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Genius College Kid Gets Drunk, Designs an Entire Airplane, and Can’t Remember Any of It

Students at Michigan Tech rally around the anonymous engineer behind one of the best booze-fueled escapades in recent memory.

image via twitter / spacepeople

The fact that college students tend to go out, get drunk, and do stupid things isn’t, in and of itself, all that remarkable. What would be remarkable is if, in the midst of a drunken episode, a college student were to put their expensive education to good use, and–perhaps bolstered by lowered inhibitions–design something genuinely creative, and of potential benefit to the general public.


That, as it happens, is exactly what occurred this past weekend at Michigan Technological University. There, after a night of booze-soaked revelry, one mechanical engineering student stumbled back to his dorm room, and proceeded to design an entire airplane, nose to tail, complete with complex aerodynamic calculations, and rough model sketches. Upon sobering up, however, this boozy brainiac had absolutely no recollection of ever having created his own model of flying machine.

Keith Fraley, roommate to the designer-in-question documented the alcohol-fueled design session on Twitter:

image via twitter / spasepeople

It’s worth noting that the vehicle in question technically isn’t an airplane at all. It’s actually an “ekranoplan,” a plane-like structure which skims over the surface of a body of water, rather than lifts off to become fully airborn.

Tens of thousands of retweets later, and the Michigan Tech roommates have become bona fide mini-celebs, attracting the attention of aeronautics and alcohol enthusiasts, alike. Speaking with The Guardian, the drunken designer (using the pseudonym “Mark”) and Fraley offered a few insights into how a night of drinking could lead to an entirely new ekranoplan design. Explains Fraley :

It all started around 11.30pm. Mark burst into the room in a drunken sway, asking where his textbooks were and after greeting me he rushed back out of the room. From what the person who brought him up [to the shared accommodation] was saying, Mark had a ton of rum and vodka-mixed drinks.

He then came stumbling back two minutes later to grab his giant whiteboard. I just laughed as I sat on the computer listening to his murmurs. Around 1.30am, he came back and he sat on the couch with a worn look on his face.

My friend Cody and I both looked at Mark as he then began to spew information about his whiteboard designed craft and the calculations behind it. Cody and I were in tears from laughter because the aerospace mathematics he tried telling us about sounded like a slurred robot. I did no encouraging towards the creation of this, but I did encourage him to continue talking because it was hilarious.

While a graph paper sketch and whiteboard full of calculations is, indeed, impressive, it’s important to note that they are not, in and of themselves, a foolproof design. But, says Fraley, there are plans to test the creation as a “remote-control model” with other mechanical engineering students.

The designer himself has reportedly chosen to remain anonymous, for fear that his drunken escapade could negatively impact future job prospects. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from landing on the radar of some interested parties, dutifully impressed at his mechanical engineering skills. Tweeted Fraley two days after his initial pictures went viral:

image via twitter / spasepeople

[via guardian]