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.


Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

Updated 19 November 2018
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Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

  • US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors
  • Raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation

HELSINKI: Social media in Finland was ablaze with bemused comments on Monday after US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors.
Speaking to reporters during the weekend while in California to see the impact of devastating forest fires, the US president again blamed forest management, but said Finland had the answer.
Trump cited the Finnish president as telling him Finns “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things (in the forest), and they don’t have any problem.”
However the Nordic country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper on Sunday that he had no recollection of raking being mentioned when the pair met in Paris a week ago.
“I told him that Finland is a country covered in forests, but we also have a good warning system and network,” the president said.
Finnish social media users were quick to pile in, describing Trump’s comments as “rake news” and posting pictures of themselves brandishing the garden implement.
By late Sunday, raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation which is 72 percent covered by forests, predominantly of pine, birch and fir.
Meanwhile Yrjo Niskanen, head of emergency preparedness at Finland’s national forest center, said the US president may have been referring to the practice of removing branches and loose material left in the forest after logging.
But he pointed out that this is not done with a rake — and the wood is collected for energy production.
“I’ve never thought before that it could be removed because of the fire risk, that’s not mentioned in any forestry manuals. It’s taken away purely for business reasons,” Niskanen told the Iltalehti newspaper.