K A Raja Gnanaprakasam is a 35-year-old high school dropout from Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. Some would immediately write him off as a failure. But they’d definitely be wrong.
The tenacious man with a sharp innovative mind is literally soaring high, having just designed a low-cost paraglider for just Rs 60,000!
A normal paraglider along with the harness and the reserve costs approximately ₹3 lakh and above. But armed with nothing but his own inventiveness and information from the internet, Gnanaprakasam has been taking to the skies every weekend, flying 60-70 km.
Speaking to the Times of India he notes that this project has been a passion of him for many years now. “I kept experimenting and came up with this design. I spent much of my youth working on this device. I managed to come up with a satisfactory paraglider only at the age of 35. I failed many times but that never stopped me from trying.”
Having dropped out in class 8 to help his father with farming, he still managed to get his education through correspondence and today has a Master’s degree in history.
Image for representation. Photo source
As of right now, he has built three paragliders and is already working on another edition. Ingeniously using engines that one finds in farming, his paragliders come with a device that measures the speed of wind called anemometer and a feature (altimeter) that displays the height at which one is flying while paragliding.
They can reach up to 120 kmph and a full tank can keep a person flying for at least 4 hours. Having no external training when it comes to the production of paragliders, he sometimes even took to YouTube to find tutorials!
Where there is a will, there is Gnanaprakasam paragliding away.