Vintage aircraft complete adventure-filled Africa rally

Vintage aeroplanes mostly dating from the 1920s and 1930s are shortly due to finish a 13,000km (8,000 miles) rally flying from the Greek island of Crete to Cape Town in South Africa.

Vintage aircraft complete adventure-filled Africa rally

Vintage aircraft complete adventure-filled Africa rally

The rally began in November and pilots have had adventure-filled journeys.

The planes have mostly open cockpits and are equipped with only rudimentary navigation and safety equipment.

They landed beside the Egyptian pyramids and flew over Mount Kilimanjaro on the way.

The Crete2Cape rally, which began on 11 November, follows “in the footsteps of the pioneering flights in the 1920s” connecting “some of the most beautiful and evocative points in Africa”.

It is meant to recreate the first African aviation route drawn up in the 1930s.

The Vintage Air Rally website describes the route as “flying low along the Nile from Cairo to Khartoum, past the highlands of Ethiopia before the plains of Kenya and the home of African aviation in Nairobi”.

The rally took the pilots past Mount Kilimanjaro and over the Serengeti national park before flying over Zanzibar, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

One of the pilots on the route is reported to have experienced total engine failure.

Another, 72-year-old British man Maurice Kirk, went missing twice, was arrested in Ethiopia and touched down in battle-hit South Sudan instead of Kenya.

Rally organiser Sam Rutherford said that, although the rally had been successful, “I’ll breathe a massive sigh of relief when we get to Cape Town”.

Seven aircraft from a total of 11 starters are due to be in South Africa on Friday.

 

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