Nigerian pilot, Odujinrin set for maiden African solo flight
The much-awaited first African solo flight was expected to take off yesterday from Washington DC in the United States.The flight, being manned by Nigerian pilot, Captain Ademilola Odujinrin, will see a specially configured single Cirrus aircraft fly around the world, with stop overs in selected cities. Odujinrin will be the 114th pilot to have embarked on such mission globally.
But for paucity of funds and support, the mission was initially planned to takeoff from Lagos and end in Lagos.Project organisers, Transcend, in a statement on Wednesday said all was set for the mission, explaining that Washington DC became their choice to cut cost and still achieve the ultimate goal of traversing the entire globe.
Experts concludded that it would be cheaper to start the journey from United Kingdom, United States or even the United Arab Emirates’ as the cost of Jet A1 is far cheaper in those areas than what you get in Nigeria and so also is the cost of insurance.
The organising team thanked members of the public for their immense interest and support during the last few months of preparing for the project. According to the organisation, “The team has been working very hard to make this historic event a success. Our primary objective has been to have the First African Pilot fly Solo across the World and we are ever so determined to make this a reality.
“A round the world flight involves overcoming many challenges and team Transcend is no exception when it comes to facing pioneering trials. Taking off from Nigeria imposes an even more logistical challenges, which amplifies the entire project cost.
“Needless to say, we have experienced a myriad of challenges and issues, which has led to a delay affecting our original plan. Primary to the delay is the lacklustre response to our sponsorship requests. We are cognisant of the fact that it is a financially difficult time for many institutions at this point.
“As a result, we have had to review the original plan taking into consideration the economic factors and coming up with the most achievable, cost-effective positions enabling us fulfill the primary objective, which is to be the first African to fly solo round the world.
“The project will now kick off from Washington DC in the United States. The aircraft is currently in the U.S. and starting there greatly reduces our cost thereby helping us to achieve our ultimate goal,” the statement read in part.
The aircraft in use, the SR22 aircraft with registration number N313CD is nine years old, and has been refitted and upgraded to fly 17 and half hours with special configuration before refueling from its original four hour flight time.