BY NIZBERT MOYO
FORMER soldier and war veteran, Barnabas Sibanda, who dreamt of constructing the country’s first aircraft from scrap metal in 1990s, has said he is still pursuing the dream although lack of sponsorship was frustrating his mission.
Sibanda grabbed headlines when he built a helicopter prototype from scrap back in 1994.
At the time, Sibanda a self-styled aeronautical engineer and pilot, said the project had cost him as much as ZW$35 000 back then.
In an interview with Southern Eye on Sunday, Sibanda claimed he opened a company called Kinetic Engineering Private Limited in 2018 to restart the helicopter project.
“The Zimbabwean helicopter that I built in 1994 had a piston engine and is called black apache, referring to the shape of the helicopter and is now an old project. Now I want to concentrate on an MI-172 helicopter,” Sibanda said.
“I am doing research about it so that when opportunity arises I will manufacture it. This is a Russian model, which is now available to third world counties.’’
Sibanda said his dream is to see “his company becoming a kinetic technology hub,” adding that he has since manufactured a hammer mill, which uses kinetic energy,
The helicopter man said he will showcase the hammer mill at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
The war veteran claimed he once approached the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) to sell his ideas without success, further noting that it was worrying that NUST, among other institutions, was not taking the lead in similar projects “but up to now not even a single small machine has been produced from these institutions.”