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From engineer to pilot: One man's dream of flying

By Zhan Qianhui | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-14 17:12

Li Xianghong's self-built plane. [Photo from Li Xianghong's Sina Weibo account]

On the day of his first flight, Li didn't invite any of his relatives and friends for the sake of worrying them. Before getting aboard, for one moment he thought he may not be successful. Things turned out smoothly and Li made a safe landing after flying for 45 minutes.

The maiden flight was such a success and gave Li the courage to pursue a more ambitious plan—an international flight from Seattle to Canada.

Different from his low-key and cautious first flight, Li brought his wife with him for the Seattle-Canada journey. Comforting his wife who was intimidated by turbulence turned out to be a challenging part of the flight.

After they made it to Canada, Li set his sights on more remote destinations and planned to build a larger plane with 4 seats to meet the demands of long-haul flights, according to his father, who praised his son's abilities and stability while flying.

The hardest part of building a plane, Li said, is not about technology or money. The only thing that matters is persistence. Li believed that his success was largely attributed to his character of never giving up even when things got hard.

Referring to the trend of self-built planes, Li said it's worth encouragement but the process should be carried out in accordance with production standards.

"Flying is a serious thing and building an aircraft should be based on relevant theory and knowledge. It's not on the spur of the moment," he said.


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