an agreement to share with three other people.
“To obtain your personal license It costs quite a lot,” he added. Before noticing that many people who previously worked on similar projects may retire. or is the person “Have time and financial status” to fund the process .
“I knew from the beginning. and thought I would take a risk and try it myself,” he said. I would be able to easily find someone to share that expense. And it went quite well. [for me]”
The planes are now divided equally. between four people “We only charge the same price as an SUV,” Aliseril added.
“It saves more fuel in the air. It takes only 20 liters of unleaded fuel per hour to fly,” he said, “so the fuel costs are pretty much the same as driving.”
There is currently no hangar space at the airport near his home, so Aliseril is building a new hangar for planes. which is still located near the city of Cambridge at Essex Airport
for the cost of building The kit costs around £80,000 (about $91,000), according to Aliseril, while additional costs, including avionics, as well as the Rotax engines, propellers and other aircraft gear, bring the total to around £180,000. about $203,000)
He hopes more young people will do projects like this in the future. and pointed out the ownership of the aircraft together to make things More cost efficient as well as creating connections in the world of aviation
“It has become a public matter,” he said. “You always have someone to fly with if your family is busy. who are friends You learn from each other.”