Southport man plans Bahamas trip in homemade plane


SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — A Southport man is almost finished building his own ultralight plane with hopes of making an international flight.

Although aviation is in his blood, Norman Lewis says the flight he wants to make is different than anything that’s been done before.

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“I guess this is my Lindbergh flight,” Lewis said.

Lewis has had the vision to turn an ultralight plane into much more for around 20 years. Now, after a year of putting it together, his plane is nearly ready for a flight from Southport to the Bahamas.

“I want to prove that an ultralight can actually be used for payload utility and purposes of travel or whatever,” Lewis said. “You can get past the hustle and bustle or airports and fly down there yourself.”

To be an ultralight plane it must weigh less than 250 pounds, only hold the pilot and no more than five gallons of gas. If you reach those qualifications you can fly without a license, and get pretty good gas mileage while doing it.

“It’s a generator engine designed to run at really high RPMs for long periods of time, and with the good air speed and tail wind, I’m estimating I can probably make it to the Florida line with three gallons of gas,” Lewis said.

Lewis says this is his baby and possibly a prototype for a future business. His vision, is to make flying affordable to the average person.

“I’m trying to find a way available to just about anybody,” he said. “Do you want a wave runner or an airplane? You can leave the country in this thing. You do the math.”

Lewis says he’ll spend nearly 18 hours in the air and make a few stops for gas along the way to the bahamas.

He plans to make the trip this fall.