An aircraft that was assembled and flown by local teens safely touched down in Cairo, Egypt yesterday. The teenagers took off on June 12 in their self-assembled Sling-4 – an aircraft that uses ordinary motor fuel and was built in only three weeks.
Teen pilot, author and motivational speaker Megan Werner (17) from Krugersdorp, Johannesburg, sparked by her passion to inspire, founded U-Dream Global Foundation to uplift, empower, equip, and transform the lives of youth throughout Africa and the world.
“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,” Megan said before the team embarked on their voyage. “Throughout Africa, we are hoping to do similar, impacting thousands of lives of the youth that are the future of the continent.”
Following final inspections and flight certifications, Megan and various teen co-pilots flew the light aircraft from Cape Town to Cairo, chartering a course across Africa to visit towns and cities in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea to Egypt and a return trip that will include Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia.
Werner told the BBC she is pleased by the big accomplishment.
“I’m so honoured 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,” she said after the team landed in Cairo.
The teens built the aircraft in three weeks under the guidance of The Airplane Factory, U-Dream mentors and team leaders from Denel Aviation.
Werner, who hails from Krugersdorp, told BBC the voyage was not all smooth sailing and they encountered some difficulty along the way. They struggled to obtain fuel in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and two of the team members had to fly alone for two hours of the last leg of the trip between Addis Ababa and Cairo.
“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,” she said.