An aircraft built by South African teenagers is being flown from Cape Town to Cairo – and has successfully made its first stop in Namibia. It will take six weeks to cover the 12,000km (7,455 miles) to Egypt.
The four-seater Sling 4 plane was assembled by a group of 20 students from vastly different backgrounds.
“The purpose of the initiative is to show Africa that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” said 17-year-old pilot Megan Werner.
The teenagers built the aircraft in three weeks, from a kit manufactured in South Africa by the Airplane Factory. The kit came with thousands of small parts that had to be assembled.
“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,” said Agnes Keamogetswe Seemela, a 15-year-old from Munsiville township in Gauteng province.
“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.
“I was involved in putting together the centre fuselage as well as the horizontal and vertical stabilisers. And I also helped a bit with the wings.”
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.