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Back to the drawing board: Kenyan who built his own plane out of bits of scrap vows to try again after flight attempt sees him steer it into a field and crash

By Dan Bloom

  • Married father-of-two Gabriel Nderitu builds scrap metal planes in his yard
  • Despite five years’ work his latest invention flopped near Nairobi, Kenya
  • He refused to be beaten, saying he will do some more studying on the web

He learned about aeroplanes on the internet, then built one in his yard out of scrap metal.

But despite five years’ work and a lot of chutzpah, Kenyan IT consultant Gabriel Nderitu has been thwarted yet again in his bid to fly a homemade craft – complete with wings, propeller, a cockpit and even go-faster stripes.

Dozens of friends helped push the married father-of-two’s contraption through the dusty Kenyan countryside until its landing gear collapsed and it spluttered to a halt, to the sound of laughing children.

Scroll down for video

Powering up: Gabriel Nderitu sits in the cockpit, the propeller turning, as his friends push him along in the Kenyan countryside. He has made more than 10 scrap metal planes in his front yard but none have ever flown

Powering up: Gabriel Nderitu sits in the cockpit, the propeller turning, as his friends push him along in the Kenyan countryside. He has made more than 10 scrap metal planes in his front yard but none have ever flown

 

It's working! The plane, complete with go-faster stripes, picked up speed and left the neighbours behind

It’s working! The plane, complete with go-faster stripes, picked up speed and left the neighbours behind

Failure: Just as the flight looked like a success, the plane's landing gear began to buckle under its weight

Failure: Just as the flight looked like a success, the plane’s landing gear began to buckle under its weight

Back to the drawing board: One onlooker jumped over the tail as the planed collapsed

Back to the drawing board: One onlooker jumped over the tail as the planed collapsed

 

 

 

Kenyan man’s home-made plane fails to get off the ground

The part-time entrepreneur has already made more than 10 planes but has never managed to get any of them off the ground, Kenyan news website DailyNation reported.

Many of his prototypes have been deemed too heavy, while another crashed on two concrete poles and broke a propeller.

 More…

He told Kenyan news channel Citizen TV: ‘I will go back to the drawing board and design the landing gear better, and also study a little bit more about landing gear.’

The IT consultant, whose firm Fincom is based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, found scrap aluminium bars, hollow tubes, bolts and plastic sheeting to make his planes – sticking it all together with some gum.

He has spent more than a million Kenyan shillings (£7,100) on his hobby and learned almost everything he knows on the internet.

Must try harder: Mr Nderitu told an interviewer he would go back and study how landing gear worked

Must try harder: Mr Nderitu told an interviewer he would go back and study how landing gear worked

 

Hobbyist: Gabriel with one of his earlier prototypes, complete with a wooden propeller

Hobbyist: Gabriel with one of his earlier prototypes, complete with a wooden propeller

 

Efforts: The entrepreneur has made more than 10 scrap metal planes, but many have been too heavy to fly

Efforts: The entrepreneur has made more than 10 scrap metal planes, but many have been too heavy to fly

 

He said in an earlier interview: ‘My boyhood interest was in aviation so maybe it was a missed career that I’m trying to recreate’.

His plane is powered by an engine which was once used to mill animal feed.

If and when Gabriel finally succeeds in his mission he could be named as the first Kenyan ever to successfully fly a homemade aeroplane.

A hardcore set of young, male hobbyists in Africa are busy trying to beat him to the title.

Farmhand Onesmus Mwangi, from the Nairobi district of Magomano, managed to build a 25kg helicopter from scrap material which he flew a foot off the ground – but was fired when his boss said the media attention was distracting him from his work.

The enthusiasts often hope their prowess will gain them attention from engineering firms in wealthier parts of Europe which could fund a new life.

Success story: Mubarak Abdullahi, 24, won a scholarship to study aircraft maintenance in the UK after he made this bright yellow helicopter using a Honda Civic engine in Kano, Nigeria, in 2007

Success story: Mubarak Abdullahi, 24, won a scholarship to study aircraft maintenance in the UK after he made this bright yellow helicopter using a Honda Civic engine in Kano, Nigeria, in 2007

 

Dedicated: Young men in Nigeria try to make their own aircraft, but few gain success or international attention

Dedicated: Young men in Nigeria try to make their own aircraft, but few gain success or international attention

 

 

One success story is of 24-year-old Nigerian physics student Mubarak Muhammed Abdullahi, who spent nearly a year building a 39ft long helicopter out of spare parts sourced from old cars, motorcycles, and even a crashed Boeing 747.

He used money he saved from repairing cell phones and computers.

His bright yellow contraption – with a salvaged Honda Civic engine – was completed in 2007 and could reach heights of 7ft. It helped secure him a scholarship to study aircraft maintenance in the UK.

The men’s trial-and-error approach is reminiscent of early experiments by the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur.

The American inventors made more than 1,000 test flights using gliders before they first managed to get a self-propelled plane off the ground on December 17, 1903.

– “DM”

CLICK HERE to go to the Original Publication

World’s fastest steam locomotive Mallard gets a tow from sister train on their way to National Railway Museum for historic reunion

By Daily Mail Reporter

  • 75 years ago Mallard set record for the fastest steam locomotive hurtling down the East Coast Main Line at 126mph
  • Yesterday the iconic train was being towed by its sister loco the Union of South Africa for a commemorative event
  • Last year all six remaining type A4 locomotives were reunited for a series of events to celebrate the record
  • The final event, and the last opportunity to see the trains together, will take place at Shildon later this month

Just over 75 years ago, the Mallard set the world record for the fastest ever steam locomotive when it hurtled down the East Coast Main Line at 126mph.

Yesterday the iconic train was back on the tracks, albeit at a slightly slower pace, being towed by its sister loco the Union of South Africa for a commemorative event at the National Railway Museum in Shildon, County Durham.

To celebrate the milestone achievement, Mallard was last year reunited with its five surviving sisters – Dominion of Canada, the Dwight D Eisenhower, the Union of South Africa, the Sir Nigel Gresley and the Bittern – for a series of special events called The Great Gathering.

Full steam ahead: The record-breaking Mallard train gets a tow from her sister locomotive Union of South Africa to the National Railway Museum in Shilton

Full steam ahead: The record-breaking Mallard train gets a tow from her sister locomotive Union of South Africa to the National Railway Museum in Shilton

 

The final event, dubbed The Great Goodbye, is the last opportunity to see the six A4s together and will take place at Shildon between 15-23 February.

More…

To mark the occasion, an image of Mallard was projected on to Durham Castle to signal the last stage of a poignant railway reunion.

On July 3, 1938, No. 4468 Mallard thundered along Stoke Bank near Grantham, Lincolnshire, at 126mph – a speed that has remained unmatched by any steam locomotive for three-quarters of a century.

Flyer: Just over 75 years ago the Mallard hurtled down the East Coast Main Line at 126mph, a record that has never been broken

Flyer: Just over 75 years ago the Mallard hurtled down the East Coast Main Line at 126mph, a record that has never been broken

 

All aboard: The final event of the 75th anniversary celebrations and the last opportunity to see the six A4s together, will take place at Shildon between 15-23 February

All aboard: The final event of the 75th anniversary celebrations and the last opportunity to see the six A4s together, will take place at Shildon between 15-23 February

 

Two A4s which crossed the Atlantic for the reunion – Dwight D Eisenhower and the Dominion of Canada – will be returning to their bases at the National Railroad Museum in Wisconsin in the United States and the Canadian National Railway Museum in Montreal respectively.

The Great Goodbye week of events will be the last chance for people to see the six classic Sir Nigel Gresley-designed locomotives together.

The York gathering of the locomotives attracted 250,000 visitors and Shildon expects to double its normal attendance figures for the Goodbye event.

‘This is a great coup for County Durham and we want people to know it is coming to the North East,’ said museum spokeswoman Catherine Farrell.

Melanie Sensicle, chief executive of Visit County Durham said: ‘The county is the cradle of the railways so it is only fitting that we host the final event in the Mallard 75 season.

Heyday: The Mallard pictured in 1938, the year it set the record for the fastest ever steam locomotive

Heyday: The Mallard pictured in 1938, the year it set the record for the fastest ever steam locomotive

 

The 'Great Gathering': The six remaining A4 class locomotives, (from the right) Sir Nigel Gresley, Dwight D Eisenhower, Union of South Africa, Bittern, Mallard and Dominion of Canada

The ‘Great Gathering’: The six remaining A4 class locomotives, (from the right) Sir Nigel Gresley, Dwight D Eisenhower, Union of South Africa, Bittern, Mallard and Dominion of Canada

Anniversary: The National Railway Museum's 'Great Gathering' marks 75 years since the world's fastest steam locomotive, Mallard, made its world record breaking run in 1938

Anniversary: The National Railway Museum’s ‘Great Gathering’ marks 75 years since the world’s fastest steam locomotive, Mallard, made its world record breaking run in 1938

 

Mallard was one of 35 near-identical A4-class locomotives designed by renowned engineer Sir Nigel Gresley

The steam locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley at the National Railway Museum

Locomotives: Mallard (left) was one of 35 near-identical A4-class locomotives designed by renowned engineer Sir Nigel Gresley. The reunion at the National Railway Museum also featured the steam locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley (right)

 

We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mallard and sisters to tell the story of high-speed travel down the East Coast Main Line and we hope that the ‘Mallard effect’ that saw a quarter of a million visitors flocking to York will create a rail boom for Durham.’

Anthony Coulls, senior curator of railway vehicles at the National Railway Museum, said: ‘Lighting up a February evening demonstrates how our Mallard 75 events showcase our collection to new audiences and turn the spotlight on to the wonder of British engineering.

‘Our Mallard 75 February half term will showcase all six streamlined Gresley giants, some in steam at Locomotion at Shildon. Mallard is now off display being prepped for the big move to Durham this week.’

Northern Rail is operating an enhanced service throughout the Great Goodbye with its Timothy Hackworth train operating on the route to Shildon throughout the event, celebrating the town’s own famed steam locomotive engineer.

Steam train: The steam locomotive Dwight D Eisenhower at the National Railway Museum

Steam train: The steam locomotive Dwight D Eisenhower at the National Railway Museum

Full view: The Mallard being shunted into position around the turntable, along with the only other surviving A4 locomotives in the world as part of the 'Great Gathering'

Full view: The Mallard being shunted into position around the turntable, along with the only other surviving A4 locomotives in the world as part of the ‘Great Gathering’

Alex Hynes, managing director of Northern Rail, said: ‘We’re pleased to be able to provide additional services to Shildon so that as many train fans as possible can visit and enjoy the last opportunity to see all six of these historic A4s together.’

At Shildon, the big six will be displayed outside on tracks with Sir Nigel Gresley, Bittern and Union of South Africa in light steam. The order of the six locomotives will change each day.

A gala dinner at Locomotion will round off the event, with a preview extract of Steamsong, a multimedia opera by John Kefala-Kerr, inspired by Mallard and the story of the A4s.

This includes a live vocal and instrumental performance blended with the sounds of chime whistles and footage from the British Transport Film archive.

Union of South Africa tows the Mallard to the National Railway Museum in Shilton, Country Durham

Union of South Africa tows the Mallard to the National Railway Museum in Shilton, Country Durham

 

 

For details visit click here.

From the late Thirties to the Sixties, Mallard and its sisters hauled the luxury Silver Jubilee train from London to the North.

Designed in celebration of King George V’s Silver Jubilee, Britain’s first streamlined train was introduced in September 1935 between London and Newcastle, pulled by the A4 Silver Link and reducing the journey between the cities to four hours.

It was said at the time that the Silver Jubilee meant ‘London becomes a suburb of Newcastle.’ The service was a great commercial success, with the seven streamlined carriages featuring and art-deco interior of chrome and blue and two restaurant cars providing hot meals and drinks for the passengers, which often included the celebrities of the day.

FULL ‘TEAM’ AHEAD: HOW MALLARD AND HER CREW MADE HISTORY IN 1938

Mallard was built at LNER’s Doncaster Works in South Yorkshire and was chosen as the perfect vehicle for the endeavor because it was the first of the class to be fitted with a double chimney.

The speed record was achieved on the slight downward slope of Stoke Bank, south of Grantham on the East Coast Main Line.

The highest speed was recorded at milepost 90¼, between Little Bytham and Essendine.

Full 'team' ahead: The crew of the Mallard at Peterborough after their world record-breaking feat in 1938

The crew of the Mallard at Peterborough after their world record-breaking feat in 1938

The Mallard broke the record previously help by the German DRG Class 5 002 which reached speeds of 124.5 mph two years earlier.

For cars, speeds are averaged after running in both directions.

Trains are permitted a gradient and there is no requirement to overcome wind direction.

The German train’s run was without any gradient involved.

Two American trains have claimed to have run a faster speed than the Mallard but their respective speeds were not recorded officially.

Mallard was designed to travel over long distances at speeds over 100mph and was built with a double chimney.

The remainder of the class was retro-fitted with similar chimneys in the 1950s.

The Mallard is seen leaving London King's Cross Station heading to Newcastle in 1955

The Mallard is seen leaving London King’s Cross Station heading to Newcastle in 1955

It has three cylinders that kept the train stable at high speeds and its wheels were 6 ft 8 in tall – giving the train the the maximum revolutions per minute capable of trains at that time.

Mallard was five months old during its record-breaking journey and was driven by Joseph Duddington and fireman Thomas Bray.

When the train arrived at King’s Cross, Duddington and Inspector Sid Jenkins were quoted as saying that they thought ‘a speed of 130mph would have been possible if the train had not had to slow for the junctions at Essendine.’

At the time of the run there was a permanent way restriction to 15mph just north of Grantham that slowed the train as the crew tried to build up maximum speed before reaching the downhill section just beyond Stoke.

The A4 class was built with streamlined valances, or side skirting, but this was removed during the war to ease maintenance.

– “DM”

CLICK HERE to go to the Original Publication

The savage brutality of Central African Republic revealed as man is lynched by blood-thirsty mob in lawless African nation

By Tara Brady

  • 20 uniformed soldiers accused member of crowd of belonging to Seleka
  • Soldiers stamped on lifeless body before dragging it through the streets
  • President Catherine Samba-Panza stood 20m away 10 minutes earlier
  • She had promised to restore security at a ceremony for Army
  • Muslim group Seleka disbanded after Samba-Panza’s inauguration last month

A group of soldiers in the Central African Republic lynched a man they suspected was a rebel minutes after hearing the new president’s promise to restore security at a ceremony to reinstate the divided country’s armed forces.

About 20 uniformed soldiers accused a member of the crowd of having belonged to Seleka – the mostly Muslim rebel group that seized power in a coup last March, before stabbing him repeatedly until he was dead.

A soldier stamped on the lifeless body, which was then dragged nearly naked through the streets as residents looked on and took photographs.

Violence: A Central African Army soldier stabs the man who was accused of joining the ousted Seleka rebel group

Violence: A Central African Army soldier stabs the man who was accused of joining the ousted Seleka rebel group

 

Ten minutes earlier the new interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, stood just 20m away where she addressed a crowd of at least 1,000 soldiers.

The Army effectively disappeared during nine months of Seleka rule.

More…

She told the gathering at a training ground in the capital Bangui: ‘Within a month, I would like to fully secure the greater part of the country and I aim to stick to my word.’

Seleka disbanded after Samba-Panza’s inauguration last month and is deeply resented by the Christian majority after months of lootings and killings.

WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO

 

Soldiers lynch two men in C. African Republic

 

Members of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel

Members of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel

 

A soldier stabs the lifeless body, which was then dragged nearly naked through the streets

A soldier stabs the lifeless body, which was then dragged nearly naked through the streets

 

The violence spawned the creation of Christian ‘anti-balaka’ militias, meaning ‘anti-machete’ in the local Sango language, and more sectarian blood-letting.

About one million people, a quarter of the former French colony’s population, have fled their homes.

The presence of 1,600 French soldiers and 5,000 African troops has so far failed to stop the tit-for-tat violence which the United Nations says has already killed more than 2,000 people.

Newly enlisted FACA soldiers kick the face of a suspected Muslim Seleka militiaman moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui

Newly enlisted FACA soldiers kick the face of a suspected Muslim Seleka militiaman moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui

 

 

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch in Bangui, tweeted that the corpse of the lynched man had been burned.

He posted a photograph showing a man holding up a severed limb next to a bonfire, as an armed French soldier gestured in the background.

Samba-Panza, appointed by parliament two weeks ago after coup leader Michel Djotodia stepped down under intense international pressure for failing to stop the violence, made clear it would take time to restore order.

Central Africa Republic's interim president Catherine Samba Panza addresses members of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) before the man was lynched

Central Africa Republic’s interim president Catherine Samba Panza addresses members of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) before the man was lynched

 

‘At a certain point, everyone will be held responsible for their acts, I am warning troublemakers who continue to sow disorder in the country.’

She also urged former soldiers to report for duty, saying those who did not would be considered deserters.

Central African Republic, one of Africa’s poorest countries despite mineral riches, has a history of instability, and has seen five coups and several rebellions since winning independence from France in 1960.

According to a timetable established as part of a regionally brokered peace deal agreed last year, elections are supposed to be held by February 2015.

– “DM”

CLICK HERE to go to the Original Publication