The story of a speech and hearing challenged man who built his dream aircraft

Inspiration People

45-year-old Saji Thomas from Kerala is a proof anything is possible if one has all the determination to do more. Speech and hearing impaired, Saji Thomas has spent 5 long years to build his dream machine, a small aircraft.

Married for 14 years to Saji Thomas, Maria saw her husband working on small motors and machines. She had no clue what Saji was up to. She tried to stop him from spending time on his time on his dream and urged him to find work as an electrician. But when nothing changed, she decided to help Saji with all her support.

“Initially I tried my best to dissuade him to get work as an electrician, but when I found all my efforts were in vain, I decided to support him in all his endeavours. Today the entire village (near Thodupuzha in Idukki district) is steadfastly behind him as he built a twin-seater ultralight aircraft, which has been filmed by the Discovery Channel.” Maria told NDTV.

The first thing that determined Saji Thomas made was the frame of a helicopter. He got in touch with (former prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi, seeking money to buy an engine for it. It did not materialise because Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated (In May 1991).”

Then Saji’s interest went to building an aircraft that after five years of hard work it got readied as he fitted the engine of a two-wheeler in the aricraft. “Later it was given to a college nearby and they still use it to teach their students,” Saji’s wife told NDTV.

The man who has spent almost 25 lac on his passion and has no full time job, went on working on his small aircraft and took it to a private airline academy in Ambasamudram near Madurai

“After a marathon five years of work, last year in April, it was taken to a private airline academy in Ambasamudram near Madurai. Since this aircraft has no licence nor does Saji have a licence to fly aircraft, he could fly it for a few minutes there. Later the chief instructor, a retired air force officer, also flew it for a few minutes. The aircraft flew only at a height of 20 feet as the rules are very strict,” said Maria

Discovery Channel approached Saji and will be broadcasting his film soon as an inspirational story for the masses.

“We see the present programme of Discovery Channel which has filmed his efforts as an eye-opener and it is expected to be aired soon. Our only wish is my husband gets a stable monthly job as by now he has sold a portion of our land to complete this aircraft. We live in a small two-room home built with the help of the local village council in 2001,” Maria told.

Saji Thomas, his wife, Maria and their 13-year-old son live in a small 2-room house in Thiruvananthapuram and seeking government’s support so Saji could live his dream and get a full time job in his field of work.

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