The attempt of a Chinese farmer to fly his homemade helicopter, which he built following online instructions, was stopped short when authorities discovered him with the flying machine on the side of a road.
Chen Ruihua, a peasant with no aeronautical or engineering training, wanted to ‘test-fly’ the engine, but the police officers were concerned.
When quizzed by police in Jiangsu province, eastern China, after they found him trying to test-fly one in a local field, he claims to have built three homemade helicopters.
“There were only two people including me who were involved in the test flying, and we did not allow any bystanders,” Chen, 59, told the police in response to their safety concerns.
He says the helicopter he was testing is the third version he has made after the previous two models failed.
“I worked on this helicopter for about a year; so far I’ve spent about 200,000 yuan (US$31,250) on the hobby,” Chen said.
The present helicopter, he added, is a duplicate of a Russian rotorcraft model built with motorboat engines and parts purchased online and from hardware stores.
According to Chen, the aircraft can fly hundreds of metres and features a folding fuselage.
Chen is a member of a WeChat community for home-built aircraft enthusiasts, and he routinely exchanges technology and accessories with other members around the country.
“It may be converted into a drone and utilised as an agricultural machine to spray pesticides on farmlands, or used to assist in firefighting.
The homemade helicopter certainly lacked the safety features of a typical chopper, by just looking at its picture.