Vintage Air Rally has launched a competition to find teams to win 15 free places on Ushaia2USA, the first rally across South America.
The rally will cover 9,000 miles and 19 countries in just 42 days, according to organizers.
The six-week flight will begin in Ushuaia, the world’s southern-most airport at the tip of Argentina, dubbed “The End of the World.” The rally will cover some of South America’s most treacherous terrain before finishing in Florida.All pilots will compete in 1900s-built vintage aircraft in the rally devised by former army pilot Sam Rutherford. Pilots from around the world are expected for the rally, which will recreate the route of pioneering aviators of the 1920s, organizers said.
“It will be the first time vintage planes (and vintage helicopters) will attempt a journey across this kind of terrain,” organizers said. “Due to the age of the planes, many requiring hand starting, emergency landings and unintended stops in unexpected parts of the continent become extremely likely.”
Entry for the rally is now open, with all costs, including travel, shipping, accommodation, food, fuel, permits, fees, immigration and insurance covered for the 42-day expedition in spring 2018.
Everyone is welcome to enter, organizers said. “Even those with no flying experience can enter by finding a pilot with a plane and creating a team,” they add.
The Vintage Air Rally Ushuaia2USA will take off from Ushuaia in March 2018. Over the next six weeks, the 9,200 mile journey will cover 19 countries, touching down in treacherous terrains such as the windswept expanse of Patagonia, the peaks of the Andes, the swamplands of Paraguay and the jungles of Peru.
The Rally will also take in the wilds of the Amazon rainforest, fly low down the spectacular Panama Canal and over the volcanoes of El Salvador, offering pilots and passengers the chance to discover the rich and varied culture of South and Central America.
The penultimate stop on the rally will be Cuba, where a cigar party will be held in Havana to celebrate the pilots’ endeavours, before the final procession into Florida (a flight that was impossible for over four decades) where the coveted Vintage Air Rally trophy will be presented at a gala dinner.
Additionally, the most exemplary team will be awarded the “Spirit of the Rally” Trophy following a vote amongst the teams.
Vintage Air Rally is the brainchild of Sandhurst-trained British Army helicopter pilot Sam Rutherford. After years flying special missions, he decided to create the Vintage Air Rally.
Ushuaia2USA comes off the back of the success of Crete2Cape Vintage Air Rally, which took place in November 2016 and saw teams of planes recreate the 1920s aviation pioneer route across Africa, from Crete to Cape Town. The winning team came from Canada, while Spirit of the Rally was won by an American duo. German and South African teams took second and third places respectively.
“U2U is totally free, so we’re looking for characters with character who want to join us,” Rutherford said. “Vintage Air Rally isn’t about smart hotels. It’s about grit and glory, going to places usually out of reach. If you’re someone who thrives on adventure, excitement and derring-do then this is for you.”
“The rally connects some of the most beautiful and evocative points of the American continents, combining the challenge of flying these magnificent aircraft with the element of competition, which was equally prevalent in the early days of pioneering aviation,” he added.