Vietnam’s First Homebuilt Set To Fly?

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Vietnam’s flying farmers (well, technically, they haven’t really flown yet) are at it again and this time, according to VietNamNet Bridge, it looks like they might actually put some air between themselves and the ground. As AVweb reported in 2004, Tran Quoc Hai and Le Van Danh from Tay Ninh Province cobbled together a helicopter from salvage parts and a Russian truck engine, and the Vietnam government (perhaps wisely) confiscated it before it they could test fly it properly, although they said at the time they’d hovered it about 18 inches above the ground. Undeterred, the duo started construction on another aircraft, which looks a little like a recycling bin with a rotor, but which they say is much improved over the first one. Now comes word that the country’s prime minister has decided to give his blessing (and you thought the bureaucracy was tough in North America and Europe) to a test flight, provided the ministry of defense and other relevant agencies agree the chopper is airworthy. “This is good news for us. Our flying dream will come true at last. We’ll prepare everything to ensure the test flight will take place as soon as possible,” Tran Quoc Hai told VietNamNet Bridge. Just what Hai and Danh farm to finance their aviation passion isn’t clear but the first aircraft cost them $30,000 and now they say they’ve spent about $20,000 on the second. Just when the first flight will occur is not clear.