Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Werner and some of her colleagues left Cape Town this week for a round-trip flight to Cairo, with stops in 11 countries along the way. Pixabay

A group of South African teenagers has assembled a four-seater airplane and is flying it across the continent. Aviation experts say this a significant feat, one that will inspire teens who want to be pilots, engineers or anything else.

Seventeen-year-old Megan Werner is a pilot, even though she doesn’t have a driver’s license yet. Her U-Dream Global nonprofit helped a diverse group of 20 African teenagers assemble a light aircraft. Werner and some of her colleagues left Cape Town this week for a round-trip flight to Cairo, with stops in 11 countries along the way.


“If you’re a teenager and you’ve already built a plane, you can say to yourself, ‘Well, I’ve built a plane while I was a teenager, what else can I do?’ And then for the teenagers flying across Africa, just to be able to make a difference and show people what is possible is really inspiring,” she said.

Confident and inspiring

Agnes Semeela helped to assemble the fuselage for the kit aircraft, which the teens built under qualified adult supervision. “I know for a fact that my team did their best, their absolute best, and I’m very confident that this airplane will make it to Cairo and back,” she said.

During the maiden flight event, the South African teens saw their plane take to the air for the first time. Aspiring pilot Lesego Ngoashen is now even more interested in aviation after learning about building aircraft by being part of the U-Dream Global assembling team.

“Seeing that’s now no longer like adult people engaging in this industry, but also young people can get involved in such projects, I think it’s going to inspire a lot of people to actually join aviation,” she said.

Adults along for the ride

With both her parents working in aviation, Werner’s interest in flying is no surprise. Her father, Des Werner, an airline pilot, will fly along in a second plane for the trip from southern to northern Africa and back.

“The plan is crazy enough, it doesn’t need to be that crazy that my daughter must fly across Africa by herself,” he said. “So, I’ll go and check that she’s OK. Course I’ve got a bit more experience than what she has, and I’m there just to support and make the right decisions.”


During the maiden flight event, the South African teens saw their plane take to the air for the first time. Pixabay

The other adult pilot, Werner Froneman, is the U-Dream Global Project director, coach. He will also follow the teens on their cross-continental journey.

“Obviously fatigue plays a big role that we need to manage with the students, so that we can make sure that they are always awake. That they’re always sharp to be able to make the right decisions,” he said. “This is going to stretch their limits.”

ALSO READ: Americans Want NASA to Focus More on Asteroid Impacts, Less on Getting to Mars

The hands-on involvement by teenagers can only help Africa’s aviation industry, says Athol Franz, editor of African Pilot Magazine. “Because, the older guys like myself, have to realize that young people are going to replace us,” he said. “And the better skilled they are, and the more they know, and the more excited they are about aviation, the better for aviation in the world.”

The U-Dream Global team will travel some 12,000 kilometers during the round trip flight. Along the way, they’ll take other teenagers up in the plane to inspire them to also reach for greater heights. (VOA)


Popular

IANS

Rihanna was summoned from her seat to accept the honour, with the Prime Minister.

Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."

Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.

The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep Reading Show less
Pxhere

It's that time of the year when there are festivities galore and entertaining comes to the fore.

By Manav Bhatia

It's that time of the year when there are festivities galore and entertaining comes to the fore. Manav Bhatia, Founder Trunkin shares some tablescapes for the season

Christmas Tablescapes: Whether it's cherry red tablecloths or plush green napkin rings, there's something for everyone. Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year.

red and white candles on white ceramic vase Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year. | Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
VOA

Typically, Glaucoma occurs in people with over the age of 60 however it can occur at any age.

By IANSlife

Have you ever faced eye redness? Or have witnessed blurry or foggy vision? Or experiencing halos around lights? Or nausea and vomiting are very common for you. You may well be suffering from Glaucoma which needs immediate attention.

Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). Typically, it occurs in people with over the age of 60 however it can occur at any age. It is also estimated that globally 79.6 million people are affected with glaucoma, half of them being Asian population. While in India, around 11.9 million people suffer vision impairment and out of which 1.2 million cases are due to Glaucoma. It is a growing concern for the population in India. Even after these high numbers, the enormous majority remains undiagnosed, and untreated. More than 90 percent of cases of Glaucoma remain undiagnosed.

Pink eye Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). | Wikimedia Commons

Keep reading... Show less