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Silver Queen's Amazing Flight

Sat Apr 29, 2000 1:13 pm

Those of you who get National Geographic can skip this. On page 36 of the May issue is an article entitled Queen of the African Sky. It's about this rather amazing airplane called the Silver Queen, a perfect duplicate of the Vickers Vimy's from World War I. The plawne was built by Mark Rebholz and John LaNoue, Mark being an airline pilot with 20,000+ hours in the air. Their Vimy is the largest operational biplane. Length 44 ft., wingpsan 68.33 ft., cruising speed 75 mph, range 18 hours (low altitude).
Here's the route they flew just as it was flown in 1920:
START in Brooklands, Farnborough, Nancy, Munich, Taranto, Corfu, Cairo, Luxor, Jeddah, [Djibouti, Mandera, Naivasha, Nairobi, Arushu, Dodoma, Mbeya, Lilongwe, Lusaka, Bulawayo]*, Pietersburg, Pretoria**, Bloemfontein, Beaufort West, Cape Town. Most of those are African towns and cities. Anyway, the flight went from northern Europe to southern Africa, which is pretty darn nifty. They had some problems with air clearence and the Ehtiopians bombing Eritrea, but all else went pretty well except some aggressive winds. They tried to do a landing in Kenya on July 19th and ended up digging the starboard wing into the dirt runway, damaged an aileron control.
Well - I thought that sounded pretty nifty. Imagine seeing most of Africa from an airplane at about 7,000 feet! An open airplane at that!
*The cities in brackets are the smaller African towns that the average person has probably never heard of.
**Pretoria is part of the setting of a very very good book called 'The Power of One', if any of you have ever read that.
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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 1999 3:26 am

RE: Silver Queen's Amazing Flight

Sat Apr 29, 2000 7:14 pm

At the time I checked the Vickers Vimy web site about twice a day hoping that I would get to see this bird. It arrived at Cape Town International on July 29, 1999, virtually unannounced in not the best of weather, where it remained out of view. It was then supposed to make an appearance at the Stellenbosch airfield over the weekend, but despite having hung out there for hours, listening to the news every half an hour and buying all the newspapers in the hope that a flypast might be in the offing, nothing materialised. It was all a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT!

The Route through Africa

Vickers Vimy Replica "The Silver Queen" photographed at Bloemfontein, South Africa, near the end of its epic journey
Photos: Riaan Van Zyl

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Behind every "no" is a "yes"
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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 1999 3:26 am

Silver Queen At Wickenburg, Arizona Today April 29

Sat Apr 29, 2000 7:20 pm

What's Happening

Young Eagles Day

Event Date(s): Saturday, April 29, 2000

Description: EAA Chapter 883, Wickenburg, Arizona, will be hosting a Young Eagles day on April 29 at the Wickenburg Airport. Local schools will select eight students (probably through an academic competition) that will have flights in the Silver Queen. The entire event will be centered on the Vimy and focused on the historical significance of the early Vimy flights. This promises to be a large event that will attract many visitors in addition to the Young Eagles flyers. This will probably be the first scheduled public appearance of the Silver Queen in United States.

Location: Wickenburg Municipal Airport (E25), Wickenburg, AZ
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