Chinese Farmer Builds 'Flying Saucer'
September 1, 2011 –Shu Mansheng, a 46-year-old Chinese farmer, is bound and determined to fly. The aspiring aviator has reportedly designed and built a total of eight aircraft – none of them successful. But he keeps trying. His latest effort is a saucer-shaped aircraft that sort of “elevated” last month, as shown by this video posted to a Chinese website. The homebuilder Mansheng came up with the contraption at his home in Dashu village in central China's Hubei province.
The project is powered by eight vertically mounted motorcycle engines turning top-mounted propellers. They are arranged symmetrically within a 5.5-meter diameter circular frame with four positioned in round engine mounts. The open pilot seat is in the middle, above spokes that support the engines and extend to the outer ring. He’s spent about $9,400 so far on it, reports the webite worldstourist.com.
Mansheng attempted to fly two other designs, including a fixed-wing, prop-powered plane that crashed while taxiing in May 2009. He emerged with only minor injuries. Mansheng also attempted to fly a reported homebuilt jet but failed for undisclosed reasons.
Having only a basic middle school education hasn’t stopped Mansheng from pursuing his dream of building his own flying machine. He says he is a self-taught builder.
Mansheng plans to keep plugging away with further improvements to his invention, but he also wants to open a school for children who share his passion for aeronautics. “My dream is to create a special school, where kids can learn things not taught in regular school,” he said.