Doctor has plan for vertical jet
Sky’s the limit for plastic surgeon
PLASTIC surgeon Reza Mia is a true high-flyer. He’s a doctor whose greatest desire in life has real wings.
The first clue is his Killarney office, which is more of a hangar than a doctor’s room, the model airplanes suggesting the doctor’s airborne adventures.
Last week the 33-year-old aviation-mad aesthetic medicine specialist travelled to Toulouse, France, where he was invited by leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus to present his idea of the world’s first commercial vertical takeoff and landing airplane.
Mia spent the past four years designing a vertical business jet (VBJ) – an attempt to revolutionise luxury travel that combines the best of fixed wings and helicopters.
The airplane can accommodate up to eight passengers and can fly up to six-and-a-half hours at 798km/h.
While he still has plenty of work to do before his vertical business jet can take to the skies, Mia said Airbus was impressed with his design.
Mia, the brother of plastic surgeon Ridwan Mia who worked on burn victim Pippie Kruger, said: “We are capable of finishing the design and manufacturing the aeroplane without any outside assistance, but it would be nice to have them (Airbus) as a partner as it would speed up the process.”
Should all go to plan, Mia expects the first vertical business jets to be manufactured in three to five years and for it to go on sale to prospective buyers in the next five to seven years. He estimates that the vertical business jet will initially sell for around $15 million.
Mia said what set his design apart was that the jet would be able to land anywhere.
“It flies at true business jet speeds and can land on any surface (even dry grass) without setting fire to it, thanks to the cool air fans that are used for the vertical take off and landing.
“The airplane will be much quieter than helicopters and possess far greater speed, range and safety.
“This will appeal to anyone who in the past has owned both a business jet and a helicopter, but also to helicopter owners, governments, companies, game farms, mines, owner pilots, anti-poaching and anti-piracy organisations, emergency rescue, and transport and flight enthusiasts.”
With plenty of competitors and no track record in the aviation industry, Mia knew his design would have to be “special” to compete.
“I wanted to produce a business jet, but I knew that if we were to produce something on par with the leaders in business jet manufacturing, no one would buy it because we would be a new start-up without a track record.
“Therefore the airplane would need to be unique in the world. I brainstormed and assessed a few conceptual ideas, but vertical take-off and landing is the one that stuck with me.”
From there, he hired an engineering firm to do a conceptual design study, “and we have steadily progressed from there”.
Together with looking after his patients and designing an airplane, Mia is also in the process of getting his pilot’s licence.
He said there was no way he was going to miss out on flying his own plane.
“This is my main reason for going for flying lessons. I’d really like to fly my own airplane so that I get to share in the fun of flying the VBJ and, of course, it would make for great marketing if the CEO and founder of the company were to fly the airplane himself.”
While his love for planes has kept him very busy, Mia said he had no intention of walking away from his day job as a plastic surgeon.
“I put my patients first. Aesthetic medicine is easy to schedule because the patients are not sick or in need of urgent help.
“The two fields are similar. Both rely on physics, basic sciences, art and problem solving, and that creativity cannot be confined to a single discipline. It must be exploited wherever it emerges,” he said.
Plastic surgeon Reza Mia, 33, is planning the world’s first vertical take-off business jet. He says it could be ready in five years but he won’t walk away from his day job as a plastic surgeon.