Omid Sarmadi has developed a set of 1:200 scale ground service equipment and accessories for collectors and offers a range of products includes from belt loaders, and ground power units to regional passenger loading bridges. We sit down with Omid for a brief interview in our latest Manufacturer’s corner series.
DF: What led to your initial interest in aviation? Are you a model collector as well?
OS: I grew up with family on three continents and have I’ve been traveling via air since my childhood. That is when I fell in love with flying and aviation in general. I am an avid model collector and currently have a fairly large fleet of 1/200 scale aircraft.
DF: Do you remember your very first model? How old were you?
OS: The first model I obtained was part of a toy set with the various oversized ground service equipment pieces that you used to be able to find at any airport. I’ve been playing with those since I was a less than a year old. My older brother is an aviation enthusiast as well and I have memories of breaking his models as a child. My first real model I would have to say was an old Schabak 1/600 scale Delta Air Lines L-1011 when I was around 6 years old.
DF: Do you have an airport diorama?
OS: I am currently in the process of building a larger diorama for myself. It’s a long process and I am really picky on details so I want everything to be perfect which has led me to take apart dioramas before they are even finished. I do have a couple small terminal-like buildings that I use for pictures to show off my latest ground service equipment and airport creations.
DF: What inspired you to design airport diorama and ground service equipment?
OS: I started with jetways and passenger boarding bridges, mainly because I wanted some for myself to create a diorama. I was unable to find any diorama accessories at the time, so I figured I’d create my own. The ground service equipment was the next step after I created a jetway I was very satisfied with.
DF: What products do you offer?
OS: At the moment I offer 3 types of jetways (Single, Wide-Body, and A380), baggage carts, tractors, belt loaders, ground power units (GPUs). I also have regional aircraft boarding ramps, cargo pallets, carry-on baggage carts for regional aircraft as well as custom items such as a control tower I crafted for a customer about a year ago.
DF: The detail of your products is amazing. Can you take us through the steps of the design and construction process for your ground service equipment accessories?
Every product starts with looking at hundreds of pictures and blueprints of the real version of whatever I am planning on creating. Next the file is designed on one of a few types 3D design software (Autocad, Rhino). Once it is designed, it is formatted to be able to be printed in 3D. After the designing and formatting is complete, the file heads to the printer where most of my products are produced in several pieces to help create the detail that is necessary to make them look acceptable next to some very fine models.
DF: How long does the design and building process take?
OS: Every piece of GSE is different, but it ranges from 30 minutes of design and 15 minutes of building for some of my smaller pieces to up to 50 hours of design that was put into the jetways. The actual production time can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a whole day depending on the size and complexity of the piece.
DF: What material do you use do design your ground service equipment?
OS: At the moment, all of my models are made from PLA, a common 3D printable plastic.
DF: Any future plans?
OS: My ultimate goal is to be able to provide collectors with a full airport set up which would include a terminal, jetways, and ground service equipment. This is something that is in the foreseeable future.
DF: How much do your products cost?
OS: My products range from as low as $2 for certain baggage carts, to up to $90 for a custom A380 jetway. Belt loaders, GPUs, tractors and regional aircraft ramps are all in the $8-10 range though, while individual carts run anywhere from $2-5 each depending on the level of detail wanted.
DF: Where can collectors order your products?
OS: At the moment, my website is being built and I hope to have it up and running in the next few months. In the meantime, collectors can feel free to contact me at email@example.com with any questions about pricing or for pictures of my products.