This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.
In an attempt to find a solution to the mind-numbing traffic that plagues Jakarta and its surrounding areas, Jujun Junaedi, 42, found himself a new hobby. For over a year, the auto repair shop worker from Sukabumi, a town just outside Jakarta, has been building an 8-metre long helicopter from scratch in his backyard.
The standstill traffic on the Sukabumi-Bogor road in front of his auto shop inspired him to take up this ambitious project in hopes that one day, he will literally be able to fly above the traffic.
“God willing, I will be able to conduct a test flight by the end of this year or in early 2020. That’s why my process is very lengthy. It takes time to acquire the parts I need. And I don’t want to be leeching off my household funds,” Junaedi told local media.
He used the motor from a 700cc, 24-horsepower Gardes JN 77 GM generator. At the moment, he is finishing up the propellor with the help of his son and best friend. So far, he has spent roughly $2,138 on the project, which is nearly complete.
“We’ve got the motor running, but we haven’t flown it yet because the top propellor isn’t complete,” Febriansyah, Junaedi’s 16-year-old son who goes by one name, told local media.
Junaedi is relying on his high school education, his experience working at an auto repair shop, and YouTube to get the helicopter up and running. He hopes to consult some aviation experts before wrapping up the project.
He also hopes that his innovation will be able to provide an alternative means of transport to the people of Jakarta, much like Whitesky Aviation, the helicopter taxi start-up that launched in Jakarta in 2017. The company completed 480 flights in 2018.
“There’s been a 50 percent increase in helicopter taxi demand. We think the idea has potential, but first we must increase awareness of this service among citizens,” Whitesky Aviation Business Development Director, Ari Nurwanda , told local media.
Grab, a popular ride-hailing app across Southeast Asia, has also hinted at the possibility of incorporating helicopter taxis into its fleet.