Vintage Air Rally Plans Tour Of Americas


Of the 19 aircraft that set out from Crete, Greece, on Nov. 12, 14 survivors of the Crete2Cape Vintage Air Rally arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, after 8,000 miles and over a month of flying. The pre-WWII aircraft were the first to land at the Egyptian Pyramids at Giza in 80 years and the first to receive permission for level overflight of Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Those failing to complete included a Boeing Stearman, piloted by John Ordway and his daughter Isabella, which was destroyed in a forced landing 80 miles from Nairobi following a total engine failure. While parked overnight in Botswana, an R44 chase helicopter and a Tiger Moth were severely damaged in a windstorm that blew the improperly secured Moth into the R44.

Sam Rutherford, Rally Director and Organizer, coordinated the fickle logistics of getting aviation fuel shipped across Africa and a maze of bureaucratic approvals with only one major incident. Rally crews were detained for two days by Ethiopian authorities due to what the organizers told AVweb was a “bureaucratic mix-up.” Rutherford said, upon their arrival in South Africa, “The Vintage Air Rally has been a lot of work, not just for my team but for the pilots. It’s been months, if not years in the making – while we’ve been preparing the Rally, all the crews have been sorting out their aircraft, so it’s been a big deal for a long time, and now it’s a huge relief to be here.”

Rutherford and the Vintage Air Rally crew are planning the next major international rally, scheduled to depart Ushuaia, Argentina—the southernmost city in the world—on March 3, 2018, and arrive in Lakeland, Florida, for Sun N’ Fun six weeks later.

Photo Credit: Beatrice de Smet / VintageAirRally