Thirty years ago, Alfie Carrington of Clinton Township, Detroit, got obsessed with science fiction and set out to build his own personal UFO. Never mind that he didn't know a lick of computer or engineering!
Inspired by ordinary Americans like Orville and Wilbur Wright, who piloted the first heavier-than-air aircraft 103 years ago this month, Carrington pored over books, magazines and studies about aviation. Never mind his lack of engineering experience.
He has spent nearly $60,000 for some of the materials he believes are needed to launch his creation -- a lot for a man who drives a rusted 1986 Mercury Cougar.
Carrington does it because he believes he has discovered a simple design for an aircraft that aeronautical engineers have spent countless millions trying to build.
"People are going to say I'm nuts," Carrington shrugged.
Unlike aeronautical engineers who have tried to build vessels for commercial flight -- most notably those who entered the X-Prize contest for a reusable privately built suborbital spacecraft -- Carrington's aim is more terrestrial. He wants to replace the automobile with a Jetsons-style vehicle.