We took off from St. Thomas at 8:20 a.m. and landed in Port-au-Prince exactly three hours later (headwinds).
After parking, we unloaded our passengers, medical equipment and supplies, found our returning passenger, paid our landing fees, filed our paperwork (flight plan & general declarations) all within a half an hour.
Then the wait began … waiting for fuel for our return trip home. We waited another 90 minutes for the avgas fuel truck to arrive with the explanation that it had run out of avgas and had to reload. By coincidence, we arrived just as it had run out.
Another coincidence was that we arrived on the first day since the earthquake that Haitians began operating their airport instead of the U.S. Air Force (although strangely enough, the voice on the ground control frequency had a very thick British accent … delightful chap, most helpful indeed).
I saw cracks in the walls of the terminal building where the control tower is located, but the structure was otherwise intact, and no part of it had collapsed. We had to go up to the second floor to file our paperwork, and pay our landing fees. A shiny escalator and an adjacent staircase connected the ground floor to the second floor of the terminal, but strangely, the escalator operated in descending mode so you had to climb the stairs to file paperwork, pay your fees, and then ride the escalator back down.
To our surprise, shock, and chagrin, we were charged $154 for landing fees (they called them Air Navigation Approach fees and Airport fees).
The escalator anomaly, the exorbitant landing fees, and the fact that (since my previous relief flight to Port au Prince on Jan. 23) the price of avgas had risen from $6.60 to $7.20 per gallon made me contemplate the comment of a Haitian airport employee who said: "Yes, as of today, things are getting back to normal."
Finally after two hours on the ground we were able to take off back to St. Thomas.
As usual, the Baron performed perfectly ... a great little airplane!
George Marshall Miller