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This deaf and mute Keralite built aircraft!

This deaf and mute Keralite built aircraft!
Highlights

After five years of painstaking efforts, Saji Thomas has built a small aircraft - all on his own - but now this 45-year-old from Kerala, who is speech and hearing challenged, yearns for a full-time job.

Saji, seventh class dropout, now wants fulltime job

Thiruvananthapuram: After five years of painstaking efforts, Saji Thomas has built a small aircraft - all on his own - but now this 45-year-old from Kerala, who is speech and hearing challenged, yearns for a full-time job.

His wife Maria said that they have been married for 14 years and since then, all that she saw was her husband busy tinkering with small motors and machines she didn't have a clue about.

"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 said.

Saji has studied only till class 7 and has always been hooked on to electrical gadgets and their repairs. "The first thing he built 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 his interest shifted to building an aircraft and after five years of hard work, he fitted the small aircraft with the engine of a two-wheeler.

Later it was given to a college nearby and they still use it to teach their students," the proud wife said.
She said he then began work on this now successful two-seater and sourced all the materials from Bangalore."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," added Maria.
Today the couple, who has a 13-year-old son Joshua, is still hoping for the government support. "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.
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