Nuku Alofa (Tonga) to Pago Pago (American Samoa)


27/06/2008


The customs formalities had been straightforward on arrival yesterday. There had been no immigration presence when I arrived, owing to a misunderstanding about my arrival time. But the handler, Jones Travel, had arranged to take my passport to an official later, and the passport now had an “exit” stamp for my onward flight.

There is officially no AVGAS on Tonga. My original plan had been to visit Fiji before proceeding to Tonga but I had been unable to make any contact with “friends of friends” in Fiji and had therefore decided to miss out Fiji from the schedule. This meant a longer flight from Auckland to Tonga and therefore more fuel needed. I had enough to get me to Pago Pago but fortunately I was able to secure some additional from a local airline who had one aircraft using AVGAS, and this gave me a more comfortable reserve for today’s flight.

The airways route from Tonga to Pago Pago is 488 nautical miles (there is an error in my route page where it shows 685 nm). The flight was similar to yesterday’s, with beautiful blue skies at 11,000 feet above the clouds. I could see a large cloud formation a long way off, and it was still there after another hour’s flying. My bet was that this was Pago Pago and, sure enough, it was. As I neared my destination I was in touch with Faleolo (at Apia, in Western Samoa, nearly a hundred miles away). This was because Pago Pago is an uncontrolled airfield with no control tower. About 15 miles out Faleolo told me to change frequency and make a visual approach, transmitting my intentions to any other aircraft in the vicinity. I had some showers of rain to contend with but an aircraft on the ground gave helpful advice on the actual weather at the field and I was soon down and taxying in to the terminal where I was met by the local airfield staff.

Flight Data: 489 nautical miles in 3 hours 40 minutes