12 aircraft for 2016 Vintage Air Rally

HARARE - More than a dozen aircraft are expected to take part in the 2016 Vintage Air Rally, which starts on the Mediterranean island of Crete on November 12 and will include two Zimbabwean stops on its route down through Africa to Cape Town, where it will arrive on December 17.

The event is being arranged by international events and logistics organisation Prepare2go, and will follow a route used eight times previously by the company with rallies involving more modern aircraft, including helicopters.

“It is a most exciting event and we are delighted the organisers have chosen to include not only one but two Zimbabwean destinations in its itinerary: Victoria Falls and Bulawayo,” said a spokesperson for Inspiration Zimbabwe, local organising partner for the rally.

“The rally, with 15 vintage aircraft confirmed as participating, will attract major attention among aviation and travel enthusiasts across the world and there will be substantial print, broadcast and electronic coverage of the rally before, during and after the event, which will be beneficial to Zimbabwe’s travel and tourism sector.”

More than 50 people will travel in the rally, including pilots and navigators of the vintage aircraft, organisers and support crews, the latter travelling in five support aircraft and five support helicopters.

Vintage aircraft are those manufactured before 1939, and some of those taking part will have been originally produced in the 1920s. The route is similar to that taken over the years by pioneering aircraft developing routes across Africa, as well as by the famous Flying Boats used by the predecessor to British Airways in the 1940s and 1950s.

The aircraft assemble in early November in Crete and leave there on November 12, travelling to Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, ending the event with a gala dinner in Cape Town on December 17. They will fly in loose formation along the route of more than

6 000 nautical miles and will enjoy access to some of the continent’s greatest attractions, including Victoria Falls.

“It’s an exciting and ambitious route and event and we are looking forward to ensuring that their Zimbabwean stay will be both enjoyable and fruitful, as they experience some of our top tourist attractions and the hospitality of the Zimbabwean people,”  said the spokesperson.

The rally participants will stay several nights in Zimbabwe, basing at The Victoria Falls Hotel alongside Zimbabwe’s premier tourist attraction from December 6 and, after being based at Holiday Inn Bulawayo, departing from Bulawayo on December 10.  They will use their time in the country to visit attractions and meet local aviation and vintage car enthusiasts, and the entire event will be filmed and recorded for post-event publicity.

“This is a unique opportunity to showcase Zimbabwe to the world and we look forward to the support of Zimbabwean organisations in partnering the organisers to make the rally a success,” said the Inspiration Zimbabwe team, adding that Puma Energy was already a partner, supplying fuel for Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

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