For the past half-dozen years, Luca Iaconi-Stewart has combined his love of airplanes with this talent for building meticulous models out of manila folders.
The San Francisco man has been turning these office mainstays into a model of an Air India Boeing 777-300ER, complete with such details as flight deck controls, operable engine thrust reversers and toilet paper in the lavatories.
The project recently caught the attention of Boeing executives, including Elizabeth Lund, 77 vice president and general manager.
“Luca’s work is remarkable and highlights the beautiful design of the 777. I am thoroughly impressed by his craftsmanship and replication of our design,” she said in a blog post.
Iaconi-Stewart has been chronicling the project on Flickr and was kind enough to let us feature his photos. He also answered our questions.
Read more about the project below and click through a gallery above.
What inspired you to do this?
I took an architecture class in high school and learned to use manila folder as a rough building material. I realized that it was an incredibly versatile and readily available paper that lends itself well to a variety of modeling techniques. It’s proved to be, for the most part, very workable and yet resilient.
Why a 777?
I really just love the way it looks, especially the -300ER. I think the proportions are great and details like the wingtips and the engine fan blades are beautiful to me.
Why Air India?
I like their livery for one, and they also had a detailed seat map posted several years back that made it easier to figure out the cabin arrangement.
Do you have a background and/or job in aviation?
I have neither, but I try my best to follow the aviation world online (airliners.net etc). It fascinates me for some reason.
How long did it take?
I started the model in 2008 and have worked on it on and off since then. It’s definitely not a full-time endeavor. It’s probably been closer to 1.5 or two solid years of work. Much of that has been spent on creating the computer drawings — as I’m sure you know, there are no engineering drawings publicly available.
What do you plan to do with it?
Not sure, but I don’t much see the point of keeping it locked up. It’s something that I think people should be able to see in person.
What has the response been like?
I’ve had tremendous response in the past several days, which is new to me — this is the first time I’ve shared this much information about what I’m doing publicly.
What else do you think is important to mention about the project?
I think there’s a lot more than meets the eye. It’s easy to see it as just a model airplane that has consumed a lot of time, but it’s really been a learning experience in many ways. I’ve had to teach myself how the actual plane functions, down to the smallest details, and I’ve had to develop a system for creating all the plans in a way that lends itself to paper assembly. It’s an investment in many ways, one that I hope will serve me down the road.
What else do you plan to do to the model?
I’m currently working on the wings but they’re very complex pieces. Thankfully, they’re the final components I need to put together. I hope to be done mid-year, but it could be sooner or later than that.