An Indian engineer in the UK, stuck at home during the Covid-19 lockdowns, built a plane in his backyard.
Mr Ashok Thamarakshan said he built the four-seater Sling TSI almost entirely by himself, using a kit from the South African company.
It reportedly cost him about 140,000 euros, less than S$200,000, not much more than the price of most cars sold in Singapore now, and about the same as the price of the Tesla Model Y featured in The Straits Times on Saturday (Aug 5).
When the project got too big for his house, he moved it to a hangar.
The plane was finished late last year, certified this year, and in use by May, when Mr Thamarakshan, his wife and their two daughters left to fly around Europe, Indian media reports said.
Mr Thamarakshan, an automotive engineer by training, works for Ford.
He went to the UK as a student in 2006, from Alappuzha in the Indian state of Kerala, where his father has been a politician and legislator.
In the UK, Mr Thamarakshan learnt to fly, got a pilot’s licence in 2019, and initially used to hire a two-seater plane. But he needed something bigger to take his family with him.
It was not easy to find a suitable aircraft, and hiring was often too expensive. So he decided to get the kit and build it himself.
The money he spent on it would not be enough to buy a hybrid RAV4, one of top car maker Toyota’s most popular models, in Singapore. The SUV’s price tag on the company’s website here is around $210,000.
But Mr Thamarakshan bought his Sling TSI kit more than two years ago, and the price now may be closer to that of some luxury cars in Singapore.
Still, that’s how cheap a private plane can be, or if you look at it another way, how expensive a car in Singapore can be.