A Nigerian with big ideas

Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi, a 24-year-old Nigerian man, has big ideas — and it doesn’t involveHelicopter
transferring millions of dollars to your bank account. The physics student is building helicopters from old car and motorbike parts, taking recycling to new heights.

"It took me eight months to build this one," he said, sweat pouring
from his forehead as he filled the radiator of the banana yellow
four-seater which he now parks in the grounds of his university. [Link]

He parks it at the university? Wow!

Professor: "Mubarak, you’re always here early. Don’t you ever get stuck in traffic?"

Mubarak: "Oh, I come by air."

Professor: "Yeah, right. And I come by sea."

The chopper, which has flown briefly on six occasions, is made from
scrap aluminium that Abdullahi bought with the money he makes from
computer and mobile phone repairs, and a donation from his father, who
teaches at Kano‘s Bayero university.

It is powered by a second-hand 133 horsepower Honda Civic
car engine and kitted out with seats from an old Toyota saloon car. Its
other parts come from the carcass of a Boeing 747 which crashed near
Kano some years ago. [Link]

Mubarak: "Trust me, sir, I have a helicopter."

Professor: "Really? What kind of helicopter is it?"

Mubarak: "Uh … it’s a Honyota 747."

For a four-seater it is a big aircraft, measuring twelve metres (39
feet) long, seven metres high by five wide. It has never attained an
altitude of more than seven feet. [Link]

Professor: "How high does it go? Can it take you as high as the Shebshi Mountains?"

Mubarak: "No, not yet. I’m still trying to get it to go as high as Yao Ming."

He said he learned the rudiments of flying a helicopter from the
Internet and first got the idea of building one from the films he
watches on television. [Link]

He learned how to fly a helicopter from the Internet? All I’ve learned from the Internet is how to enlarge my penis. (Using parts from an old Honda Civic.)

He hoped — and still does hope — that the Nigerian government and his
wealthy compatriots would turn to him and stop placing orders with
western manufacturers.

So far, however, government response to his chopper project has been underwhelming to say the least.

Although some government officials got very excited when they saw him
conduct a demonstration flight in neighbouring Katsina state, Nigeria‘s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has so far shown no interest in his aircraft.

"No one from the NCAA has come to see what I’ve done. We don’t reward talent in this country," he lamented. [Link]

They’d better start rewarding talented people like him. Otherwise he’ll soon be working for a western company, selling helicopters to everyone in the world.

Professor: "Congratulations on your success, Mubarak. You’ve made us very happy."

Mubarak: "Thank you, sir. I’ve made Yao Ming’s wife happy too."

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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