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“Sailing in the sky”—Amazing model ships from an 83-year-old builder

John Crafts


All Photos by Gianluca Giannone courtesy Blinking City

It can often be seen in fantasy movies and paintings; ships slowly rising from the water and flying through the clouds. This kind of scene now comes to real life in the studio of an 83-year-old elder. His name is Luigi Prina, originally from Italy, who was an architect for 20 years. This retired architect has been producing a variety of ships that not only have fantasy shapes, but also have the real ability to fly.

The ships are there, hanging down from the ceiling, waiting for a person to walk through. They are not in search of ocean. They come to life, yearning to sail in the sky. It feels like you are always ready to let them go, free to fly high above the ground.

The story of this miracle creator is warm and inspiring. It begins from a little boy’s beautiful dream.


The dream of building flying ships sounds unrealistic, but it has been in Prina’s heart since he was little. Luigi Prina entered and won a national aircraft modeling competition when he was 16 years old. The organizers asked the boy why his father couldn’t come and collect it himself when he went to claim the champion and prize. This little boy not only had big dream, but also owned great talent that others finf hard to believe. Nearly fifty years later, the now successful architect doesn’t need to prove himself anymore.


How did he get the idea of making a flying boat? One day he met a painter named Eugenio Tomiolo, who is also a boat builder. While they were talking, they made a bet that perhaps Prina could take one of his small model ships and make it fly like an airplane. It wasn’t long before a small flying boat was whirring in circles around Prina’s small studio. The studio coincidentally had lot of clouds painted on the ceiling, which made the ships look like they were sailing through the sky. With that, a new passion was born and Prina has dedicated nearly 20 years of his life to building flying model boats, bicycles and other unconventional aircraft.

The amazing boat models were made from lightweight paper and wood in order to reduce the weight. The final product usually weighs between 20 to 50 grams. The propellers of boats are driven by elastic rubber bands.

Luigi Prina regards all of his boats as his babies. He takes care of them, repairs them, and wipes away the dust, day and night. His whole life is lightened up by that small happiness everyday. It was a gift for Luigi Prina, as well as all of us. We arefortunate to see such wonderful creativeness with our own eyes.

Prina is like the Leonardo Da Vinci of flying boats. He had the ambition and strength to realize his dream. His talent is his tool. His eager is his incentive. Creativeness is something hiding in our daily lives. We all cansmile like a child when we find the thing that we obsessed with, as Luigi Prina does with his boats.










Written by Veronicka and Brought to you by Michigan Creative