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Vintage biplanes stop over in Egypt in unprecedented Greece-South Africa flight


A dozen vintage biplanes from the 1920s and 1930s taking participating in an unprecedented race across parts of Africa have made a stop at the Giza pyramids in Egypt.

It is the first time in about 80 years that a group of aircraft have been allowed to land near the pyramids.

Teams from 18 countries including South African, Britain, Ireland, Canda and the US are taking part in the 35-day rally which follows the route plied by Imperial Airways, a British commercial airliner that linked Britain’s colonies in Africa.

The 12,800km race which started from the Greek island of Crete will end in Cape Town, South Africa and will see the teams travel through 10 nations including Egypt, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

The teams will make some 37 stops en route before reaching Cape Town.

Sam Rutherford, organizer of the Vintage Air Rally said they decided to seize an “amazing opportunity to take these very old planes” some of which are 90 years old on a spin “to show to the world that very old things can still work”.

The participants though have varied reasons for taking part in the rally.

“I was a commercial airline pilot. I used to fly a lot to Africa, and I liked the country (continent) and my wish always was to fly a open, basic airplane over this huge country (continent). That’s why I’m doing this,” explained Ingo Presser a member of the German team taking part in the race.

Cedric Collette, a member of the Belgian team however decided to join the rally for two main reasons.

“The first reason, which my wife and I share, is the desire to travel around Africa in a small plane. … And there is a second reason, it is the love and the passion for old machines and especially old flying machines. “

7 modern planes and three helicopters will be flying next to the group for support. The winner of the charity rally will receive a “Crete2Cape” cup.

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