Roaming among the clouds – Tharushika’s dream | Sunday Observer

Roaming among the clouds – Tharushika’s dream

12 January, 2020

Recently a schoolboy made his dream of building a helicopter come true - incredible but true. A.L.Tharushika Dilanka’s unique feat captured the hearts and minds of Sri Lankans and is a current hot topic in society , especially among the school going population.

An advanced level student of Kuruvita Madhya Maha Vidyalaya, (in the Ratnapura district of the Sabaragamuwa Province) Tharushika has been blessed with an intelligent and inquiring mind and a strong determination to achieve his goals. And these characteristics helped him do what he did- build a helicopter with all local materials.

Tharushika is preparing for his Advanced Level Examination in the IT stream offering Engineering Technology. Enterprising to the core this young boy while excelling in his studies ventured into various other activities.

Being of an innovative turn of mind from his young days Tharushika has been dismantling electrical equipment and turning out new products from them. Patience is another quality that Tharushika has been endowed with. So, whenever his creations did not work he did not fling them aside in disgust but patiently studied them to find out what was wrong and found a solution.

The idea of building a helicopter had been germinating in Tharushika’s mind for a while. But he first I concentrated on building a car for a technology exhibition at school but what changed his mind was the landing of a helicopter at the VC grounds in his village. After seeing it Tharushika revived his dream of building a helicopter and told father Pushpakumara and mother Inoka Dilhani who did not think it was possible and told their son so. His grandmother too held the same opinion as his parents. But Tharushika told them that whatever the circumstances he WILL BUILD A HELICOPTER.

Tharushika then approached his school principal, S. Athula Sirimevan and apprised him of his intention to build a helicopter. The understanding principal gave him all the encouragement saying “ yes son, you can do it – so go ahead.

As a first step Tharushika researched about helicopters. He spoke to people knowledgeable on the subject, read books and magazines and surfed the internet. Finally, this young innovator embarked on the practical side of the project - the actual building of the helicopter. Here, his father’s mechanical knowledge was of immeasurable value to him said Tharushika.

Money was somewhat of a problem when it came to sourcing the materials and components for the helicopter. Nothing daunted Tharushika set about overcoming this hurdle too.

He had money saved from the sale of fruits and vegetables from his home garden and the sale of durian from a tree in the garden. He also does electrical jobs like wiring for people to earn money and this is not easy as sometimes he has to work through the night and still go to school the next morning. Another income generating project of Tharushika’s is the manufacture and selling of LED bulbs. Tharushika also has a small sales outlet where he markets his LED bulbs.

Tharushika now utilised his savings to buy the necessary materials. The shortfall was covered by loans but what is very noteworthy is that he never worried his parents for money. It was all his own financial effort. Recently, when Tharushika went and met Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobekkaduwa , the Governor gifted Rs. 25,000 in cash and Tharushika used this to settle his loans.

The search for components tedious and tiring. Father had to scour Panchikawatte and similar outlets for them. Sometimes, tired out, Gamini Pushpakumara would tell his son “ let’s call it a day and go home. But Tharushika would refuse and continue the search

His ingenuity knew no bounds. The engine came from a racing bike and light weight galvanisd pipes, aluminium sheets were among the other materials used. The engine also has a water cooling system. The wings had to be adjusted several times. Finally, after many trials a helicopter which could be airborne was built by enterprising and innovative S. Tharushika Dilanka to the amazement of all who saw it and the delight of those who believed and encouraged him like principal Athula S. Sirimevan.

The principal S. Athula Sirimevan and Tharushika informed the Officer-in Charge of the Kuruvita Police Station about the helicopter. He promised to help but said that the helicopter cannot be airborne without the express permission of the Sri Lanka Air Force. Respecting the Law of the Land Tharushika has grounded his helicopter and is now working towards getting his helicopter airborne. He is also hoping to enter the Guinness Book of Records.

Another factor which stood Tharushika in good stead in this Herculean task was the disciplined training he received as a boy scout.

Principal Athula S. Sirimevan is delighted at his pupil’s feat and praised Tharushika as an exemplary student who is also very innovative and determined to succeed. He has pledged his full support to Tharushika in his helicopter project. Tharushika is very grateful to his parents, principal, the teacher in charge of the Technology section and all other staff there, other staff members of the school, his school friends, Samantha, Pathum, Ushan and Madhawa, and last but not least to his younger brother, Sasandu Sathsara and younger sister Nimali Nivarthana for all their loving support .

Tharushika ‘s ambition is to be an aeronautical engineer. His future vision for Sri Lanka is for aircraft to be locally built.

The Youth Observer wishes Tharushika good luck and all success in the future.

Pix by Ranjith Asanka