A Dream of
Rolf M. Frieden
By a Single Comanche Model
260C in 20
days from Geneva, via the East African route to Johannesburg in
mixed with some unexpected events, to experience some of the Continents
High-lights, ICS cameradery and hospitality along the route.
for those few who participated on this «Once-In A Lifetime » experience.
all others read on, dreams are allowed, or simply for curiosity for
with first class
hospitality and confort.
Here we are in
the middle of the adventure. Cars,
Busses and lorries are stuck in mud,
way up to the door. What is howling and squeeking are the free spinning wheels of
our chartered, brand
new Land Rover.
Very early in
the morning we departed from our hotel. During the night it rained buckets, and in the morning
it was sultry
and damp. The air enriched with a flowery smell, under grey-blue sky.
Tanzania. The 7th stop,
since the remaining two « hard
core » Comanche crews departed Geneva Switzerland for our planned
African Safari. The trip should continue on to Lake Malawi, the world
Victoria Falls in Zimbabe, then to
the Okavango Delta in Botswana and finally
on to South Africa, my wife Ann’s and my « old hunting grounds », as
lived there many years, quite some time back…….but lets
one thing after another, in an orderly
The idea of
planning and organizing an ICS sortie throughout Africa came to
allmost three years ago a
bunch of adventurous Europeans ICS members entoute to
Mackinac Island and Oshkosh sat in a cosy restaurant
in Reykjavik Island for
dinner. We all had just arrived from Europe, crossing the first part of
the North Atlantic in
a 5hour flight, in mostly solid IMC and icing conditions, and met in
a group of 12 Comanche crews.
relieved, having made it so far, in one corner of the table, a
started aroud possible future trips.
As one idea, I
suggested South Africa…. Instantaneously everyone welcomed the idea and
encourraged me to
We will join !
Such a trip
with private aircraft as a means of transport, naturally needs good and
advanced, detailled preparation
and communication. For this reason the
departure date of May 2nd 1998 from
Geneva was fixed
nearly two years
ahead of D-day. A rough plan of the European ICS Tribes
African Safari Fly-In’s itinerary was then published in the
Flyer last year for
some time in a row and interrested parties were provided from me with a
newsletter, starting late last year until departure.
participating on this adventure flight was quite remarkable and
had around twelve Comanche
planning to come!
time moved closer and closer to the departure date, guess what, more
that this was not for them or that their plane was
unfortunately not yet ready for the trip, or their plane was sold in
A challenging and
extremely time consuming task for me was to organize a suitable route
eastern side of the
African Continent. This to make certain, we obtained all
the required overflight and landing permissions.
challenge was to select a route, on which we could reliably count on
availability of Avgas. Fuel availability
in this part of the world is a
challenge these days, as in some of the places we intended to stop,
This surprisingly includes Saudi Arabia, one of the worlds
largest oil producing countries.
hurdle for me was also, to negotiate in advance the handling charges
landing permissions. Some of the places
initially quoted prices of 500.-$ or
more per aircraft per stop.
The many hours
spent, telephones made and Fax messages exchanged with agents and local
authorities paid off and finally
the charges we had to pay were reasonable in
the range 0.- to 150.-$.per landing.
Hy, we have
just arrived here in Geneva, non stop, in 7
hours from Stockholm with our 260 Comanche N8873P…. This was
Bill Eisele and
his co –piote Mike Paul who called us at
home, two days before the planned departure.
preparations were made on the following
day and we carefully went through the 6 page check-list, to see
if we really
had all the necessary items to start the trip : Immunisations-
Visas- Permits- Life rarts- Swimwests- Cameras- Films-
HF- tranceivers- Jeppesen
Trip Kits ( which was generously sponsored by Jeppesen)- ONC
there and in fact all the equipment was working in both planes.
We felt all
confident and had an early night sleep, exept my wife and co-pilote
still had another exhaustive task to assure
that everything in our house was
arranged for the time we were away.