Flight to North Africa

After a long time of planning 12 May was set as the day for “Take Off” to North Africa. The Antonov AN-2 was well maintained and prepared and the flight plans approved. But… at midday the decision had to be taken to cancel the flight for today: The weather did not allow us to cross the Alps. A new approach was taken on Monday and the clouds were just high enough to let us cross the pass of St. Gotthard. Down the Ticino valley, passing northern Italy and then to the Island of Corsica where we stayed for the night at the southern port of Bonifacio.
The next day we flew over Sardinia and then had to cross the Mediterranean Sea. We landed at Tunis-Carthage International Airport where we received our precious AVGAS 100 from the Tunisian Army. The weather became bad for us again – strong southern winds prevented a normal flight to Tozeur which we finally reached in the evening.

At Tozeur we placed our aircraft between two Iraqi Airlines Boeing B747 which stand parked at Tozeur since 1991. The next day we left for a tour to the desert in four Toyota Landcruisers. At the first day we experienced a sandwind which limited the sight but left us a good impression on how the desert can be. The second day, the weather was much better and the drive back to Tozeur a buit quicker. Since we were back early, there was a good chance to pay a visit to the Mos Isley Spacecraft Station as most people know it from the movie Star Wars which was partly filmed in Tunisia.

Before we could start the flight back to Tunis we had to obtain some fuel – too much of it was consumed on the flight to Tozeur due to the very strong winds. About a hundred liters of of car fuel were finally filled into our aircraft and this time the weather was with us. We reached Tunis in time and the ground crew there and also the Tunisian Army were very quick. We crossed the Mediterranean again, then Sardinia and stayed for the night at Bonifacio as we did on the flight to the South. The next day, the weather was once more against us – this time on the southern side of the Alps. The pass of St. Gotthard was not to be crossed due to low hanging clouds but the Lukmanierpass seemed to be free and we took our chance. We were received by bright sunshine in the north of Switzerland and concluded our exciting adventure in the restaurant of Flugplatz Birrfeld in the later afternoon.

We were in the air for 22 hours for this fascinating trip!