Hong Kong’s first ever homebuilt aircraft successfully took off at the airport this morning. The two-seater propeller aircraft soared 900 metres into the cloudy skies at around 7:30 am, making two rounds in the air before descending 15 minutes later. The HK$1.5 million plane, named B-KOO “Inspiration”, is the first aircraft constructed, registered and certified in Hong Kong. “The ‘Inspiration’ project has been a labour of love for a big group of people over the past seven years and I would like to thank everyone who helped to make my childhood dream become a reality,” said Cathay Pacific captain Hank Cheng Chor-hang who piloted its maiden flight. Cheng bought the kit from Van’s Aircraft Inc, an American aircraft manufacturer, and built it from scratch along with 10 other team members and hundreds of secondary school students from St. Paul’s Convent School over the years. “I’m very happy, I don’t think it could have turned out any better,” said Cheng, who was worried the rainy weather would put a damper on their plans to fly. “All the work in the seven years paid off, and it doesn’t only carry meaning for me, but also for the team.” The team, consisting of engineers and technicians also from Cathay, were also in charge of all pre-flight testing and documenting risk assessments, making sure the plane adhered to all operational standards. Cheng spent 261 weeks training to fly the propeller plane in the United States last month – a completely different proposition to the Boeing 777s he usually pilots for Cathay. The plane still has to complete the rest of its flight test program, which means Cheng has to log at least 25 hours of flying time before the plane is considered completely safe to fly internationally. Afterwards he hopes to embark on an around-the-world journey that would span across 50 countries and would take around four months to complete. “I’ve been flying commercial for 14 years, a lot of times when you fly through all these countries, you never really get a chance to get a good look at the places,” Cheng told the Post. His plan is to depart from Hong Kong in June 2016, head north to China, go east through Russia, North America, Iceland, Europe, head back down to India, Thailand and complete the round trip back to the city by September. Cheng added that it would make history as the first Hong Kong single engine aircraft to make the trip. The amateur-built aircraft, an RV-8, is 6.46m long with a wingspan of 7.38m, and has a top speed of 360km/h. The plane is able to make a trip roughly the distance from Hong Kong to Taiwan in five hours before it would have to refuel. There are currently more than 9,000 similar RV models certified around the world.