Crete to Cape Town Vintage Air Rally launched from Greece

C2C-19 rszA flying rally across Africa, from Crete to Cape Town, for aircraft built before the 31st December 1939.

This extraordinary race, a 2nd category event of the FAI, with vintage biplanes took off today from Sitia in Greece to a unique 8,000+ mile aviation adventure across Africa which will last until 17th December when the rally is scheduled to touch down in Cape Town, Africa. 

With 20 international teams representing 17 countries the Crete2Cape edition of the Vintage Air Rally recreates the pioneering days of flight from the 1920s. The Rally tests the pilots skills and aircraft to the limit while raising funds for charity (UNICEF, Bird Life International, Seed Bombing). The teams are attempting the crossing of 10 countries in 37 stops and 35 days.

The teams will be travelling in a loose formation, meaning up to fifty miles between lead and tail-end Charlie in order to enhance both safety and enjoyment. Additionally, modern aeroplanes and helicopters will be functioning as support crew for the older machines.

With challenges and leader boards comparable to those used in the classic car rallies, the top team will win the VintageAirRally Trophy and the team showing "the most exemplary behaviour" will be rewarded with the Spirit of the Rally Trophy. This latter trophy will be awarded on the basis of a vote amongst all the teams.

 What you need to know about the Crete2Cape edition of the VintageAirRally

  • When: 12-Nov-2016, SITIA, Crete, Greece to 17-Dec-2016 The Cape, South Africa
  • Where: Greece, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa There never has been an attempt by this number of vintage biplanes to travel this distance across Africa
  • It is the first group of aircraft to have permission to land at the Giza pyramids, Egypt in 80 years.
  • The arrival of the Vintage Air Rally will be the first ever Sudanese airshow
  • The arrival of the Vintage Air Rally will be the first Zambian airshow
  • G-AAMY (the actual plane flown by Robert Redford in ‘Out of Africa’) is taking part in Kenya
  • Lots of local support for the event, for example did the President of Botswana ask for a change in the route so that it would include his country

Following in the footsteps of the pioneering flights in the 1920s – the rally connects some of the most beautiful and evocative points in Africa and almost exactly recreating the 1931 Imperial Airways “Africa Route”. Follow this link for the route and rally’s live tracking.

What are the challenges of flying these aircraft?

  • Their open cockpits expose the aircrews to the elements over such a long distance which makes flying and navigation more of a challenges as a higher level of concentration is needed
  • The biplanes will also be functioning at their maximum range for some legs of the journey.
  • Flying in Africa will provide extra challenges such as severe weather and political Climate

How and where to follow

Photo and video credits: Vintage Air Rally