NAPLES, Fla. (WSVN) — A young pilot parked on a runway and took off in a plane he built. With a little help from his friends.
The aircraft, unveiled Friday, was built by 11 teenagers from the Naples area.
The experimental two-seater, known as the Sling 2, is the fruit of the teens’ labor as part of the Naples Youth Aviation Project.
One of the teens involved in putting the aircraft together is Ali Amini.
“It feels amazing, and it’s an extremely satisfying feeling to know what you built is right in front of you, to see that your work paid off,” he said.
“I’m really happy because it’s something I really think I wanted to do for a long time, but I never really knew how to get into the field of aviation,” said another of the teens.
The group set out to build the aircraft in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed them down.
Devon Wilson is another one of the lucky 11. He said his father is a pilot, so planes are in his blood.
“So yeah, I think that’ll be my final goal, is to be able to fly with him in the same cockpit, so that’d be really great,” he said.
Garrett Sutton said it took three years to build the plane, and because he’s already got his pilot’s license, he got to take her up in the air Friday afternoon.
Sutton said he plans to fly the Sling 2 to Wisconsin for a global fly-in convention in July.
“You look at it, and like, ‘I did this, I did this, I did this.’ You know, it’s – you put your blood, sweat and tears into it, and now you get to actually fly it,” he said, “so that’s a definitely unique opportunity I’ve been given.”
The fly-in convention draws more than 650,000 people from 90 countries.
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