A Chinese farmer could not fly a plane, so he built one

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The full-scale replica of the Airbus A320 built by farmer Zhu Yue is now nearly finished. (AFP)
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Farmer Zhu Yue invested his savings of more than 2.6 million yuan ($374,000) into the project that began with a toy model of an Airbus 320. (AFP)
Updated 26 October 2018
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A Chinese farmer could not fly a plane, so he built one

  • The full-scale replica of the Airbus A320 built by farmer Zhu Yue is now nearly finished
  • ‘I hit midlife and realized I couldn’t buy one, but I could build one’

BEIJING: When a Chinese garlic farmer’s dream of flying an airplane didn’t pan out, he decided to build one instead.
The full-scale replica of the Airbus A320 built by farmer Zhu Yue is now nearly finished, permanently taxied on a short piece of tarmac surrounded by wheat fields in northeast China.
Zhu didn’t finish middle school, and started out farming onions and garlic before moving on to welding work in a factory in the small city of Kaiyuan.
Last year he realized he may never be able to fly a plane.
“I hit midlife and realized I couldn’t buy one, but I could build one,” he said.
He has invested his savings of more than 2.6 million yuan ($374,000) into the project that began with a toy model of an Airbus 320 shrunken to one-eightieth its original size.
With that he measured dimensions, studied online photos, and with a heap of mistakes, crafted the fuselage, wings, cockpit, engines and tail. He used 60 tons of steel.
Five fellow aircraft enthusiasts-cum-laborers have helped speed the project along.
“On the one hand they’re earning money, on the other they’re fulfilling dreams, accomplishing things,” Zhu said.
The homemade Airbus will not be flying any time soon. Zhu has decided to turn it into a diner.
The plane’s latest additions are a self-made cockpit outfitted with replica flight instruments and a stair car for getting aboard.
“We will put down a red carpet so every person who comes to eat will feel like a head of state,” Zhu said.
On board the A320’s customary 156 seats have been turned into 36 first class chairs for customers, Zhu said.
He is not yet sure if he will serve hamburgers and French fries or regular Chinese food that the locals may prefer.
Parked not far from the interstate, Zhu is hopeful the plane will soon fill up with hungry passengers.


Snakes in office force Liberia’s president to work from home

Updated 19 April 2019
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Snakes in office force Liberia’s president to work from home

  • President George Weah was told to stay away until the Foreign Affairs building can be fumigated
  • Black snakes were seen this week briefly emerging from a hole in a wall of the building’s reception area

MONROVIA, Liberia: A spokesman says Liberia’s president is working from home after two snakes were found in the building that contains his office.
Deputy press secretary Smith Toby tells The Associated Press that former international soccer star and President George Weah was told to stay away until the Foreign Affairs building can be fumigated. He is expected back in the office on Monday.

Weah was a superstar on the pitch in the mid-1990s, particularly during his spell in Italy with AC Milan. (Getty Images)

The black snakes were seen this week briefly emerging from a hole in a wall of the building’s reception area. Liberia is home to poisonous snakes and officials are not taking chances.
The deputy press secretary says the fumigation has begun to take care of “crawling and creeping things.”
Weah, who was FIFA’s 1995 player of the year, assumed the presidency in January 2018.