Cape-to-Cape: Over Europe and Africa in an Open-Air Biplane

JohanToday at noon, Johan Wiklund will put on his leather cap and goggles, start his open-air biplane, and leave Stockholm bound for Cape Town. Wiklund is normally at the controls of an Airbus as a captain with SAS, but he’ll spend the next two months piloting a 1935 de Havilland DH60 Moth. Wiklund’s Cape-to-Cape flight will be trackable on Flightradar24 with registration filterSE-AMO“.

We will be tracking SE-AMO through ADS-B and a satellite link. As he will be flying around 1000-1500 feet for much of the trip, the ADS-B coverage will be very limited. When ADS-B coverage is lost we will track the flight via a satellite link that is slightly delayed (1-2 minutes). This satellite link does not provide us with altitude data, so when tracking with the satellite (T-SPOT1) altitude will automatically be set to 2500 feet.

We sat down with Wiklund before he departs Stockholm to learn more about his journey.

Why are you flying Cape-to-Cape? What are your goals for the flight?

This is about making dreams come true. My dreams are always filled with challenges. This “cocktail” also has the romance of flying in it. Who wouldn’t want to fly over Africa low level in an open cockpit biplane and get a feeling how the 1920s and 30s Indiana Jones-era would have felt like!? I feel lucky that I have a chance to do this and that I was able to grab the opportunity in mid life!

What route will you fly? How long will it take you to complete the journey?

About 2 months through two continents.

Ed. note: You can view Wiklund’s planned route below.

Tell us about the aircraft?

It’s an English biplane from 1935 by de Havilland. Model DH60 in wood and cloth and a Gipsy Major 1 at 130 hp up front. All original.

The instrument panel on Wiklund's DH60 Moth.

The instrument panel on Wiklund’s DH60 Moth.

What are some of the unique challenges flying this type of aircraft on such a long trip?

This aeroplane doesn’t fit in the modern airspace. Fuel might be difficult to find. I use ordinary petrol but that is getting scarce at big airports only using kerosene.

What will be the most difficult part of the flight?

Through Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

How have you prepared for the flight?

By getting into history and finding out how they did it in the past. I have maintained old airplanes and flown them a long time to get experienced. By networking and being friendly to the surroundings and getting to know things that are difficult to google.

Where will people be able to find updates about your progress?

My homepage at CapetoCape.net will be updated regularly. You can follow live flights on Flightradar24.com by searching for registration SE-AMO. You can also get updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.