The Sling 4 light aircraft built by a group of teenagers for a remarkable Cape to Cairo flight has landed in Egypt after a 12 000 km journey, and will soon head back to Cape Town.
The aircraft arrived in Cairo on 8 July after flying through Namibia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Uganda and Sudan. It was accompanied by another Sling 4, which served as a support and backup aircraft.
Megan Werner, the 17th year old founder of the non-profit U Dream Global Foundation leading the journey and one of the pilots, told the BBC that the journey was not without event, with the team struggling to get fuel in Ethiopia and a minor avionics problem in Egypt seeing them land at the closest airport.
“The purpose of the initiative is to show Africa that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” Werner told the BBC. “I’m so honoured to have made a difference around the continent at the places we’ve stopped.”
The U Dream Global Foundation aims to uplift, empower and transform the lives of youngsters. Following submissions via WhatApp application videos, over 200 youths from diverse backgrounds across South Africa applied for the 20 places available in the project. Under the guidance and supervision from The Airplane Factory, U Dream mentors and five team leaders from Denel Aviation, the twenty inexperienced teenagers built the Sling 4 aircraft in three weeks in June 2018.
Now that the Sling 4 has reached Cairo, the return flight should see it route back to Cape Town via Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. U Dream Global is following in the footsteps of Pierre van Ryneveld and Quintin Brand who first flew across Africa in a De Havilland DH9 from London in 1920, and South African Airways (SAA), which first operated a service to Cairo in 1945.
As a sponsor to the project, defenceWeb is proud to be associated with this ambitious aviation outreach initiative that fosters visionary thinking, inspiring young people to pursue their dreams while promoting and supporting innovation, technology and entrepreneurship as necessary key drivers for Africa’s development and transformation.