South African teenagers build an aeroplane and fly it from Cape Town to Cairo

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Twenty teenagers from South Africa have built an aeroplane and successfully flown it to Cairo, Egypt.

Six of the teenagers are the ones who flew the plane as they were the only ones with pilot licences.

Some of the South African teenagers who built the aeroplane.
| Photo Source: |

“The purpose of the initiative is to show Africa that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” 17-year-old Pilot Megan Werner told BBC.

It took about three weeks to fly from Cape Town to Cairo as they stopped at Namibia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanzania and Uganda to give motivational talks to fellow teenagers.

However, the teenagers’ plane was accompanied by another similar plane which was flown by professional pilots.

The 20 South African teenagers assembling the sling 4 aircraft.
| Photo Source: BBC |

The 20 teenagers built a sling 4 aeroplane in a period of three weeks, which is a four-seater plane manufactured using South African aircraft kit.

The journey to Cairo was, however, compounded with challenges such as lack of fuel at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

“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,” Megan, who is the founder of U-Dream Global project noted.

17-year-old pilot Megan Werner speaking to some teenagers during one of their stopovers.
| Photo Source: U-Dream Global project |

Just when the two pilots were entering Egypt, they encountered an avionic system failure, causing them to land in the closest domestic airport. A loose connection was discovered and corrected almost immediately.

“When we landed in Egypt the authorities wanted to arrest us, take our passports and licences 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,” Megan told BBC.

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