Part II The return Flight, Etosha Pan via Ondangwa, Namibia to Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo

Round the World Flight with HB-PON 2008/09
Rolf Martin FRIEDEN & Manfred Melloh
Mon 24 Jul 2006 19:49
04:48.8S 011:53.12E

Mokuti Lodge- Ondangwa/Namibia –
Pointe Noire/Congo

Day 8, Friday 24JUL98


That morning, when passing the Reception for breakfast, the good news. “Sir, we have a fax for you”. Here it was, the official 

overflight permission and landing authorizations from Luanda Angola. Believe me, we had a great appetite and shortly after, we
got our uniforms ready. Pilot shirts, with gold stripe pilots and co pilots epaulettes, blue tie, black polished shoes and an old
Swissair pilot hat each. From now on, for the rest of our journey in Africa, together with our clip-on Air Crew ID cards, nobody
would know, if we were flying a Jumbo Jet, a 3 fan Dassault 2000 business jet, or a small private Piper Comanche.

We took off at 0730 AM, refuelled and cleared customs at Ondangwa, an ex South African Air base in the extreme northern
part of Namibia.

Well here we go, I thought, as we crossed the Angolan border and for a very long distance without incident. Our longest tens hours.

We first routed northwest to the city of Lubango, the to Benguela on the coast and Luanda, Angola’s capital, then in a straight line
over water to Pointe Noire in the Congo. We could not help but admire the countryside. It looked so calm, livable, and yet down
there, things are still destroyed by years of bloody civil war. The vegetation was now becoming increasingly greener and greener.
After 6 hours, we managed our first radio contact with Pointe Noire. On final approach, we could make out a whole lot of
Mig 17 and 21’s, as well as some Antonov transporters on the ground.

After landing I requested the tower to let me taxi to the fuel pumps and was advised of “no fuel available” instead I was requested
to park on the edge of the ramp.

As I put on the breaks, our plane was immediately surrounded by a bunch of Africans.

Getting out of the cockpit we were greeted by a sound, which sounded like war dances going on in the football stadium next to
the Airport.

Boy oh boy, now we are in the darkest part of Africa all right, we thought and did not feel very happy what we had heard and what
we saw, to say the least.

Congo, hello Kabila the war-lord. Real civilization was now a very long way away and was there a Swiss consulate around to help
us if we needed it?

After a few moments, a tall well dressed; local gentlemen came walking across the tarmac in our direction. He introduced himself as
the director of the airport and wanted to know what the hell we were doing, landing at his airport. The man requested that we would
follow him to his office, impounding our plane, he mumbled. Who owns the airplane, what is your license number…. He asked and
who gave you the permission to land and what the hell we were thinking to do in his country anyway. At this point it was clear, that
my landing request and subsequent official permission from his authorities in Brazzaville had not reached him in this war shattered
country. I opened my pilot’s case and produced copies of all the filed requests contained in a full 3-Inch ring binder. I also produced
the name and address of someone living in this town, explaining that we were to meet this man that evening and had a parcel and some
letters, which we needed to deliver. The director of the airport then took all my documents and disappeared and left his office. As we
discussed what would be our next move, the gentlemen returned with the biggest smile in his face you could imagine. From an aggressor
type, this person suddenly became our friend. What happened? The parcel and letters were coming from his niece, an African lady I
know and is living in Geneva. He then asked us to please call him by his first name.

We had no need to go through customs and immigration, as Alphonse seemingly owned the whole place. He also organized a hotel
and his driver for us.

That evening, trying to call Switzerland and some friends in South Africa from the hotel was of no Avail, as all international lines were
out of order.

Dinner with the gentlemen we had to give all the goodies to was next. The food was reasonable but the bottle of genuine French wine
went down better. After a polite conversational evening in French, we went to bead quite exhausted.