The world’s first aircraft to be constructed from hemp is nearing completion.
Brainchild of Canadian businessman Derek Kesek – CEO of Hempearth – the plane has a wingspan of 36 feet and is even powered by hemp oil.
Remarkably, almost the whole interior is also made of hemp – including the seat cushions!
Hemp is fast-becoming one of the world’s most versatile construction materials, and it could prove to be valuable to the wider aerospace industry as it is lighter than aluminium and fibreglass and can also be rendered 10 times stronger than traditional aircraft components.
Montreal-based Hempearth has been experimenting with the development of hemp composites, but the aircraft project looks set to catch the attention of aerospace manufacturers throughout the world.
“This plane project is our first experiment with industrial hemp, and we plan to explore many other uses,” said CEO Derek Kesek.
“Once we establish structural testing and information from this project, we will apply it to other forms of construction.
Sky may not be the limit
“This is the kind of future we all want here on Earth, and the sky may not be the limit.”
Once completed and tested, Mr Kesek and his aircraft construction team say they hope to make the plane’s first flight in the shadow of the Wright Brothers Memorial near Kittyhawk, North Carolina, where the world’s first powered flight took place on December 17 1903.
It’s not clear yet if the test flight will be just the pilot, or if passengers (the plane has capacity for four passengers) will also be on board.
However, the aircraft isn’t the first mode of transport constructed by Hempearth. The company has already manufactured hemp surfboards and stand-up paddleboards, and is in the process of designed hemp mobile phone casings as part of what Mr Kesek attributes to an obsession with making things.
“I build things organically and take it one thing at a time,” Kesek adds.
“Richard Branson is my biggest inspiration because he is showing that it’s not business as usual any more – if you want something, you go get it.”