Crete to Cape Town Vin­tageair­rally launched

Pilot - - NOTES -

An event for vin­tage air­craft of the 1920s and ‘30s, the Crete2­cape Vin­tageair­rally set off on 12 Novem­ber from Si­tia, whence it will route across Africa to Cape Town, aim­ing to cover 8,000 miles in 35 days. Twenty teams from sev­en­teen coun­tries are com­pet­ing, nine of them crew­ing vin­tage bi­planes. They are sched­uled to make 37 stops, ar­riv­ing in Cape Town on 17 De­cem­ber.

Al­most ex­actly recre­at­ing the 1931 Im­pe­rial Air­ways ‘Africa Route’, the air­craft will be fly­ing low along the Nile from Cairo to Khar­toum, past the high­lands of Ethiopia, across the plains of Kenya and over the bustling hub of Nairobi. Then off again past Kil­i­man­jaro to the Serengeti, on to the spice is­land of Zanz­ibar, and even fur­ther south, cross­ing Zam­bia, over the Vic­to­ria Falls to Bu­l­awayo in Zim­babwe. The fi­nal days of this ‘epic jour­ney’ take them into Botswana and South Africa to the Cape, jour­ney’s end.

Vin­tageair­rally is the brain­child of Sam Ruther­ford, founder of Pre­pare2go. Sam says there has never been an at­tempt by this num­ber of vin­tage bi­planes to travel such a dis­tance across Africa. They will es­tab­lish other firsts en route: “This is the first group of air­craft to have per­mis­sion to land at the Giza pyra­mids in Egypt in eighty years. There is lots of lo­cal sup­port for the event,” Ruther­ford re­ports. “The Pres­i­dent of Botswana asked us to change the route so that it would in­clude Botswana.” Ap­pro­pri­ately, the Cliff Lovell-re­stored DH.60MW Gipsy Moth G-AAMY flown by Robert Red­ford ‘s char­ac­ter Denys Finch Hat­ton in the Os­car-win­ning movie Out of Africa will be join­ing the rally in Kenya.

Fly­ing VFR, the teams will be trav­el­ling in ‘very loose formation’ (up to fifty miles be­tween lead and tail-end Charlie) ‘to en­hance both the safety and en­joy­ment fac­tor’. Mod­ern aero­planes and he­li­copters will be func­tion­ing as sup­port teams for the older ma­chines. With chal­lenges and leader boards com­pa­ra­ble to those used in clas­sic car ral­lies, the top team will win the Vin­tageair­rally Tro­phy and the team judged to have demon­strated ‘the most ex­em­plary be­hav­iour’ will be re­warded with the Spirit of the Rally Tro­phy. To fol­low the rally’s progress, see: vin­tageair­

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