Part I. Khartoum, Sudan to Djibouti. - What a unexpected Surprise!

Round the World Flight with HB-PON 2008/09
Rolf Martin FRIEDEN & Manfred Melloh
Sun 7 May 2006 21:49
11:32.8N 043:09.5E

One hour ground time, and we were cleared IFR to our destination Djibouti on the most south easterly corner of Africa,
with routing via Asmara, the capital of Eritrea.

Fully loaded up and close to gross weight, I expected a unusually long take off roll in this heat. To our surprise we were
airborne allmost as usual.
Good old faithful HB-PON did an excellent job and we climbed on course to FL 090.


Sir, your permit is cancelled, avoid Eritrean Airspace, return to Karthoum !



About one hour and ten minutes into the flight, Karthoum control asked me to contact Asmara ATC on HF 11'300. Immediately
a rather nervous and unfriendly voice said :

HOTEL-OSCAR-NOVEMBER: Your overflight permit is cancelled; avoid Eritrean Airspace and return to Karthoum 

Puzzled as I was, I started to think what to do next. Simulate radio failure, transponder code 7600 and continue innocently,
as if nothing happened on our original flight plan. I started guessing if the Eritrean airforce actually had airworthy and operational
fighters to come and intercept us.

After a few reflecting seconds, I decided to change my course to the northeast, to remain in Sudanese airspace and headed without
any further radio contact to the most south easterly intersection in Sudan, and then out into the Red Sea-, then along the FIR limits between
Saudi Arabia and Eritrea up to the point, where we intercpted the 180 degree radial of Djibouti VOR.

After a 10 ½ hour flight that day, we landed safely and happy, after dark at Djibouti International.

A hearthy welcome in French, our second home language, in this old Colonial  City, which was ruled by the French until 1977. After 
remarkebly non burocratic handling and customs clearing, we then headed to our hotel in what they called a taxi. Although this car had four
wheels, it had  only a few additional items working.