Lavanya M. talks to engineering students as they give finishing touches to an aircraft

Along the South Cooum River Road, Pudupet, in an obscure shed with ‘fiber-field' painted on its shutter, three students frantically race against time to put together their dream - an aircraft. “We reach the shed at 8 a.m. and leave at 4 a.m. the next morning. It seemed nearly impossible to complete the work in three months,” says R. Rajeesh, a week ahead of his group's final-year project submission. A final year student of the Aeronautical Engineering department, Jeppiaar Engineering College, he and his friends J. Desikanandhan and Nilesh Jain thought they must do something exciting, applying what they had learnt in class.

Soon, they began work on their long-time dream ,‘Flyer RS 37', the single-seater aircraft, fitting it with an air-cooling system, a smoke-detector and sensor.

‘Flyer RS 37' was born out of a Maruti 800. “We bought a second-hand car and dismantled its parts. The engine of the car had to be modified to suit an aircraft. The seats and other parts are used too,” says Nilesh.

“The biggest challenge was fitting the shaft with the propeller at the exact location. Every time we welded and fixed it, it wobbled and failed. And finally, when the propeller rotated, we were almost in tears,” says Desikanandhan.

Also, once when the students took the aircraft out of the shed, the rod supporting the wheels got bent. Soon, the road was blocked, they recall.However, the students are determined to work until the aircraft is ready to take flight. “It would be great to watch it fly. But securing the permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will take us at least two years.”

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