Following the successful completion and subsequent announcement of their self-built aircraft, the 20 South African teenage inventors have taken the first of many steps towards accomplishing their goal of flying across the continent of Africa.
They have successfully been able to get the aircraft into the air and made their first trip to the southern coastal town of Luderitz, Namibia, 1128km away. The overall target is to fly to Cairo, Egypt (12,000km or 7,455 miles away) but this will be done over a period of six weeks.
The plane, assembled by the team comprising of teens from various backgrounds, has a six-and-a-half hour flying range.
Piloted by 17-year-old Megan Werner, who is also the founder U Dream Global, the aviation outreach initiative that supported the teens in building the craft, she expressed great pride in the achievements of these young inventors, reports the BBC.
“It flies so smoothly and the views were breathtaking,” she said of its maiden voyage from Johannesburg to Cape Town ahead of the official start of the trip.
Agnes Keamogetswe Seemela is a 15-year-old from the Munsiville township in Gauteng province who described how she feels about this feat as “Looking at the plane, I am so proud of myself, I can’t believe what we’ve done. I feel like this is my baby. I cherish her.”
The 15-year-old said she hoped her efforts would inspire others like her. “At first, people in my community were shocked – they didn’t believe me when I told them I helped build a plane which we will be flying from Cape Town to Cairo,” she said.
“But now they’re actually very proud of me.”
From Luderitz, their next stop will be Windhoek, Victoria Falls, Likoma, Zanzibar, Arusha, Nairobi, Lalibela, Asmara, Aswan and then Cairo, all in that order.
However, on their return journey, the team will take a completely different route which will include stops in Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Botswana.
A support Sling 4 plane flown by professional pilots will accompany the teen flyers, who said they planned to do motivational talks for other teenagers along the way.
This, however, is not the first time young people across Africa have taken initiatives to build aircrafts and fly across the continent, a thing that only until recently wasn’t a common manufacturing comfort zone for Africans.
In a 2018 Face2FaceAfrica report, Patricia Mawuli-Porter, West Africa’s only female flight instructor taught girls and young people in Ghana and in the United States how to build aircraft.
She was invited to the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin twice and on one occasion, she helped a young team of young Americans with no prior aircraft building experience to assemble a Zenith CH750 aircraft in a record one week.
“There are a lot of young people (who), when they see me, (are given) hope. It motivates them to learn harder because they believe women actually have something ahead of them,” she said.
Mawuli-Porter is the co-founder of now-defunct Medicine On The Move, (MoM), a local NGO that worked together with the Aviation Academy to transport doctors, deliver medical supplies and services, as well as health education to rural communities across the length and breadth of Ghana.
- One feared dead, several others injured after accident at Legon underpass
- Citi FM journalist, Caleb Kudah allegedly picked up by National Security operatives
- Fire guts new Kejetia Market
- Ghana drops to 95th in 2021 World Happiness ranking
- Citi FM journalist, Caleb Kudah released from National Security custody
- Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’, ‘No Longer at Ease’ and ‘Arrow of God’ are being adapted for television
- Cape Coast airport to be completed before end of second term – Transport Minister assures
- Wesley Girls: Aside ban on fasting Muslims aren’t allowed to observe Salat – Old student
- Our scholars in Cuba are broke because they insist on table-top payment – GNPC Foundation
- Don’t shake your car when fueling – Transport Consultant
Extraordinary problems require extraordinary measures – Lands Minister justifies burning of excavators
Government’s fight against galamsey camouflage – PPP
Court remands 32 alleged national security operatives accused of mining
Kenyan MPs summoned over bribery claims
#FixTheCountry: Be measured in your expectations of Akufo-Addo due to Covid-19 – Chief of Staff
#FixTheCountry: Pay cut for political leaders will not achieve much – Afenyo-Markin
Kumawood stars grace Mercy Asiedu’s 50th birthday
MTN Ghana donates in support of Eid celebration in Western Region
Inflation rate drifts into single digit of 8.5 per cent in April
Church of Pentecost hands over fully furnished Ejura prison to state
Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship launches inaugural Legatum Foundry Fellowship for entrepreneurs in Africa
Pregnancy should not be a hindrance to your dreams – Nana Adwoa Awindor
Over 90% of ‘rotten’ vehicles at National Security premises distributed – Former MASLOC boss
Muslims urged to support in raising funds for the vulnerable
Nsawam Adoagyiri MP donates 10 Pulse Oximeters to Nsawam government hospital