Part II The return Flight, Port Gen til, Gabon to Sao Tomé Island

Round the World Flight with HB-PON 2008/09
Rolf Martin FRIEDEN & Manfred Melloh
Tue 25 Jul 2006 17:59
00:23.0S 006:43.0E

Day 9, Saturday 25JUL

Pointe Noire/Congo – Port Gentil/Gabon – Sao Tomé


Before departing we had to put on our life jackets, as the next 180 miles we would be over open water, heading towards today’s
destination, the beautiful tropical island Sao Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea.


Crossing the equator in the sun, on top of cloud layers, about 80 miles out of our destination, I established contact with Sao Tomé
tower and got the latest weather. I asked the controller, if he would be kind enough and organize ground transport to the hotel
Club Santana that had recently been visited by one of my colleagues at work and recommended to me.

We were looking forward to this stop, as it would be a welcome break from the long daily flying.

Sao Tomé and Principe are a former Portuguese colony, consisting of four islands and is an independent republic today.
The total population is 130’000. It is the second smallest country in Africa and got its independence from Portugal in 1975 after
5 centuries of colonialism. This group of islands is a small but lovely place, with a lot of potential for the future and with nice and
very friendly people.

We were cordially welcomed at the wonderful hotel-club, which belongs to a French oil millionaire. This place was recently built
as a rest place for his employees, working in Angola and Gabon. We were really treated like most important guests; by the
Portuguese couple running the place.

The next two days we explored parts of the volcanic Island. With Mario, the manager of the club, we got a chance to see some of
the old and famous cacao farms, the “Rocas”, the lovely and unspoiled coastal areas of the island, climbed halfway up to the main
volcano “Pico de Sao Tomé” and strolled around the tiny capital of the country.



A self made toy Scooter

At one of the many “ROCAS”



This place is a real paradise and the surprise highlight of all our touring.


This Antonov, two Super Constellations and an old DC3 had seen better times



Leaving Sao Tomé for Lomé in Togo was planned for Tuesday.


Departure routine: Meteo check, control tower, filing of our flight plan, unwrap the plane, repack. This take off, wearing life
west’s again for our longest over water crossing.

Moving right along our checklist. What? Some 60 items to check down, I realized that my electrical fuel pump did not work.

Simple equation: No fuel pump = no flying!

A new pump flown in from the US by DHL or FedEx would have taken a week, if not two. Long story here, which turned out
 in one-day delay. Knowing where the pump was located and what had to be done, I rolled up the sleeves, took off my tie and
began removing the co-pilot’s seat, the cabin floor and so on. Among all the friendly black faces watching me, a white one stuck
out of the crowd, a white one, a Russian mechanic from the local Airline. A short while after another expert appeared on the
scene and offered his help, a mechanic from the Portuguese airforce.