This June, an historic aviation challenge will take place as twenty South African teenagers embark on a Cape to Cairo (and back) excursion in a self-assembled Sling-4 aircraft that uses ordinary motor fuel and was built in only three weeks.
The excursion, which is earmarked to start on June 12, will see the, in different teams, piloting and chartering a course that will cut across several African cities and towns.
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 thousands 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,” says Megan. “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 are now set to fly 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.
Voluntary support for logistical aspects of the flight is being provided by CFS, ExecuJet, Worldfuel and Mike Blyth, founder of The Airplane Factory – the enterprise that designed and built the original Sling plane series. The prototype of the Sling 4 was chosen because this type has already been flown twice around the world.
Using specially modified self-made drones, the challenge will be documented on video as some of the teenagers fly alongside adult supervisors who will use a second Sling-4 aircraft for support to monitor proceedings.
To raise funds to cover the costs of fuel, accommodation, crew support, commercial flights, branding and documentation of the trip, the team hopes to raise a total of R350 000 through a campaign launched on the donation-based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy.
“By doing this project we can show the youth and people right across the world that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. If teenagers can build a plane and fly it around Africa what is stopping you? We hope the public will support our BackaBuddy campaign because a journey of 1 000 miles starts with a single step!” Megan says.