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Ding Shilu takes off on self-made $395 bike airplane

Pictures below are of auto mechanic, Ding Shilu, successfully taking off in his airplane built from recycled parts. Innovation is every bit about achieving things on the ‘cheap,’ especially in our world where we are consuming earth’s resources at alarming rates. I was especially impressed by his price tag.

China Daily reported: “Ding Shilu, an automobile mechanic, sits in his self-made aircraft to prepare a test-flight at a frozen reservoir in Shenyang, Liaoning province February 25, 2011. The aircraft which weights about 130 kg (287 lbs) and made of recycled materials including three motorbike engines and plastic cloth, cost about 2600 yuan ($395), local media reported.

While trying to find out more about Ding, I came across some pretty ugly reactions. A simple and easy story of triumph and ingenuity is instead visited by ill-will and cynicism. These reactions are all too common when it comes to anything ‘China’ or ‘Chinese’ in the ‘West.’ I some times wish the more sensable lot would pause and think why there are so many mean lemmings in their society. (If you are new to this blog, I suggest you have a read at one of our more recent posts, “China Hacking, Poison and Piracy,” and see what we think are the root-cause of this ignorance.)

Well, you tell me, why do you think Ding’s story illicits this kind of response?

Psiu! Puxa!:
Friggin’ sweet!

Ford, high off their recent legal battle with Ferrari has launched a lawsuit based around design copyright infringement.

I’d rather make an ekranoplan.

All the excitement of flying with no scary heights to fall and die from.

Only $395?

No doubt a ton of Harbor Freight tools were involved.

Confucius say man with cheap plane have expensive crash.
ChiefPontiaxe promoted this comment

“Shilu was later crushed to learn the airplane’s already been invented.”

Moments later, Shilu was ACTUALLY crushed BY his invention.

‘Ling time?

“Is there beverage service on this flight?”
“Yes sir, you’ll find a Tsingtao or two duct taped to the wing spar behind you. Be careful which piece of tape you remove, though.”

Said Ding Shilu, “I fry kitty hawk”

Later 300 Chinese were seen to arrive at his workshop with Woks and rice looking for a winged cat.
snapoversteer, Arbiter of D’Elegance promoted this comment

Baby Beater Benz
Chinese manufacturing principles:





Easy-to-assemble by small children?



…um, where does all this lead go? Oh, look, a new food factory was built.

Rattleface Blouses
‘Shilu was later “crushed” to learn the airplane’s already been invented.’

Is there anything to this story you aren’t telling us?

PotbellyJoe – Mission critical commodity, ask my bosses…

Brilliant! This plane will make the Great Wall of China twice as useless as the Maginot Line!


Yeah, but to sell it retail in the states it goes for $3000.00
TrampaOnline promoted this comment

Graf von Geistkoenig
Well, damn. There goes my self-esteem for the day.

Seriously: impressive. Have to find a good tubing supplier in Queens someday.

Care Bear Spiegel Stare
Make it light, simple, and cheap.

make it gaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Flying one of these is unfulfilling. Right after you land you always feel like you didnt go up in the first place and need to fly again


This is why I don’t get into airplanes. I like to build things myself. Build a car and make a mistake? You crash, but you have a pretty good chance of survival. Build a plane and make a mistake? Die. That’s it. You just die. Happy motoring!

Tomorrow’s blip:

“Man dies in $395 airplane. Should have spent $500.”

  1. March 28th, 2011 at 00:41 | #1


    Even in the Taj Mahal you will find sewer lines and trash bins. As we noted before, in China, a land of a billion, you are bound to find a few nuts. Well, so is it here in the West and on the general Internet. I say we don’t focus our attention too much on such trash. Sure, we should point out trash when they fill up in the lobby (e.g. coming out of mouths of leaders, in prestigious media like NYT, etc.), but not go looking for trash in the garbage room…

    My 2 cents.

  2. March 28th, 2011 at 09:05 | #2

    Good point, Allen.

  3. colin
    March 28th, 2011 at 10:16 | #3

    While there definitely are unkind stereotypes in the comments, I didn’t think it was so bad when compared with other examples. Nothing that suggests, with the exception of the lead factory, that chinese people themselves are malicious. I’ve seen far worse, for example, that article in the NYTimes about the shakespear quote.

    But an interesting point is that I bet the readers of jolopnik are mostly liberal urbanites, so it proves the point that liberals are often just as biased and ignorant as conservatives. They just go around trying to hide it and pretend (even to themselves) that they are fair minded.

  4. Smalltalks
    March 28th, 2011 at 13:44 | #4

    Is it even safe to fly like this? I would not test my bones on this bike plane.

    I want to die in my bed.

  5. jxie
    March 28th, 2011 at 14:48 | #5

    The thrill of being in the air is probably the same as the glider scene of the 1968 version of “The Thomas Crown Affair“, save the music and the hot redhead waiting on the ground.

    yinyang, you let too many things bother you. They are not worth it.

  6. March 28th, 2011 at 15:36 | #6


    yinyang, you let too many things bother you. They are not worth it.

    You are right. It’s so damn hard! I was initially searching for more information about this story, and few links into it, there we are.


    Yes, liberals and conservatives are two faces of the same coin. When it comes to foreigners, they will take whatever they can. When it comes to domestic, they will take whatever they can from each other.

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