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Young Aeronautical Scientist Builds Working Palm Plane With Help From Facebook Community

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Rachael Funnell

author

Rachael Funnell

Writer & Senior Digital Producer

Rachael is a writer and digital content producer at IFLScience with a Zoology degree from the University of Southampton, UK, and a nose for novelty animal stories.

Writer & Senior Digital Producer

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Turns out social media can be a force for good! Image courtesy of Abdulmumin Adinoyi Taofiq

Some days The Internet can be hard work and it’s easy to lose track of your faith in humanity when sifting through the darker corners of social media’s comment sections. However, every now and then something wonderful can emerge from this mess of memes and misinformation, and we were lucky enough to have front row seats to one such event that recently unfolded within our very own Lighter Side Of Science Facebook group.

In March earlier this year, Abdulmumin Adinoyi Taofiq posted to the Lighter Side Of Science Page sharing the first stages of a project he was working on – building a working remote-controlled plane from palm tree. The post was met with enormous support from other members of the group clocking over 14,000 positive reactions, and many in the comments were eager to see if they could help get Taofiq’s project off the ground.

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Later, group member Dan Katona helped to really get the ball rolling in working with Taofiq on a Go Fund Me Page so that he could source the necessary kit and materials to make his plane fly.

Over the coming months, Taofiq posted video and photo updates of his project’s progression, and with the plane coming so close to getting off the ground the support continued to flood in. Finally, on October 17 – just over six months after his original post – Taofiq gave a final update and… drum roll please… the plane was in the air!

"Final update!!" posted Taofiq. "I finally made it fly, setting a record as the first successful flying remote controlled airplane made from palm tree. I had to build another one because I couldn't wait for better electronics for the previous one, as I got admitted into the university to study Agricultural and Bioresources Engineering lately. I'm in the school now, I built this in four days and flew it on the sixth day. I named it after this communinty."

"Thanks to everyone who donated to me on the GFM page, it was really of help to me because without it, I might not have been able to go to school now. Thank you All."
 

We spoke to Taofiq to find out more about his achievements, and what’s next for this young aeronautical scientist.

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When did you first become interested in designing planes?

I can vividly remember I became interested in designing aircrafts when I was 5 years old. I used to watch airplanes in the sky and wish to be inside, flying it. The passion to fly grew stronger when I was 9, after I watched the movie Around The World In 80 Days when Fogg designed an aircraft from a ship in which he was sailing to take him and his friends back home. Since then, I developed a special attention to any material (books, movies, cartoons) that has an airplane in it. I used to draw plans of how I want my airplane to look on my drawing books then, when I was 10, I already know the four forces acting on a flying object, and I figured out how to control my airplanes using thrust vectoring and propeller pitch control on my own, and I didn't even know they are already in use then. I used to say to myself, if the Wrights didn't invent the airplane and no one else did, I probably would have done that.

What did the Go Fund Me page help you to achieve?

The GoFundMe donations was really a life-changer to me. I sincerely thank Mr. Katona for helping me set it up. Initially, I was hoping to get enough funds to help me get some tools and materials for my projects, but I was amazed to see how people donated even more than I was hoping for, such that I didn't even raise money for only my projects, I was able to use parts of the money to get some things necessary for me to start school, and I'm glad that I used it to get most of the things I wanted. I got a new phone, some equipment for my work, paid some fees in school, and I still have up to $150 in my savings now.

It took Taofiq just over six months to get his idea into the air. Image courtesy of Abdulmumin Adinoyi Taofiq

What were some of the greatest challenges in creating your final design?

The greatest challenge I faced in creating my final design was lack of quality equipment. All of the work and measurements were done by hand, making the design technically inaccurate. I used inferior quality glues and electronics, because that was what I could get hold of. Even my scissors were blunt. I was just amazed it flew.

What are you going to do next?

What I'm actually hoping to do next is to raise funds for myself while in school for now, so that I can extend my work and start building various technologies, such as gadgets and vehicles from environmentally friendly materials. I was hoping to start a business while in school, but the available ones are likely to clash with my studies, so I am still thinking about it. For the meantime, I will keep building anything in my own way. I used to build vacuum cleaners, rechargeable fans, and lamps from recycled plastic containers, and I am planning to go back to it right now

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IFLScience would like to thank Taofiq for sharing his story with us, and all of our Lighter Side Of Science members who provided such fantastic support along the way.


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