Flying Beavers in Africa
Travelers to Africa speak of stalking the “Big Five,” a term coined by big-game hunters. Among the fiercest animals on the planet, the group is comprised of the lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. Until now.
On May 10, the Big Five will become the Big Six, as the North American Beaver invades the African continent. Museum of Flight trustees Mike Lester, David Wyman, and Doug DeVries will be flying their venerable Beavers through southern Africa, the world’s second-largest continent. Starting in Cape Town, the safari will head north, following a generally clockwise route through South Africa and Botswana, landing at remote airstrips. The flight will take them through the Okavango Delta, known for its wide variety of African wildlife.
Seth Margolis, the Museum’s Director of Education, has organized a youth education initiative using the safari to focus on aviation in Africa. The program will commence with a live Beaver pre-flight inspection on May 11, and over the succeeding weeks will include sessions on flight planning in Africa, the use of aviation to curb poachers, and exploring game reserves via the air. Through the course of the adventure, students will fly actual legs of the safari on the Aviation Learning Center‘s flight simulators.
For Doug’s Beaver, N67DN, this will be the third trip abroad, following exploration of the Canadian Arctic in 2008, and Australia Outback in 2010. For David Wyman’s Beaver, N510PW, this will be a home-coming of sorts – it started life in South Africa, and spent time in Kenya performing, well, locust control. Note to the swarming hoppers of Africa – N510PW, bug-killer-extraordinaire-and-member-of-the-Big Six, is returning to its former hunting grounds.
Please follow us through the Museum of Flight as we embark on our travels.