State Minister declares open "Lihiniya" for public display
State Minister of Defence Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene
declared open the "Lihiniya" aircraft for public display at the Sri
Lanka Air Force Museum in Ratmalana this morning (4th Thursday, June
2015). The 'Lihiniya' once belonged to late Dr. Ray Wijewardene, the
renowned engineer, innovator and aviator.
The Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal KA
Gunatilleke and family members of late Dr. Wijewardene were also
present at the occasion.
State Minister Wijewardene handed over a model
replica of "Lihiniya" to the representatives of Dr. Wijewardene's
family for their magnanimous gesture in allowing the vintage
aircraft for public display.
Philip Revatha (Ray) Wijewardene was born in
Colombo August 1924. He had his primary and secondary education at
Ladies' College, Colombo, and St Thomas' College Mount Lavinia. He
proceeded to Peterhouse College, Cambridge University, UK, where he
studied three branches of engineering aeronautical, mechanical
and agricultural. He also earned qualifications in business
administration from the Harvard Business School, and later received
honorary degrees from universities in the UK and Sri Lanka.
In 1955, Ray designed the world's first
two-wheeled, hand tractor.
He has held many important appointments including
as the Chairman of the Tea Research Board, and head of the Inventors
Commission. He was Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa from
2002 to 2007.
He was awarded the highest national honours of
Vidya Jyothi (Luminary of Science) and Deshamanya (Pride of the
Nation) for distinguished public service by the government.
Speaking at the event the State Minister
Wijewardene highlighted the valuable service rendered by Dr.
Wijewardene to the agricultural, engineering and aviation field in
Sri Lanka and also expressed his gratitude to Dr. Wijewardene's
"Lihiniya" is a Kitfox Model 2 aircraft produced
by the Denney Kitfox Aircraft Company in the USA. The particular
aircraft had been brought to Sri Lanka in 1990 and assembled by Dr.
After his passing away in 2010, the aircraft was
passed on to a few aviation enthusiasts before being taken into the
guardianship of the Sri Lanka Air Force on 11th March 2015.
State Minister Wijewardene also visited the Air
Force museum, souvenir shop and workshop during the occasion.
Chief of Staff Air Vice Marshal GP Bulathsinghala,
senior Air Force officers and media personnel were present at the