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Bulawayo helicopter man. Here’s to the crazy ones!

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Bulawayo Helicopter

Bulawayo HelicopterWe just got pointed to this YouTube video of a Bulawayo man called Barnabas Sibanda who apparently built a helicopter prototype and was raising, back then in 1994, funds to start a helicopter factory. He is ofcourse not the first Zimbabwean guy to attempt taking to the skies in his own machine. If his words are anything to go by however, unlike other such attempts his helicopter actually flew. About 65kms apparently.

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Whether he did fly it or not, you still gotta admire this guy’s daring craziness. A helicopter factory! His objective was simple:

I’m trying to come up with the fastest and most cheapest means of transport. Which is a helicopter. Air technology is presently the most suitable means of transport in the world.

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Considering the video was shot in 1994, we can only conclude his dream never took off (or hasn’t yet). Otherwise Zim military would be flying “Made in Zimbabwe” helicopters by now.

Here’s the video below. We’re still trying to decide who was funnier, the news/publicist guy or Sibanda himself.


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25 thoughts on “Bulawayo helicopter man. Here’s to the crazy ones!

  1. I wouldnt know how viable this could be revenue wise but I think there is an opportunity. I would think ultra light crafts would be succesful and are very useful. Military aircrafts could be a big bite.

    The police could make use of ultra light crafts for crowd management, new reporters and the tourism industry would be able to make use of them. I think in 1994 it could have been more expensive and dificult to build an aircraft than it could be now.

  2. He is a dreamer.Not all things are Viable but a good government throws money into such crazy thinking not all investments work out. But they would of learnt a lot of stuff and 10 years later another clever guy continues from where they failed they flop again and 5 years later some guy continues from the 2nd attempt and nails it.

  3. I am currently studying aerospace engineering and don’t think he did ever do the 100+km/h but the idea he has with enough support i am sure we can have a made in Zimbabwe helicopter soon. I admire his effort. “stay stupid, stay hungry”- Steve Jobs!

  4. Why is this suddenly like a “new discovery?”Does nobody remember this? This guy was in all the newspapers and TV – matokanganwa here? Or is it that pano pakazara vafana? His contraption was parked near my neighborhood for some time, and i passed by it regularly on my way to school. This thing NEVER flew! That was a lie – just like the one that was built in Harare with the VW Beetle engine. The blades could spin around and it made a lot of noise – that was about it….

    1. If u have never read/heard something its always news no matter how old. I have never heard of this guy, until now. I only know Daniel Chingoma. I do agree that this thing never flew…just looking at the blades u get a million stories. Those blades have to be strong and big to lift that weight into the air. ayo andiri kuona apo, they are too weak to do that job!!

  5. I admire this man, I believe passion builds dreams, and failure is one of the things you have to go through. I wish he pursues just like the wright brothers did. Its so sad that people want to put him down, I bet if this man was not black, things wouldnt be the same. Zim will never develop if people always want to put things down and laugh at those who are trying. Lets support each others ideas for once.

    1. dai akagadzira hake muchin wemvura zvaive nani. you need patents rights for you to use another company’s engine. it is illegal to use a citron engine on that air craft. not even our gvt is allowed to make an aircraft.

  6. This was a cool idea, great in deed! And before you guys think of military use, have u ever thought how reliable helicopters are as Ambulances? If gvt or any party hard invested in him, we could have eventually designed proper helicopters and saved a lot of lives especially with road accidents happening every minute in Zimbabwe. Imagine the rural clinics in places like deep Mberengwa, they could have benefitted a lot.

  7. ”each time we fly it it would take us days to repair the effects of flying as it shook violently lossening all the metal plates”

    This guy was a day dreamer. Good innovator but a dreamer all the same

  8. The man was leading farm invasions in Masvingo according to an article in the Financial Gazette i had once read many years ago. (Must have it somewhere in my collection, unless if it was in one of my files i lost/ was stolen. If i find it will come back and post the date of the article) I wondered and just said to myself what a waste of talent, the aviation industry that Zimbabwe could build if he pursued aviation would be worth billions more than the small farm he was going to get. Ever since i have been scrounging around for more aviation pioneers and i found one who designed a complete aircraft and i intended to post an article on Zimbabwean aviation when complete. There is a possibility of a small aircraft company in nZimbabwe. but knowing the legendary economic mismanagement of Harare, it will be out of business in no time.

    1. The Bulawayo City Council even game him land for free to start his project and do his thing. The Air Force of Zimbabwe even chipped in with a decommissioned helicopter. Today he runs a research station and last time i read he was building windmills.

  9. Maybe my sense of humor is off, but, this comment “We’re still trying to decide who was funnier, the news/publicist guy or Sibanda himself.” really?? Benjamin Franklin, amongst others, was at one point ridiculed.

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