The limits of passion (revisited)

Five years ago today, I wrote a little blog post here about this guy, Gabriel Nderitu, an I.T. worker in Kenya who had a passion to fly an airplane he built himself, using only what he learned on the Internet.

For a few days, he became the darling of the Internet. Nobody had the heart to tell him that plane would never fly.

At the time, James Fallows provided a takeaway that resonates just as much today. There are plenty of people who don’t have the same opportunities as others, “but who take their own life drama and possibilities just as seriously and can dream just as ambitiously.”

Whatever happened to Mr. Nderitu? That plane pictured above didn’t fly. So he made some changes. And that didn’t fly, either. Eight more times he made changes, and eight more times he ended up with a really nifty go-cart.

But on try number 11 late last year…. well… it didn’t fly then either.

Try number 12 failed, too. Then a couple of months ago, he tried number 13.

In August, number 14 went bust too.

For the record, Clyde Cessna — yes, that Cessna — crashed his plane 12 times before he got one to fly.

Meanwhile, some aviators in the upper Midwest, by way of the Wisconsin-based Experimental Aircraft Association, have tried to gin up interest in sending him some resources. But so far, the effort has fizzled.

Mr. Nderitu’s passion isn’t contagious.

Have a passionate day!