Trippy ‘Airplane’ transports travelers in Taiwan

Written by By Staff Writer

Anyone fortunate enough to see a World War II fighter plane in flight in the 21st century would likely find the bill-owing vortex of the wing befuddling, but such is the beauty of Taiwanese designer Pang Ming-wei’s “Birds of Paradise” wooden “airplane” — constructed in a workshop on the island’s island of Chungking.

“Birds of Paradise” is part of an international project from the 2010 Venice Biennale, and is regularly flown across Taiwan. You can see the craft and the story behind it in a recent video interview with CNN’s Ben Wedeman.

Flights cost around the world ($22,000) for the journey from Taiwan to south China. But to fly commercial is not yet an option — in fact, the company flying the craft, Air Watercraft (Taiwan) International, don’t even sell seats.

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Co-founded by Dr Yin Yuan Tung and retired pilot Chung Tung Hsien, Air Watercraft first began operating out of Taiwan’s Xinyu Airport in 2012.

“We decided to build this airship because we saw that there were few businesses like us in Taiwan,” Tung Hsien told CNN. “Tourists wanted something different, something fresh, something unique.

“We believe airship flight is the future of transportation and tourism.”

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