A UK-based Keralite made a 4-seater plane for himself and his family during COVID, and is now flying all around Europe with his family two years later. The man in question, who made some fascinating use of the lockdowns imposed due to COVID-19 was identified as Ashok Thamarakshan.
While many of us were streaming films and shows on OTT platforms, or doom-scrolling on Instagram, Ashok went on to make his own plane, which took him around 1,500 hours (62 days), and costed him Rs. Rs 1.4 crores.
Ashok spoke to The Sun, popular English media outlet, and said that that having his own plane is like “having a new toy, except much more exciting”. In his interview, he mentioned that he started saving up during the first lockdown as he and his family always wanted to have a plane of their own.
For his project, he bought parts of the plane from South Africa, engine from Austria, and other equipment’s from US. He also set up a workshop near his home and started with the project in April 2020. Moreover, the UK aviation authority also monitored his work.
The aircraft is named G-Diya (after his daughter’s name Diya), and has been flown to France, Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic.
The Facts of the Matter
While many of us made Dalgona coffee, or indulged in a new hobby and made some progress with it during the COVID-19 induced lockdowns, a Keralite based in UK set up a workshop for himself and ended up making a four-seater plane for him and his family.
Meet Ashok Thamarakshan
Ashok Thamarakshan, son of RSP leader and former MLA A V Thamarashan, had always been fascinated with airplane, and took his fascination to the next level.
Making the most out of the COVID-19 induced lockdown, he set up a workshop near his residence in Essex, UK, and started putting hours into creating a four-seater plane he later named G-Diya (after his daughter’s name Diya).
Getting Pilot’s License, Searching for Plane
A New Indian Express report quoted Ashok saying, “After I reached the UK and got settled there, I became passionate about buying an aircraft. I got a pilot license and started searching for airplanes. That was when I realied it would cost me around Rs 5 to 6 crore.”
This was when he had an idea of building his own plane. Taking inspiration from other people in UK who have built smaller airplanes, Ashok started looking more into his idea. What germinated as an idea, later came into reality due to the COVID-19 induced lockdowns.
Adversity into Opportunity
As Ashok worked at Ford, the company had suspended its operations due to the pandemic, which helped him to shift his focus to his dream. He purchased parts of his plane from South Africa, Austria and US, and started working on the project in April 2020.
Aviation Authority Kept Eyes on Ashok
It should be noted that the UK Civil Aviation Authority was also keeping an eye on Ashok, and it was only after the approval of the aviation body that Ashok could make progress in his work. The aviation body also conducted special flying tests for three months, and finally in February 2022, gave its nod of approval.
2 Years Later
The plane was made at a cost of Rs 1.4 crores and has a carrying capacity of 950 kg. Made for only four passengers, the plane can fly up to 250 km/hour. After getting the approval, he has taken the plane out to France, Germany, Austria and Czech Republic and the plane has already clocked in 86 hours of flight.