Emirates airline builds its own aircraft


Emirates airline, which normally makes the headlines for buying aircraft, has decided to build one and today unveiled the light sport aircraft to the world.


The two-seater RV 12 is six metres long and is the result of thousands of hours of dedication by a group of Emirates’ engineering trainees, working in their spare time.

Over a two year period, the group of 40 trainees rose to the challenge of assembling 11,000 parts of the aircraft.

“The trainees’ first task was to unpack the crates, check the components against the inventory and create a storage system where items could be easily retrieved,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer.

The build process started with the aircraft’s tailfin and rudder. Along the way, students learnt about the alignment of different sections, anti-corrosive treatments, painting, drilling, wiring, testing and approval processes. Click here to see the short video of the build process.

“The canopy and rear window proved to be a huge challenge as the thermoplastic glass had to be drilled without cracking. This required extreme patience and was fortunately completed without any mishaps,” continued Mr. Al Redha.

Not surprisingly, the project has already drawn quite a bit of attention and visitors to Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai.


The propeller-driven aircraft, weighing in at 335 kilogrammes and with a wingspan of 8.1 metres, is a far cry from its larger relatives in the Emirates’ fleet.

The RV 12 has a range of around 900 kilometres, a top speed of 217 kilometres per hour, and would just about make it to Doha in Qatar, Salalah in Oman or Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Constructing this aircraft from scratch is a tremendous achievement for our trainees whose knowledge and hands on technical experience have now been significantly enhanced,” said Mr. Al Redha.

The aircraft will be used to promote Emirates’ UAE National training programmes. It will also be on display at the Dubai Air Show, running between 17-21st November at Al Maktoum International, Dubai World Central in Jebel Ali.


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