PICS: SA teens to make history with flight from Cape Town to Cairo... in a plane they built themselves

2019-05-30 06:44
Teen pilot Megan Werner. (U-Dream Global)

Teen pilot Megan Werner. (U-Dream Global)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A group of teens is set to make aviation history as they plan to fly a light aircraft from Cape Town to Cairo in Egypt.

The group of 20 plans to fly the 10 139km distance on June 12 in a plane they have assembled themselves.

"The purpose is to show Africa and even the world that anything is possible if you set your mind to it," 17-year-old teen pilot Megan Werner, from Krugersdorp, told News24 on Wednesday.

Werner founded U-Dream Global, which supervised the building of the aircraft, in order to promote science, technology, engineering, mathematics education, innovation, youth empowerment and skills development.

The teens built the aircraft in two weeks under the guidance of The Airplane Factory, U-Dream mentors and five team leaders from Denel Aviation.

Safety concern

"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," said Werner who hails from Krugersdorp.

The flight will take the team through cities in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea on their way to Egypt.

The normal flight time in a commercial passenger jet is about 12 hours, and for the group, safety is a primary concern.

"Africa can be quite a hostile continent especially if you choose the wrong countries. You will notice our route starts in Cape Town and then heads up to Namibia, before cutting across to the east coast of Africa," said Werner.

"There are a few reasons for this; mainly the safety, but also the fact that we connect all the shores that border Africa on our way. As we will be stopping in Mossel Bay on our way down. That makes it the Indian, Atlantic, Red Sea and Mediterranean. We also have a chase plane that will help us make sensible decisions, but our plane will be flown by teenagers only."

U-Dream team.

U-Dream team members. (U-Dream)

While logistics and support are being provided by CFS, ExecuJet, Worldfuel and The Airplane Factory, the team needs R350 000 for fuel, accommodation, crew support, documentation and other costs.

They have established a BackaBuddy campaign to raise the extra cash.

"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 through 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," said Werner.

U-Dream team.

U-Dream team members. (U-Dream)

Campaign deadline

The deadline for the campaign is June 30, as the flight is expected to take more than a month.

Pierre van Ryneveld and Quintin Brand first flew across Africa in a De Havilland DH9 from London in 1920 and SAA first operated a service to Cairo in 1945.

Once they reach Cairo, the group plans to fly home to SA.

"The challenge is called Cape To Cairo, but the plan is actually Cape to Cairo and back again," said Werner.

U-Dream team.

U-Dream team members. (U-Dream)

The return leg is expected to include cities in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia.

U-Dream Global will host a pre-trip party on June 8 at Tedderfield Airpark in Eikenhof, 24km south of Johannesburg. The public will have an opportunity to meet the team and see the aeroplane fly for the first time.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    backabuddy  |  travel  |  good news

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Audit Senior / Bookkeeper to Trial Balance

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Placement Point (Pty) Ltd
R15 000.00 - R21 000.00 Per Month

Key Accounts - IT

Southern Shore Recruitment
R15 000.00 - R25 000.00 Per Month

Sales Representative- Knysna

George - Knysna
George Employment Consultants
R15 000.00 Per Month Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.