KUALA PILAH: As a child, Anuar Nordin longed to play with one of those fancy remote-controlled planes he had seen on television.
But being a kampung boy, he thought his wish was merely a pie in the sky and had to contend with traditional pastimes like top spinning and shooting with catapults in his village in Johol here.
As he grew older, Anuar never gave up on his dream of flying his own remote-controlled aircraft although he put it in the back-burner when he joined the Royal Malaysian Navy in June 1987.
The retired RMN warrant officer, now aged 51, only managed to get hold of one of those gadgets after he left the navy in June 2012.
What started as a hobby soon became a passion and before long, he was designing and making his own remote-controlled planes. And, he has become so adept at it that his “toys” are being snapped up by fellow enthusiasts, thus providing this self-taught model aircraft maker with an income stream post-retirement.
Recalling the first model he owned for which he paid RM950, the single father of six said since he had no idea how to operate it, the plane “crash-landed” each time he tried to fly it and was eventually damaged.
“I had some friends who shared my interest so I learnt from them how to operate a remote-controlled plane. Due to my deep-rooted interest in these gadgets, I was willing to spend a lot of time learning the technical ins and outs of operating them,” he told Bernama, adding that he also learnt from YouTube videos and blogs.
Anuar said it took him about a year to learn to fly a remote-controlled plane skilfully. Not only that, but he also managed to create his own designs, based on which he constructed his own models out of foam board.
“Initially, I was only interested in finding out how remote-controlled planes function and the techniques of flying one. But over time my interest deepened and I envisioned designing my own models,” he said.
Anuar’s first properly constructed remote-controlled plane was modelled after a Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft that cost him RM950 to make.
“All my remote-controlled planes are modelled after fighter aircrafts such as Jet Mitsubishi F-22, Jet Nova, Eurofighter Typhoon, MiG and Polaris,” he said, adding that he turned his hobby into a source of income for himself following requests from fellow enthusiasts to buy his models.
“My charges are not that high as I wish to see more people, especially youths, taking up this hobby.”
Anuar, who can make 20 to 30 remote-controlled plane models in a month, uses his Facebook social media account to promote his gadgets and according to him, his Sukhoi Su-35 and Mitsubishi F-22 are the most sought-after models.
Making a remote-controlled plane is not all that complicated, particularly if one has mastered the construction techniques, said Anuar.
“Making an attractive and good quality model also requires artistry, creativity and patience,” he added.
To make a model plane, the following materials are needed — foam board, hot glue, knife, ruler, 2,400KV electric motor, battery, adhesive tape, fibre rod, wires and stickers.
The basic structure of a model plane costs between RM300 and RM500 to make. The cost adds up to about RM1,000 together with the hand-held transmitter and battery.
Each of Anuar’s model planes weighs about 700 to 800 grammes and is 1.21-metre long and can fly at a speed of between 70 and 90 kilometres per hour.
Anuar’s expertise in making remote-controlled planes has caught the eye of schools in Negeri Sembilan as he often gets invitations from them to hold demonstrations for their students.
“In our country, the level of involvement in remote-controlled plane activities is rather low when compared to our neighbours like Thailand and Indonesia where schools have been involved in this activity for many years.
“This activity will benefit students as it will inspire them to become a pilot or pursue higher studies in aeronautical engineering,” he said, adding that it does not necessarily have to be an expensive hobby as some remote-controlled planes were inexpensive. – Bernama