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This Auster Onni bought together with Daniel Rundström in the beginning of the fifties. Daniel came to Ethiopia 1946 as a young flight technician and worked at Bishoftu for von Rosen.

Daniel is still alive and well and lives at Dominica in east Caribbean. He have given me so many stories from his life that I have material for a book about his fantastic life. He was born 1925 and his dream today is to build an airplane and fly from Dominica to Ethiopia.

This is part one of a story about Onni and Daniel when they made a holiday trip to Kenya when Onni had got a flying certificate in the fifties.

Interview with Daniel “Rundis” Rundström 2009

“That time there in Ethiopia during the 40s and 50s meant a lot to me. I was only 20 years old, not even reached lawful age yet. At that time, you had to apply to the authorities to travel abroad alone if you were not of age.

I arrived in Ethiopia in 1946, just after the war. During the trip there I got to witness all the misery that the war caused in Europe. It started with Amsterdam, where you could see the bomb craters at the airport.

Onni was in Ethiopia when I arrived. He had left the military life. I thought that was good. He was made Secretary General of the Red Cross. The thing with Onni was that he was always in the background. He never made a fuss of himself. But he was behind most things.

He was very friendly with the Duke of Harrar (son of Emperor Haile Selassie). So was I, since I taught him a bit of technical stuff. He was interested in flying and so was Onni. We bought a plane together, Onni and I.

I went to India. Onni was very good friends with Thomson. He was Canadian and worked for the mission there. He was in frequent contact with Onni and it was Onni who hinted a little about me, so that I came to India. I had just got my pilot’s license, Ethiopian certificate, and did not have a lot of experience. I had approximately 80 flight hours behind me.

So I went to India and bought an aeroplane. We bought it together, Onni and I, in 1950. The plane we bought together, I shipped from Bombay to Aden by boat. It did not have a long range. The distances were too long to fly, but I flew another plane, a “Norsman”, from Bombay to Addis Ababa. I landed in Pakistan, in Karachi, and then in Marsays, on the island Masirah outside the Arabian east coast. On to Salalah, that is located between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden. Salalah was an English protectorate so RAF had an airbase there. From there I flew on to Ethiopia and Addis Ababa.

Later, after about a month, the plane that Onni and I bought arrived in Aden. It came in a crate, it was almost new but we got it cheap. You could buy aeroplanes very cheap during those years. I went to Aden and assembled the “cart” and flew it to Addis.

About Onni, I would like to say that he had very good organisation skills, he could organise things. It was he who arranged things when IFK Norrköping were in Addis to play football. He arranged it all. It was he who told me to fly over the football ground and drop the ball for kick off, to make it a bit fun, and the Emperor was there. He arranged at lot of things for the Emperor. There were Red Cross parties, motorcycle races. I have a programme from one of those where Onni is listed as organiser. I got along well with Onni. We had a lot of fun together, Onni and I.

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Later, in the mid 1950’s, I flew with him in a plane from Yemen to Addis Ababa. He had just divorced Mary. She later died before he did. I think she was a plucky girl. I appreciated her, she was fun and always attending all parties. We always had lots of parties in those days. Mary was a very intelligent person. I actually spent rather a lot of time with Onni and Mary.

We did a lot of things together. We were out flying this Auster. But the flight we did together, that is the best. To me, that topped everything!

That was really some flight, I can tell you! I think that is the strongest memory I have of Onni is that trip. We stayed at the same hotel and went swimming at Malindi by the Indian Ocean. Onni did not have a lot of experience as a pilot so I suggested he’d take a more experienced pilot and good friend of mine with him. Lasse Larsson. Ingvar Larsson was his name but everybody called him Lasse. He and Onni went in the Auster and I flew the L-5 together with another special person, who is dead now. He was a meteorologist and named Ingvar Aspliden. He got hold of an American woman at the American Embassy in Addis and married her. He eventually ended up in Virginia, USA.

The plane that Onni flew certainly had room for four, but we had to take a lot of extra fuel, so Mary had to fly Ethiopian Airlines to Nairobi and then we met up at Malindi. There was another man there when we arrived. Pilkvist was his name and I think that he and Mary had travelled there together. We only met in Malindi and then we separated again.

Onni and I flew further south to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. On my way home I had met a girl who lived near Kilimanjaro. We landed there on the way because I wanted to see this girl. Then we flew back via Nairobi. But this was the most smashing thing of the trip… but maybe I should start at the beginning… but it was just unbelievable!”

to be continued…

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