Johannesburg: A team led by a South African Indian-origin innovator has received a national award for a project he has been working on for almost a decade to create a pioneering vertical take-off and landing aircraft.
The Pegasus Universal Aerospace Team, led by well-known aesthetics doctor Reza Mia, 40, received the prestigious National Science and Technology (NSTF) award in the category for Innovation and research.
The NSTF Awards – which are endorsed by the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation – honour and celebrate outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation.
“For the design and development of a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that is envisaged to create between 7,000 and 11,000 new jobs and the development of the necessary skills locally, the award goes to the Pegasus Universal Aerospace Team,” said the citation which was read before Mia collected the Award.
“I’m excited and grateful to have been awarded this innovation award for the Pegasus Vertical Business Jet,” Mia said afterwards, expressing the hope that gaining recognition for his idea at that level would open up many doors internationally for the project which he initiated in 2012.
“I have always wanted to design my own aircraft, based on my personal work travel experiences, with a genuine passion for the future of aviation solutions that save time,” Mia said.
Over the years, he has assembled a team of specialists in engineering, flight control systems, flight testing and conceptual design to work on the project.
“What makes our VTOL so different and unique is that it surpasses rotary solution convenience with up to four times more range and four times the speed of a true business jet and, most importantly, enhanced safety features. One of its most impressive design characteristics is that it can fit onto a helipad, land on unpaved surfaces and on conventional runways. It can also land on yachts with ease and safety,” he said.
Mia has also created an opportunity for private investors to invest in the project by purchasing shares for the development of the jet from as little as $15 per share.