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This Zimbabwean Built A Helicopter In His Backyard

image and video credit Timeslive


This Zimbabwean Built A Helicopter In His Backyard

Zimbabwe claims a tremendous literacy rate In the country with about 92,1 percent in literacy and is amongst the top Africa. There is a fascinating paradox complicating development in Zimbabwe and a low gratitude for innovators. Zimbabweans who have a love for aviation are on the rise and that is a fact.

In early 2000, Daniel Chingoma consumed aircraft literature, toured Harare’s Charles Prince Airport and aviation clubs, and getting the help from the air force. He put together a helicopter prototype and it flow up five metres, and managed to go around 360 degrees with its nose in the same place. Chingoma anticipated the nation would rally behind him but rather he was instructed never to fly that helicopter.

Young Glen View motor mechanic, Kenneth Sampili testing his plane.

Kenneth Sampili from Glen View in 2014 made an ambitious attempt at building a micro-light prototype aircraft. Once completed, the aircraft made from wooden propeller and aluminum rods, weighed around 250kg and was powered by a boat engine.

There are a few other locals who have made an attempt at aeronautical inventions. These include former Zimbabwe Air Force Flight Lieutenant Barnabas Sibanda who built a helicopter, Shingirayi Taruvinga who came with a fixed wing airplane.

We have a creative genius, Hendrick Chebanga, born son of a carpenter from Zimbabwe now based in Dilopye village, near Hammanskraal in Gauteng, earning himself a name among the locals as the “helicopter man”.

Using scrap metal like Chingoma, the  30 year old has built a model of a police helicopter that at first glance, you would think it’s the “real thing”.

“I have always been fascinated by engineering and I used to make pocket money by building toy wire cars for my friends. My dream was to study engineering but my parents did not have money so I packed my bags and headed for South Africa after matriculating in 2005,” said Chebanga told Timeslive.

To make a living Chebanga had to build and sell toy cars using corrugated iron.

Hendrick worked 12 hours a day for eight months in the backyard of his shack, to produce a 1.5m-high helicopter painted in blue and white police colors and complete with the SAPS insignia on the front.

For the instrument panel, he used discarded speedometers and a telephone resembles a radio to make the cockpit look real.

At the end of each month, Chebanga pulls the helicopter on a trailer and tows it to the Soshanguve to Hammanskraal main road, where he puts it on display and allows people to take photographs.

The money raised from the exhibition will be used to purchase of an engine, which he said would cost him about R6000.

He said his prototype helicopter was not robust enough to fly but once he had raised enough money to buy an engine he would build an airworthy version.

“The helicopter was on display at the Pretoria West police college. I had to bring it back because people were complaining, saying they wanted their helicopter here,” said Chebanga.

One only wonders whether Chebanga would be the one to break the jinx.

When not expelling tech wisdom, Ngoni feeds on good stories that strike on all those emotional chords. He loves road trips, a good laugh, and interesting people.

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