A vintage airplane flying rally from Crete to South Africa is planned for November 2016. The rally will start in Sitia on 12 November and finish in Cape Town.
The rally is following in the footsteps of the pioneering flights in the 1920s and it will connect some of the most beautiful and evocative points in Africa. 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. Then off again past Kilimanjaro into the Serengeti – and on to the spice island of Zanzibar. After a short pause to enjoy the Indian ocean, participants will continue crossing Zambia to Victoria Falls, before continuing to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, will then fly across Botswana and into stunning South Africa – to the Cape, journey’s end.
The rally will start in Sitia,in Crete, finishing in Cape Town, South-Africa on the 17th of December. Only aircraft built before 1939 will qualify.
Among them will be Taunton born and bred adventurer Maurice Kirk, 71, who is preparing his Piper Cub one of 25 pre-war planes competing, for the rally,
He said: “I’ll be flying one of General Patten’s D-Day Piper Cubs, which were used to ferry messages between tank regiments”
“It’s designed to land in small fields and ploughed ones.”
Maurice Kirk has being flying his machine in the Taunton area recently, camping in a field near Hestercombe and also at the Seven Sisters, on the Quantock Hills.
Organisers of the Crete to Cape Town rally promise “trials and tribulations, mechanical and human stress”, all of which suits Maurice fine.
In his younger days, he paddled across the English Channel in a home-made canoe, hitch-hiked around North America, Australia and New Zealand and even parachuted into his first wedding at Stoke St Mary Church.
In 2008 Maurice Kirk was arrested after landing his plane near George Bush’s Texas ranch – he had been trying to reach the president to thank him for help given by US coastguards after he crash landed in the Caribbean sea.
Participants will be staying in accommodation ranging from five star hotels to tented camps and the only obligatory equipment is a sleeping bag, full black tie and beginner’s guide to Swahili.
The route connects some of the most beautiful and evocative points in Africa, combining the challenge of flying these magnificent planes with the element of competition that was equally prevalent in those early days.
- Greece: Crete (Sitia)
- Egypt: Mersa Matruh, Caïro, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel
- Sudan: Dongola, Merowe, Khartoum, Ad Damazin
- Ethiopia: Gambela
- Kenya: Lokichogio, Eldoret, Naivasha, Naïrobi
- Tanzania: Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Ngorongoro (Serengeti), Zanzibar, Iringwa, Songwe
- Zambia: Kasama, Mfuwe, Lusaka
- Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls, Bulawayo
- Botswana: Francistown, Gaborone
- South-Africa: Lanseria, Baragwanath, Bloemfontein, Graaff Reinet, Plettenberg Bay, Stellenbosch
The Teams come from six different continents (US, UK, Germany, Chile, Israel, New Zealand, Botswana,…) and are competing against each other in this endurance rally to the Cape. Even the original plane, G-AAMY, flown by Robert Redford in ‘Out of Africa’ will have a part in this epic endeavour. Additionally, 12 modern airplanes and 5 helicopters will be functioning as support crew for the older planes. For the latest information on the Teams and Crews, see www.VintageAirRally.com/crews.
THE RALLY & PRIZES
With challenges and leader boards comparable to those used in Classic Car Rallies, the VintageAirRally will see its best team win the “Crete2Cape Cup” and the most exemplary behaviour of a team rewarded with the “Spirit of the Rally” Trophy.
thisisthewestcountry.co.uk, industrytap.com, vintageairrally.com, apokoronasnews.gr