Aviation junkie plans to fly to Bahamas in homemade plane

Norman Lewis is getting ready to fly this homemade plane from Brunswick County to the Bahamas.
Norman Lewis is getting ready to fly this homemade plane from Brunswick County to the Bahamas.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A man from Brunswick County is trying to reach new heights.

Norman Lewis is making a name for himself and his man-made aircraft, which he built right in his own garage.

Lewis is flying from North Carolina to the Bahamas in just a few weeks.

It took him one year to build his ultra light plane. It's an aircraft which most pilots use to play with but Lewis wants to go the distance in it.

"Most people who come by think it's a good looking unit," said Lewis. "Others come by and think I'm insane so I guess it's to be expected."

Lewis is a self-proclaimed aviation junkie, but every now and then has doubts about his journey.

"I think about the trip from time to time and I ponder about going across that water, but if it wasn't dangerous it wouldn't be worth doing," he said.

Lewis said making the trip in this plane that will weigh less than 200 pounds is a feat no one has attempted.

"Basically I'm out to prove that an ultra light can be used for more than just flying around on a Sunday afternoon."

The plane is 14 feet long and is made purely out of aluminum. Lewis added a generator for a motor and go-kart wheels for landing and hopes his creation will fly without any problems. Lewis said he shouldn't have any problems because it is so simple.

Weather is also playing a role in his flight. As hurricane season ends in our area, the weather in the Bahamas is playing a crucial role in his planning as he will fly in an open cockpit.

Lewis chose the Bahamas because his father flew him there in the 5th grade. He said he fell in love when he was a child and always wanted to fly back in a plane of his own.

"Instead of going to the beach in the summertime I knew all the people that ran the airports so I just hung out there and they let me start working on airplanes so I learned all about them as a young kid," said Lewis.

Lewis never did get his pilot's license, but doesn't need it to fly an ultra light. Lewis said what he does have is passion, faith, guts and his fingers crossed for clear skies.

Lewis hopes to take off in November. He is currently looking for someone with a boat to follow him by water to the Bahamas.

The plane's gas tank only holds five gallons at a time so he will have to make some stops to fill up along the way.

If he is successful in his flight, he plans to market the plane for production. He said trial and error is the best marketing plan.

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