A Cambodian man has achieved his life-long ambition of building a plane after watching YouTube videos, reports the BBC.
Car mechanic Paen Long started building his aircraft in secret last year, fulfilling his childhood dream of owning a jet. “I was afraid that people would make fun of me, so sometimes I worked at night,” he tells the BBC.
Long yearned to fly ever since he saw a helicopter at six years old. “I always dreamt about aircraft every night,” he says. “I always wanted to have my own plane.”
He trained as a mechanic in Svay Rieng, but it was a long time before he put his ambitions of flying into practise.
Aged 30, Long finally decided to attempt to build his own plane, using money he’d saved from running his own garage in Prey Veng. He was inspired, having spent three years watching YouTube videos about aircraft – from take-offs and landings to flight simulations and virtual plane factory tours.
It took him a year to build his masterpiece, using mostly recycled materials. Based on a WWII-era Japanese plane, Long’s aircraft had a 5.5m-wing span and featured a plastic chair with the legs sawn off for the seat, plus a car dashboard as the craft’s control panel.
The plane’s virgin voyage came on 8 March at 3pm. Local villagers turned up in their hundreds to watch him attempt to get airborne.