A Dream of Africa. The preparations....

Round the World Flight with HB-PON 2008/09
Rolf Martin FRIEDEN & Manfred Melloh
Tue 25 Apr 2006 11:35

A Dream of Africa


ICS African Safari Fly-In

Rolf M. Frieden


By a Single Comanche Model 260C in 20 days from Geneva, via the East African route to Johannesburg in
South Africa, mixed with some unexpected events, to experience some of the Continents most famous
High-lights, ICS cameradery and hospitality along the route.

Fortunate for those few who participated on this «Once-In A Lifetime » experience.

For all others read on, dreams are allowed, or simply for curiosity for Exotics with first class
hospitality and confort.

Here we are in the middle of the adventure. Cars, Busses and lorries are stuck in  mud, water half
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. Arusha, Tanzania. The 7th stop,
since the remaining two « hard core » Comanche crews departed Geneva Switzerland for our planned
ICS African Safari. The trip should continue on to Lake Malawi, the world famous 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 we
lived there many years, quite some time back…….but lets pause-----allways one thing after another, in an orderly
sequential fashion.


The idea of  planning and organizing an ICS sortie throughout Africa came to life, as 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.

Happy and relieved, having made it so far, in one corner of the table, a discussion started aroud possible future trips.

As one idea, I suggested South Africa…. Instantaneously everyone welcomed the idea and encourraged me to
start organizing….

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 comprehensive monthly
newsletter, starting late last year until departure.

Interrest in participating on this adventure flight was quite remarkable and initially we had around twelve Comanche
planning to come!

However, as time moved closer and closer to the departure date, guess what, more and more participants decided
that this was not for them or that their plane was unfortunately not yet ready for the trip, or their plane was sold in the
mean time…


A challenging and extremely time consuming task for me was to organize a suitable route via the eastern side of the
African Continent. This to make certain, we obtained all the required overflight and landing permissions.

Another challenge was to select a route, on which we could reliably count on the 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, Avgas was not available.
This surprisingly includes Saudi Arabia, one of the worlds largest oil producing countries.

A further hurdle for me was also, to negotiate in advance the handling charges and 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.


Last minute 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- Passports- Visas- Permits- Life rarts- Swimwests- Cameras- Films-
HF- tranceivers- Jeppesen Trip Kits ( which was generously sponsored by Jeppesen)- ONC charts….you name it !

Everything was 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 Anne who still had another exhaustive task to assure
that everything in our house was arranged for the time we were away.