Valuing the African Genius

Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi is a Nigerian researcher who manufactured a helicopter in 2007 using pieces from old cars, motorbikes and aluminum scrap, among others, while still an undergraduate student in physics.

Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi

Photo: ©Getty

The chopper was powered by a second-hand 133 horsepower Honda Civic car engine. Other components stemmed from the carcass of a Boeing 747 which crashed near Kano some years ago. Measuring 12 meters long, 5 meters wide and 7 meters high, the helicopter was built in eight months and had apparently flown several times without exceeding an altitude of more than 3 meters.

Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi learned the rudiments of flying a helicopter from the Internet and got his first idea of building one from the movies he used to watch on television, mostly action movies featuring flying helicopters.

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Profile reviewed: December 30, 2016

First publication: February 2010