Tired of wasting 14 minutes driving to work every day, a crafty locksmith from the Czech Republic managed to cut his commute time in half by building himself an airplane and flying to work.
45-year-old Frantisek Hadrava, from the south-western Czech village of Zdikov, used to drive for 12-14 minutes for his 6 a.m. shift at Drevostroj, a small factory in the town of Ckyne, but he thought that was too long. So he spent the last two years building himself an ultralight plane based on the U.S.-design of Mini-Max planes. Now, whenever the weather permits it, instead of hopping in his car, he gets into the open cockpit plane and flies to his workplace in just seven minutes.
“It takes me about 12-14 minutes by car,” Hadrava says. “By plane, it would take around 4-5 minutes if I flew directly, but I take a bit of a detour so that I don’t disturb people early in the morning. So it takes about 7 minutes.”
You’re probably wonder where Frantisek parks his airplane when he gets to work. After landing on a meadow across the road from the factory, he simply pushes the aircraft to a parking lot just outside his workplace. Since the plane is made almost entirely of wood, pushing it is apparently a lot easier than it looks. It occupies about four car parking spaces, but his co-workers don’t seem to mind too much yet.
The 175-kilogram propeller airplane, named Vampira, is powered by a 3-cylinder engine, has a fuel consumption of 6 litres of petrol per hour and can reach a top speed of 91 km/h. Those are pretty impressive specks for a home-made plane that reportedly cost just 100,000 Czech Koruna ($4,150) to build.
Hadrava, who has previously built a functional replica of the German World War One triplane Fokker Dr. I, says he first fell in love with airplanes when he was ten years old, after watching a television documentary on old war planes.