August 24, 2016 / 12:27 PM / a year ago

Czech locksmith builds plane to fly to work 10 miles away

ZDIKOV, Czech Republic (Reuters) - Frantisek Hadrava thought driving to work for 14 minutes was too much, so he built an plane to cut the commute by half.

Aviator Frantisek Hadrava takes off with Vampira, an ultralight plane based on the U.S.-design of light planes called Mini-Max, near the village of Zdikov, Czech Republic, August 23, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Hadrava, a 45-year old locksmith from the south-western Czech village of Zdikov, took about two years of his spare time to built his Vampira, an ultralight plane based on the U.S.-design of light planes called Mini-Max.

The plane has an open cockpit, propeller powered by a 3-cylinder engine made by Czech firm Verner, and maximum speed of 146 km (91 miles) an hour. It cost about 3,700 euros ($4,200) to build, Hadrava said.

Early on Wednesday morning, Hadrava flew his usual path through the forested, hilly foothills of the Sumava mountains for his 6 a.m. shift at Drevostroj, a small factory in the town of Ckyne making machine tools for the forestry industry.

He lands on a meadow across the road from the factory. He then needs to push the plane across the road, leading to the German border, to a parking lot outside the factory.

“It takes me about 12-14 minutes by car,” Hadrava said.

“By plane, it would take around 4-5 minutes if I flew directly, but I take a bit of a detour so that I don’t disturb people early in the morning. So it takes about 7 minutes.”

Hadrava has also build a replica of the German World War One triplane Fokker Dr. I, and his next plan is to construct another historical plane, the French Deperdussin.

Reporting by Jiri Skacel; Writing by Jan Lopatka Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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