An international Vintage Air Rally of pre-1949 bi-planes which took off from Crete in the Mediterranean on the 12 November and is flying down Africa to Cape Town on a 13000-kilometre journey will land at George Airport on 16th December.
There are 12 Tiger Moth type planes from various parts of the world, including one from SA participating accompanied by 10 support aircraft including 2 helicopters (some of these support aircraft are also vintage). Thirteen nations are represented.
The first flight was 400 kilometres across the ocean to Egypt from where they flew to Cairo becoming the first aircraft in 80 years to land at the pyramids, west of Cairo. This flight would have taken these aircraft over three hours to do this crossing with the pilots in open cockpits having to keep their hands at the controls. The flight then took them south along the Nile to Aswan and on to Sudan and Ethiopia. When leaving Khartoum in Sudan they had a seven-hour flight to Gambela in Ethiopia.
In Kenya on the flight to Wilson Airport (famous as the airport used by the air safari companies)in Nairobi on Saturday, a Boeing Stearman bi-plane experienced total engine failure 140 km from Nairobi and had to do a forced landing resulting in material damage to the aircraft. One of the accompanying helicopters was immediately dispatched to rescue the two crew members who were unscathed.
On Monday 28 November the flight continued into Tanzania where they will fly past Mt Kilimanjaro to Arusha. They continue to Zanzibar and on through Zambia to Vic Falls and to Botswana.
They enter South Africa on 12th December and from Baragwanath they fly to stay over at Gariep Dam before overnighting at Plettenberg Bay on the 15th December. On 16th December they fly to Stellenbosch where the Rally ends with a final dinner in Cape Town on 17th December.
In discussions with the organisers, they have agreed to land at George Airport early on 16 December for an hour between 06h45 and approximately 08h30.
George Airport: George Airport (IATA code GRJ), situated approximately 7 km from the city centre, has scheduled flights to Cape Town International Airport, King Shaka International Airport (Durban) and OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg).