A group of South African teens is set to make aviation history as they plan to fly a light aircraft they built themselves from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt.
The group of 20 plans to fly the 10,139km distance on June 12th 2019 in a plane they have assembled themselves. The teens built the aircraft in two weeks under the guidance of The Airplane Factory, U-Dream mentors and five team leaders from Denel Aviation.
17-year-old teen pilot Megan Werner founded U-Dream Global, which supervised the building of the aircraft, in order to promote science, technology, engineering, mathematics education, innovation, youth empowerment and skills development.
“The purpose is to show Africa and even the world that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” Werner, told South African media outlet News24 on Wednesday (29.05.19).
“The challenge has enabled us to take a lot of teenagers from different backgrounds to teach and equip them with life skills that they can take with them into the future,” added Werner.
The flight will take the team through cities in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea on their way to Egypt. The normal flight time in a commercial passenger jet is about 12 hours, and for the group, safety is a primary concern.
“Africa can be quite a hostile continent especially if you choose the wrong countries. You will notice our route starts in Cape Town and then heads up to Namibia, before cutting across to the east coast of Africa,” said Werner.
While logistics and support are being provided by CFS, ExecuJet, Worldfuel and The Airplane Factory, the team needs R350, 000 (Kshs 2.4M) for fuel, accommodation, crew support, documentation and other costs.
They have established a BackaBuddy campaign to raise the extra cash. The deadline for the campaign is June 30th 2019, as the flight is expected to take more than a month.
Once they reach Cairo, the group plans to fly home to SA. The return leg is expected to include cities in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. “The challenge is called Cape To Cairo, but the plan is actually Cape to Cairo and back again,” said Werner.