A lot of you might not be familiar with this but “Qazi Brothers” is a family of aircraft makers from Peshawar who are famous for their Ultralight helicopter they made in their backyard.
Meet the Qazi Brothers, Peshawar’s answer to the ‘Wright brothers’
Hailing from Peshawar’s Landi Arbab area, Qazi Tofail and his brother Qazi Sajjad have astonished the public with their incredible achievements — lightweight helicopters made from scracth in their backyard, a first in Pakistan’s history.
The group of brothers and other members of the Qazi family, collectively called as the “Qazi Brothers” belong belong to the Landi Arbab village located at the outskirts of Peshawar.
The Qazi family have a history of making crafts since 1978 and have receieved two titles of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz from the Pakistani goverment.
Qazi Sajjad, the elder among all, is a former air force employee who is inspired by James Bond films and has been experimenting on making ultralight aircrafts since 1978. He rose to fame last year after a video showing him build his helicopter from scavenged and repurposed parts became viral.
Where it all started: Qazi’s obsession with James Bond film and making of Pakistan’s first ultralight glider
In the summer of 1978, Qazi Sajjad entered Peshawar’s famed Sabrina Cinema to watch a James Bond film. After watching the film, he became so obsessed with the glider James Bond had used in the film that he decided to build one for himself.
Sajjad closely observed the plane in the film and made a mental blueprint. Coming back home, he shared the idea with his uncle Qazi Jamshed and brother Qazi Farhad who proved equally enthusiastic and made up their mind to turn the idea into reality.
“After making a rough design, we set out to make a glider with parachute material and bamboo sticks, since aluminum pipes were not available in Pakistan,” recalls Sajjad.
They covered the bamboo sticks with tin plate and their maiden flight took off from Canal Road. The pilot, unaware of the wind’s direction, crashed against the trees and was seriously injured. By chance, however, he discovered that by flying the glider in the opposite direction, the wings got a lift from the wind. The next step was to install an engine. Sajjad sold his parents’ fridge without telling his mother and purchased a 24 horsepower Suzuki engine. He also purchased spare parts from a second-hand dealer and started making lightweight aircraft. “I was the engineer and my uncle and brother were pilots,” Sajjad recalls.
Sajjad succeeded after years of dedication and became the first ever Pakistani to build an ultralight glider from spare parts. Since that fateful summer, every member of his family has developed a passion for building aircrafts. So far they have made seven ultra-light planes, two of which were sold to the Pakistan Air Force and another two to ultra-light plane enthusiasts.
Pakistan’s first ultralight helicopter made in a backyard
Since their maiden flight in a single-seater airplane in 1984, there has been no looking back. The Qazi brothers set their next goal to build build a helicopter, which was their toughest challenge so far.
After five years of continius struggle, they were successful to make Pakistan’s first ever ultralight helciopter last year in April.
The manufacturing costed around Rs3.5 million and the brothers sold their own agricultural land to afford it.
“The authorities promised to release Rs1 million for my project, but not a single penny was given to me. I sold my house in Landi Arbab to purchase the parts for helicopter,” Qazi Jalal said in an earlier interview.
“Pakistan could be in possession of advanced helicopter-manufacturing technology if the government assisted me,” he added.
Qazi will now manufacture ultralight helicopters for the Khyber Patkhunkhwa government
Talking to The News, Qazi Sajjad claimed that he could manufacture advanced helicopters that can be used in rescue operations in natural calamities during inclement weather conditions.
After seeing his magnificient achievements in the aircraft industry, he Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister on Science and Information Technology (IT) Zia Bangash appointed Qazi Sajjad as the ‘Coordinator’ to Advisor to the Chief Minister.
Qazi Sajjad will now lead a provincial project to build ultralight aircraft which will be used for tourism and rescue purposes.
“We are thankfull and heartfelt gratitude to ziaullah khan Bangash and Government of KPK. Inshallah time is not far away, that with the Experiance and advices of Qazi Sajjad will move Pakistan on the top in Science and Technology sector,” a Facebook post from the Qazi brothers read.
According to sources, Qazi Sajjad has now been nominated by the provincial government as the research and development coordinator for local production of aircraft and helicopters.
The Adviser to the KP Chief Minister on Science and Information Technology, Zia Bangash said on Monday that researchers, engineers, and scientists of the province will be facilitated in creating indigenous solutions.
The adviser disclosed this while addressing a meeting of local researchers.
The official said that the provincial government will provide Sajjad with all possible support to establish a research workshop along with assistance in coordination with local and international companies.
Despite spending tens of thousands of rupees and losing his brother in a test flight, Sajjad is pursuing his dream with the same zest. Here’s hoping that the Qazi brothers excel in their work and more people can benefit from their inventions.
And did we mention that Qazi Sajjad’s two brothers Qazi Tufail Ahmad and Qazi Farhad has received presidential awards? Unfortunately, Qazi Farhad died when his plane crashed on August 11, 2001 while as for Qazi Tufail, he succeeded in flying an aircraft at high altitude during the annual Shandur festival.