Ascension : GA8 Airvan Lands On Ascension
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 10.06.2010 (Article Archived on 24.06.2010)
Ascension’s Wideawake airfield was host to an unusually small aircraft – by our standards - last week.
Ascension’s Wideawake airfield was host to an unusually small aircraft – by our standards - last week. The single engine GA8 Airvan, an Australian built aircraft, was on a round the world flight to raise funds for “Millions Against Malaria” a campaign to raise awareness about malaria, a disease which kills over one million people a year, predominantly children and pregnant women.
The pilots of the Airvan had originally planned to cross the Atlantic from Natal in Brazil to Ghana in West Africa, but persistent bad weather saw them stuck in Brazil with no early prospect of being able to reach Africa by that route. This threatened the rest of the journey as the various permits for flying into countries were close to expiring. So the pilots came through here instead. After a 13 hour flight against strong headwinds the pilots were understandably very glad of a rest on the island, before heading off on the rest of their epic journey which takes them to Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, the Seychelles, India, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and back to their starting point in Australia.
The pilots were grateful for all the help that those involved provided and clearly enjoyed their short stay on the island to judge from the following comment “I really cannot thank all the people there [Ascension] enough for the hospitality we received there ... they were just simply fantastic. So many people went out of their way to make us feel welcome.”
Successful completion of this flight will mark the first round the world flight by an Australian manufactured aircraft. Ascension Island can be proud to have played a modest part in that endeavour, as well as supporting a very worthy charity.