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How a boy's flights of fancy took off

By HU DONGMEI in Yinchuan and LI HONGYANG in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-11 07:36
Liu Yibing and members of his aero sports club perform power paragliding at an air show held in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Reach for the sky

The support from his family and the local community was mixed.

Liu's father passed away in 1982. His stepfather was a village doctor and wanted him to follow in his footsteps. But at the age of 18, Liu found himself sitting at a desk unable to absorb the content of the medical textbooks. He persuaded his stepfather to support his hobby.

Liu's mother, a farmer, was far more understanding. She sold an apartment for 200,000 yuan in 2009 and gave all the money to him to buy the materials to build a plane.

"My mother supported me because I had no job and she feared that I would join some bad group. Making planes let me concentrate on a hobby that was less disagreeable to her," he said.

Villagers' negativity about Liu's sky-high ambition motivated him to succeed. Some said he was a daydreamer and if he managed to build a plane all the college students and teachers should quit their positions and give their places to him.

Barely anyone believed a farmer's son could fly a plane, let alone one he built himself. He would prove them all wrong.

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