Sky's the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane

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Most of us passed the long hours at home during lockdown by baking banana bread or binge watching Netflix documentaries. The more ambitious tried their hands at learning a new language or taking up an instrument.

Sky’s the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane
© Triangle News Ashok Aliseril, 38, and his wife Abhilasha Dubey, 35, built the plane to take their daughters Tara, six, and Diya, three, out – Triangle News

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For Ashok Aliseril, however, the sky was the limit as he and his family took on the mammoth undertaking of building a four-seater plane from scratch. 

After purchasing a kit for a four-seater propeller aircraft, Mr Aliseril spent nearly two years building it – with just the instruction manual and YouTube videos for guidance. 

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Sky’s the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane
© Provided by The Telegraph The plane during the early stages of the building process – Triangle News

The 38-year-old engineer from Billericay, Essex and his wife Abhilasha Dubey, 35, had wanted to buy an aircraft capable of accommodating both them and their two young daughters. However, they could not find a suitable option on the market.

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Instead, Mr Aliseril, a trained pilot, found a kit plane that fitted the bill. He flew to South Africa to test fly the vehicle, before ordering it and having it shipped to his back garden.

He began building it in his shed in March 2020. Now, almost two years later, it is finished and ready for regulatory approval. If it passes, he and his family will be able to take to the skies from March. 

Sky’s the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane
© Provided by The Telegraph Ashok Aliseril assembled the plane using the manual and YouTube videos – Triangle News

Like all worthwhile hobbies, the project took over not just Mr Aliseril’s free time but his free space, too. 

Once the craft began to take shape, it soon became far too large for the shed at the bottom of the garden. They used two sheds and their home to store parts of the plane, as well as storing a large generator in their downstairs guest bedroom.

The couple eventually had to hire a hangar, moving the plane in parts. 

It is far from ideal, as it is 90 minutes away from the Aliserils’ home – but they are on the lookout for a closer spot.

Sky’s the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane
© Provided by The Telegraph The plane was much too big for the couple’s home in Essex, meaning they had to move it to a hangar – Triangle News

The entire project cost £155,000, which Ms Dubey, a data analyst, said could have been cheaper had they not wanted to invest in the best paint and interior.

The plane is red and silver with luxury seats kitted inside, complete with wide armrests and plenty of legroom.

The couple helped fund the project by saving money on school breakfast clubs, commuting and socialising.

Mr Aliseril said that he dedicated 1,500 hours to the project.

Sky’s the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane
© Provided by The Telegraph The homemade plane in numbers

“After work, there was literally no time to waste on the commute to get to the hangar – because it was just there in our back garden,” said Ms Dubey. “So Ashok used to just pop out after work from 3pm and stay there until 9pm.

“The girls loved it.”

The Aliserils placed duvets over the wings and parts of the plane that their daughters might have hurt themselves on.

They named the plane G-DIYA after their youngest daughter, but promised Tara that they would find a way to name another one after her.

Sky’s the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane
© Provided by The Telegraph The finished plane, which the couple have named after their daughter Diya – Triangle News

Ms Dubey said her children cannot wait to take flight in the aircraft.

The family hope to travel to Manchester to visit family, cutting their journey time from four hours in the car to just 55 minutes in the air.

They also plan to fly to the Isle of Wight for family summer holidays.

Sky’s the limit! Family beat lockdown boredom by building their own plane
© Provided by The Telegraph The couple cannot wait to take their two daughters out in the plane – Triangle News

Mr Aliseril is a die-hard Manchester United fan and intends to use his self-made wings to attend more matches, avoiding game-day traffic.

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