All of us have made paper planes as kids, probably the first and the only form of origami most of us will ever learn. Airplane aficionados are found making mind blowing sketches and detailed models of aircraft but not nearly as crazy as this young artist from San Francisco who has spent the last nine years of his life creating a perfect 1:60 scale replica of a Boeing 777.
Luca Iaconi-Stewart, a 25-year-old designer, has given his paper plane project 10,000 hours over a period of 9 hours and he calls himself the “crazy guy who loves aviation.” The awe-inspiring project began back in 2008 when Luca saw a picture of Air India Boeing 777 on the internet which made him think, “the proportions were just so nice. But there were no engineering drawings available.” Then began his hunt for the Boeing 777 plans and photos.
Then began his hunt for the Boeing 777 plans and pictures and the vast world of the internet found him just that. “Luckily, these days there’s a wealth of photos and videos online that don’t really leave any detail to the imagination. Over the years I’ve amassed a collection of hundreds of images that I’ve used to draw up my own plans. I also got hold of the training manual for the 777-200ER that someone randomly posted online, and that’s been immensely helpful for sections like the wings, which I’m currently designing.”
As soon as Luca got his hands on the required materials, he began working on the computer drawings, which he printed on manila folders, cutting them out with an X-Acto Knife. Just to grab the tiny parts and glue them together, he needed the help of tweezers.
You might think to get the airplane, and its body right was his only mission, but it wasn’t. He replicated all details of the plane as tiny as the bolts and hinges to the GE90-115B engines and the hydraulic pipes.
Luca’s paper plane project was brought to the limelight back in 2004 after he had spent an entire year in completing just the passenger seats. An economy class seat took 20 minutes of his time, but each of the business and the first class seats took six and eight hours respectively. His dedication to his project made him drop out of college.
The young artist’s dedication to his project made him drop out of college and the nine years that he has spent until now are just not enough because the project is still incomplete. He is currently building some of the last major parts, the wings of the Boeing 777 but that is not satisfactory enough for the designer who said that I am “not as far as I’d have liked. I spent most of the last year working on an ad for Singapore Airlines, and I am just now getting back into wing design, which is the last major part I have to assemble,” the designer said. “I’m currently working on the slats (there’s an update on my YouTube channel), and will likely move to the flaps in the near future. The end date is constantly evolving, and I’m guessing that it’ll take me at least the rest of the year to get the project done — I saved the most complex part for last!”
The paper plane model, despite being incomplete is a fabulous piece of art that even the Boeing 777 pilot Captain Richard Sowden found breathtaking and said, “This is an amazingly accurate model of the GE90 engine. It’s fascinating to follow the build through the slide sequence and view the details in the engine made solely from paper.”
Luca Iaconi-Stewart was asked if another airplane model will follow up this project to which he said, “Somehow I doubt it’s the last plane I’ll build, but I’m in no rush to start another similar project, at least not as a hobby. I’d like to possibly explore other areas of design and venture outside the model-making realm to broaden my horizons a bit. We’ll see what the future holds!”
We anticipate the completion of this project, and you can follow the progress on the artist’s YouTube channel.
Images: Lucas Iaconi-Stewart