Pandemic and lockdown are probably some of the words we don’t want to hear anymore. For most of us, the lockdowns were boring because we couldn’t go out and meet our loved ones. Not everyone had a boring lockdown. Indian based in UK Ashok Aliseril Thamarakshan used containment in a very unique way. Ashok actually built a 4-seater plane during the lockdown and he traveled to different countries on the plane with his family on board.
Ashok Aliseril Thamarakshan is actually from Kerala and he moved to UK in 2006 with his wife. Ashok, a mechanical engineer by profession, came up with the idea of building an airplane from scratch during lockdown. He also obtained a pilot’s license from the British civil aviation company. He built a temporary workshop in his home in London and began working on the aircraft. He started work in May 2019 and finished it in November 2021.
The reason behind the construction of the plane would surprise you. Like any other metropolitan city, London is also popular for its traffic jams. In fact, it’s one of those towns where there’s always a rush in the road. In order to escape the rush, Ashok decided to build an airplane himself. Now he can travel about 250 km in an hour without worrying about traffic jams.
For the pilot’s license, there were three months of test flights. The first flight took place on February 7, 2022 in London. Ashok flew for 20 minutes and family travel to different countries in their plane started on May 6, 2022. Ashok had always thought about family air travel but renting or renting a plane for this purpose was always an expensive option. After building the plane, Ashok, his wife Abhilasha and their two daughters traveled to many countries in their own aircraft. They visited Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy and France in their 4-seater aircraft. Ashok named the plane after his youngest daughter. It’s called G-Diya, where G stands for the London flights icon.
Even before building his own plane, Ashok rented small two-seater planes for travel after obtaining his pilot’s license. When his family started to grow, flying in a 2-seater plane didn’t make sense and that’s when he started looking for a 4-seater plane. During his research, he came across a Johannesburg-based company named Sling Aircraft. They launched a 4-seater Sling TSI plane in 2018. Ashok visited their factory and quickly placed an order for a kit to build his plane. Thanks to the confinement, Ashok had enough time to build an airplane himself. The estimated cost of building this small 4-seater plane is around Rs 1.8 crore.
Speaking to The Sun, Ashok’s wife Abhilasha said: ‘We started saving money during the first lockdown, and we knew we still wanted to have our plane. We saved a lot of money in the first few months, so we thought we’d give it a shot. Ashok Aliseril Thamarakshan is actually the son of former MLA Prof AV Thamarakshan from Kerala.