Richard Foster and Richard Bird decided, more or less on a whim, to fly from their airfield at Goodwood in Sussex, England, to Capetown and back in a microlight. They took off on February 26th 2014 and arrived back home on May 14th, flying a Comkco Ikarus C42/B. Of the 77 days the trip took, 39 were spent in the air. Their route took them via France, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Crete, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia. Although microlights have made many long-distance flights, this is the first return flight by microlight to Capetown. The outward journey was 7602Nm long and took 21 flying days to complete. The return journey was only 7245Nm and was completed in 18 flying days. The longest single flight was a bum-numbing 7 hours, and the furthest distance covered was 518Nm. Perhaps one of the most surprising things about the trip was the speed with which it was organized; generally speaking a complex trip like this will take a year or more to organize all the permissions, visas, flight planning, maps, and so on. But Richard Bird mentioned it in passing to Rich Foster on New Year’s Day, and by 26 Feb they were off, stopping at the Comco factory in Mengen, Germany to pick up a specially equipped long-range aircraft. Even today, there are risks associated with every phase of a journey like this, but they found that the desert and in particular the mountains of Africa were the scariest parts of the journey.
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