A photo of Li Xianghong and his home-made airplane
A Chinese-American is making headlines in the U.S. after successfully building his own two-seat airplane in his garage, then flying it from the U.S. to Canada, reports the Southern Metropolis Daily.
At a cost of some 90,000 U.S. dollars, Li Xianghong spent just over 3 years developing the "RV-7," which has already clocked some 300 in-flight hours.
A graduate of the Department of Applied Mechanics from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Li Xianghong got his masters and doctorate at Yale University in the U.S.
Li ended up taking a job at a consulting firm in the U.S.
However, he says his dream of flying never left him.
While he was able to obtain his pilot's license this year, the high cost of flying in the U.S. prevented him from keeping up his flying hours, which is mandatory to maintain a pilot's 'wings.'
So using his mechanical engineering knowledge from his undergrad degree, Li Xianghong decided to create his own small plane.
"Building an aircraft requires a lot of detailed drafting. Each plane has its own unique features. It requires the designer to use his own intuition to figure out the positions of the wings and propellers," Li Xianghong told Southern Metropolis Daily.
"When you're making an airplane, the first step is to determine what you need for the airframe, which is not very difficult, as lots of open components can be found on the open market. Secondly, you need to install an instrument panel and electronic equipment. The last step is to set the engine, oil lines, fuel lines and other mechanical requirements," said Li.
After gaining certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Li Xianghong was able to fly his airplane from the U.S. into neighboring Canada.
He now says he plans to build his own four-seater, which he hopes will be able to make a flight from the U.S. to China.