Friday, November 22, 2013

Cape Town to Goodwood Day 21: Next Stop Juba in South Sudan

According to this morning Tracey has flown 3,684 nautical miles  in just over 46 hours to date. Her longest leg was 339 nautical miles (a nautical mile is slightly longer than a statute mile at 1,150779 miles).
She hopes to fly into Goodwood in 26 days time. Before that, comes by some way the toughest stretch of her journey - Sudan, Egypt and North Africa, all in extreme heat. She will then head for the toe of Italy and the more temperate climates of Europe, which will pose their own challenge as winter bites. Today's target is Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Flying an open cockpit aircraft  with a top speed of 95mph is not for the faint-hearted and Tracey has certainly had her moments, emerging from her cockpit "wind blown, sun burnt and spaced out".   On the very first day of her flight out of Cape Town towards the mountains and into a headwind, she was hit by "vicious hard-edged turbulence" that tossed the plane about.
For Mary Heath, the trip north required some improvisation. "Before we could leave Jinja, an extra runway of 120 by 15 yards had to be cut." She set off with Dick Bentley as her escort across the Sudd at 6.30am on a misty morning. "After 30 or 40 miles, the winding Blue Nile appeared below the surrounding mist and I looked at it with great happiness and said to myself: "You lovely river, I am going to follow you to Cairo".

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