PETALING JAYA: Two aviation adventurers are giving new meaning to no-frills flight in their journey from London to Sydney in a single piston engined aircraft with a cockpit the size of a Mini Cooper.
While pilots Andy Hardy, 50, and Sam Kidd, 24, are fulfilling their personal dreams with the epic journey, they have set out to raise £20,000 (RM101,628) for global aid and development charity Oxfam.
“We will travel approximately 20,000km during the trip and our target is to raise £1 (RM5) for each kilometre travelled,” said Hardy.
Hardy made clear that the cost of the flight is being borne by him and the money raised so far from enthusiasts following their journey over Facebook and Twitter is channelled to the charity.
Flying in cramped conditions for between six and eight hours daily, the duo, who arrived in Subang airport on Thursday, have travelled over 8,000km since leaving home a month ago.
“When we left, I said we would either be mortal enemies or lovers by the time we reached the end,” quipped Kidd. Hardy retorted that he preferred if they be mortal enemies instead.
Jokes aside, their banter underscores the challenges they face while in the air in Hardy’s 1966 Piper Cherokee.
Hardy said that while they may not be breaking any aviation records, the flight is fraught with challenges.
He said there are long stretches where they would fly over oceans and deserts, which is dangerous if their single engine failed.
Answering the call of nature while in mid-air is done via a bag, which channels the waste into a bladder.
“Its like a slippery condom. I never had to use it, but Andy is an expert,” said Kidd.
The bigger call of nature is a challenge they have no answer to.
“For number two, we just have to wait until we get down on the ground,” Hardy said.
The duo were hosted during their stay in Malaysia by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Malaysia.
Yesterday, they flew past the iconic Petronas Twin Towers with EAA president Capt K. Siva Raman, who piloted a separate aircraft.
They will leave for Indonesia today and expect to reach the final destination, Sydney, on Nov 16. During their journey, they would have travelled through 15 countries with stopovers in 23 cities.
Donations can be made online via fundraising.oxfam.org.uk/event/cherokeechallenge2013 or follow their journey at www.facebook.com/CherokeeChallengeFlight and via the #CherokeeChallengeFlight Twitter hashtag.