...And Africans Fly To Celebrate Freedom

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A pair of microlight pilots from South Africa have found another way to give wings to their ideas. They launched two trikes from Cape Town on December 17, 2003, to embark on a 50,000-mile flight around the world. "Freedom Flight is a joint celebration of the first decade of a democratic South Africa and South Africa's contribution to the commemoration of the [Centennial]," according to the group's Web site. Ricky de Agrela and Alan Honeyborne plan to circle the world on their own with no ground support, taking 18 months to cross 50 countries and six continents. Monday, the two were in Thailand, and headed north along the coast of China and Russia. Last Friday, one of the trikes began to run rough and lose altitude above the jungle, but it limped to a safe landing and the team made repairs. Contaminated fuel was blamed for the malfunction. Honeyborne and de Agrela say the trip will be the longest microlight flight ever, and they will be the first Africans and South Africans to have flown around the world. The route will continue northward across the Bering Strait to Alaska, down the West Coast of the U.S. and Mexico to South America, up through the Caribbean and the East Coast of the U.S., across the North Atlantic to Europe, and south through Africa to return to Cape Town.