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UNIQUE STORY: Indian engineer from London built 4 seater plane; traveled many countries!

by Rishika Choudhury

Read Time: 2 minute

During the lockdown due to Covid-19, when most people were locked in their homes and trying their hobbies, Ashok Thamarakshan was busy with something very special. Ashok, originally from Kerala and currently living in Britain, is an automobile engineer and has built an airplane himself during the lockdown.

It is a four seater aircraft on which Ashok has flown various countries. Ashok, the son of RSP leader and former MLA AV Thamarakshan, went to the UK in 2006 as an employee of Ford after completing his mechanical engineering from NSS Engineering College, Palakkad.

Pilot license obtained in UK

Ashok told that when he went to the UK, he fell in love with buying an aircraft. He also took a pilot's license and started searching for the airplane, but only then he came to know that it would cost around 5 to 6 crore rupees. After this, he decided to build the plane himself.

Ashok says that many people in Britain and other countries are making small airplanes. Here its parts are easily available. He bought his airplane parts from South Africa, engines from Austria and avionics equipment from America. He built a workshop near his house and started work in April 2020.

Built aircraft in lockdown

This work of Ashok was monitored by the UK Aviation Authority. Ashok told that the company had stopped operations due to the lockdown in the UK which helped him focus on his project. Initially, they decided to make a two-seater plane. However, for the family trip with his wife and two children, Ashok needed a four-seater plane. That's why he made a 4-seater plane.

According to Ashok, his work was supervised by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and every phase of construction was inspected. Ashok conducted flight tests on the aircraft for three consecutive months and it was finally ready for flight in February.

1.8 crores spent in making

Ashok spent around Rs 1.8 crore and 1,500 hours to build the aircraft. The aircraft weighs 520 kg and has a carrying capacity of 950 kg, carrying four passengers. It can cover a distance of 250 km in an hour. 

Ashok named the aircraft as G-Diya (G is the country code) after his daughter Diya.

After getting permission to fly, Ashok and his two friends visited France, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. So far, the aircraft has recorded 86 hours of flight. Ashok says that he will make more trips after returning to the UK by next month.

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