An aircraft built by South African teenager has effectively arrived in Egypt three weeks after it set off from Cape Town.
The four-seater Sling 4 plane was built by a group of 20 students from vastly different backgrounds. The team arrived in Namibia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Uganda during the 12,000km (7,455 miles) trip. Pilot Megan Werner, 17, organizer of U-Dream Global task, said she was excited by the achievement.
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She said: “I’m so honored to have made a difference around the continent at the places we’ve stopped. The purpose of the initiative is to show Africa that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,”
Another Sling 4 plane, flown by expert pilots, accompanied the teen flyers, whose goal was to give motivational talks for other teenagers along the way. The young people assembled the aircraft in three weeks from a kit manufactured in South Africa by the Airplane Factory.
Development included assembling a large number of small. Megan’s father, Des Werner, who is a commercial pilot, said it would normally take 3,000 man hours to assemble a Sling 4.
Megan said: “When we eventually got it, the support aircraft started leaking fuel so they couldn’t fly with us and only two people – Driaan van den Heever, the safety pilot, and I carried on, We were concerned about flying across Sudan because of the political unrest in that country. Driaan van den Heever and I flew alone for 10 hours, without the support aircraft, so it was two teenagers, all by ourselves with no support,”
The two pilots experienced an issue with one of their flying frameworks about an hour into Egyptian airspace. So they chose it is smarter to arrive at the nearest domestic airport in Cairo, instead of the international airport as planned.
Des Werner said: “That created a little chaos but it was done in the interest of safety, In the end it was just a loose connection which they sorted out but the bureaucratic process took a while to sort out because they had to complete a report,”
Megan said: “When we landed in Egypt the authorities wanted to arrest us, take our passports and licenses but luckily after about four hours, everything was sorted out and we got some more fuel and carried on to Aswan. We then flew from Aswan to Cairo and it was a really awesome feeling to land here,”