Flight 68) Kathmandu – Lukla (The World’s Most Dangerous Airport!)

Lukla Airport is recognized as being one of the worlds most dangerous airports of all time. Sitting in the Himalayas at 9,000 feet, with a runway running uphill, pointing at a mountain side there are few factors to suggest that this is a normal place to land. Even the pilots that do land here have to go through vigorous training and pass exams to confirm they have the piloting skills to land here safely. Lukla is the landing point for those brave enough to take on Mount Everest. With a challenge such as that, the adventure is worth beginning the moment the wheels touch down. With an adventure such as an around the world tour, I simply couldn’t fly past this runway without visiting.

After setting the weight of my aircraft and checking there was enough fuel to reach Lukla I started FSX Simulator and was in my parked Beech Baron at 13:40. I didn’t want to have too much fuel on board as this would mean I would be heavy and most likely fast when landing at Lukla. The runway isn’t very long so wanted to be as light as possible for the landing. The weather was fantastic, without a cloud in the sky. Mid afternoon the weather usually arrives as Lukla making visibility an added difficulty. Seven minutes later and I was pushing back from my gate and taxied the short way to the start of the runway only having to avoid small airport vehicles. Even before I was in the air I could see snow capped peaks watching over the hills to the North in the distance.

I took off at 13:55 from a southern pointing runway before turning to fly east over Kathmandu and the surrounding hills. Reaching the first hills, I could see there was a large expanse of further hills to negotiate. The hills were not high enough to cause me a problem however I still followed my flight path which took me through most of the valleys. I wasn’t sure if it was the fact that I was flying in the valleys but I lost radio contact for a brief period and made sure to change to an emergency squawk code of 1200. This didn’t last for long though and 15 minutes later I was flying North directly towards the taller mountains.

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A streak of white from a high altitude jet lingered above the mountains and as I saw the hills breaking my horizon line, I knew I needed to gain altitude myself. Lukla sits at slightly more than 9,000 feet so I was eager to reach 10,000 early so I didn’t have any last minute problems. I climbed at 500 feet per minute. As I climbed higher I could see the contrast in the flat plains to the South.

By 14:20 I had reached 9,000 and the approaching mountains were making me slightly nervous. Wanting some reassurance, I contacted Lukla on 122.9 to call in my landing intentions. “16 miles South to land on Runway 6.” I wasn’t even sure I knew where the runway was at this point so had my eyes checking the Sat Nav and scanning the view best I could. Nervousness now would have been an understatement.

There it was! On the right hand side of the valley, nestled behind a curve in the mountains. I remember thinking, “this couldn’t be the actual location. Could it?” I was prepared for a strange airport but hadn’t realized just how mental it would have been.

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I was a little high to make a turn for final approach and I also wanted to take a better look at the runway, so I decided I would fly past and head further up the valley and would turn around at a wider spot. I think this was a luxury that most aircraft do not get when landing at Lukla. I believe that the Twin Otter D300 is most commonly used to land here and my own Beech Baron is much smaller. Upon reaching a fork in the valley over a village called Namche Bazar, I was able to complete a 180 degree turn and head back down the valley. This was also a good way to burn off a few extra pounds of fuel so I took a second fly-by as I passed the runway on my left this time. The lower terrain at this end of the valley made for an easier 180 degree turn before I committed myself to the landing.

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Flaps down, Gear down and throttle hand at the ready I made sure I was flying as slow as possible whilst not falling out of the sky. This is a lot trickier than I had expected. The valley wind was blowing my plane sideways as I attempted to turn towards the runway. It seemed so strange to land towards a mountain and if I would be unable to stop in time there would be no other out come than to crash into the mountain side. Luckily, or due to the practice I have had at so many landings now, I was able to bring the small aircraft down with a heavy bump and had the breaks on hard which slowed me down just enough to turn into the parking section just before the final wall.

As I thought I could finally breathe that sigh of relief, it dawned on me that there would be no fuel pump here to fill up for my long flight to Dhaka which was to be my next destination. I had enough on board for a sight seeing flying to Everest and to get be back to Kathmandu. I would fill my tanks here again before the next long flight.

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Whilst my Plane was parked at Lukla, I spent a lot of time on Google Earth and followed the foot path all the way from Lukla to the village of Namche Bazar. It was great to see inside some of the hostels and bars. Most of which were very simple buildings but accommodated many climbers and explorers. There was even a library and museum with many artifacts from previous expeditions. When virtually visiting Kilimanjaro I really wished I could visit and climb the summit myself. I didn’t feel the same way with Everest. Seeing how many bodies there are left on the mountain shows just how dangerous and what an undertaking it would be. Still, I was looking forward to a short flight North to take a closer look at the highest point on Earth.

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Lukla Airport, Nepal – The Most Dangerous Airport in the World ?? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y14LkCJd7-4

Flight To Lukla Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKED_3FA7c4

Lukla Landing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDfI4tbMUvs

Scary Lukla Landing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkIcUpWuYxY

Landings and Take Offs from Lukla – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1FiEQu4MDw


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Flight 67) Delhi – Kathmandu (Through The Himalayas)

Flying over the Taj Mahal over looking the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra was certainly a highlight of my tour around India. The symmetry and intricate work put into the building of this iconic structure is undeniably awe inspiring. See my previous post for images and videos from the Taj Mahal.

Delhi was full of contrasts as I learnt a lot about the wealthy areas of the city and the opposite side of life, the slums. Whilst I believe that Delhi would be full of surprises and an assault on the senses, I am very excited for the next leg of the around the world tour.

This flight would be one of the longest flights I have undertaken so far, and also one of the most dangerous. (Virtually of course.) I have been getting myself into the habit of making my flight plans much more detailed and this flight would need to be mapped to precision as I would be flying through multiple valleys and canyons as I enter the Himalayas. There is a large risk of entering a tight valley and reaching a dead end, too high to fly over and too narrow to complete a turn. At high altitudes and with thinner air than at sea level, this was even more of a risk. All of these factors were playing on my mind as I spent many days checking the terrain of the area and ensuring I could copy the same route within the FSX flight simulation software. Although I don’t technically have a schedule to stick to, I was aware that I was long overdue this next flight due to the amount of planning involved.


Taking a full day out of my own hectic life to complete this flight I wanted an early start. 09:00 is early in my eyes on a day off work. Plus I was eager to get going as I was really looking forward to the amazing views and surreal idea of having so much terrain above my small plane. The Carenado Beech Baron 58.

Booting up my computer around 9:00 am and preparing for the day ahead with some snacks and drinks I didn’t actually find myself in the virtual aircraft until 09:30 ish. The outside air temperature read at 15 degrees. I was interested to see the difference as I climbed in altitude and passed the snow capped mountains later. Indira Gandhi International Airport was a bustling hive of activity at this time in the morning. Even without any simulation expansion packs for ground operations there were many vehicles unloading luggage and refueling aircraft, including the 2 A320s which were parked either side of my plane which was dwarfed in comparison. This also prompted me to fill my fuel tanks ready for the long journey. I requested fuel and only had to queue 2 places until the fuel truck reached me. I adjusted the fuel and payload and was all set by 09:45. During this time, the light cloud had thinned out and all but disappeared. It was looking to be a great day to fly.

The airport was huge and I had this confirmed to me when I received my taxi directions. I was to head to runway R10 by using the route R2, R4, 5, N1, P, N. At times like these I wish I had the corresponding “plates” for these larger airports. Plates are effectively maps for airports which pilots can use to navigate when taxiing. I found my way without getting lost and was granted take off clearance. I edged onto the runway, lined myself up for take off and slowly pushed the throttle all the way to full. Hearing the small plane rattle its way down the runway until all went quiet, the ride eventually smoothed out and I could raise the landing gear for 10:05. I was relieved to see that there was very little fog. I had grown used to expecting thick fog at low altitudes in India. It seemed to cover almost every other destination I had been to in this country. My headphones were buzzing with many different voices coming and going over the radio. The skies were certainly busy over Delhi.

The first way point I had set into my GPS was apparently 52 minutes away. This would mark the beginning of the Himalayas mountain range. Not that I would have been able to miss them. The horizon ahead of me was still flat for now and softened with the distance and slight mist in the air as I left Delhi behind. Once again, this fog soon cleared at higher altitudes and were replaced with clouds. I had plenty of time so set a pretty slow climb speed of 300 feet per minute and watched a large bank of cloud develop in front. As they grew larger I could see sporadic lightening illuminating the graying clouds. There was no way to fly around the large bank of cloud so simply held on tight and flew straight through. Surprisingly there was very little turbulence although the clouds blocked the view of the horizon so was relying on the artificial horizon in my cockpit.

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By 10:25 I found myself flying over a wide river although I was unsure what this river was named. Peeking between the clouds I thought I could see the subtle outline of mountains on the horizon but in all honesty it was too hard to tell. The view below was also mostly a blanket of white cloud passing beneath as I reached 7,500 feet. A while later and I was certain that I could finally see the Himalayas coming into view as I looked North. At this point I also expected a second river to pass below. I was to be following this river north all the way to the start of the mountains. The GPS within my aircraft indicated that I would be reaching the mountains by 11:00.

The radios had been rather quiet for some time now as I left the bustle of Delhi and India behind. I reduced the throttle to descend a little and gradually arrived at 2,700 feet. Once again I was engulfed with that all too familiar fog so was forced to climb back to 3,300 feet until I could see clearly again with only 10 minutes left to the first way point. Getting closer to the mountains I could see the clouds forming at their sides, the dense forests covering the lower levels and the tiny roads and rivers snaking their way through it all.

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As I reached my way point I was advised to change my radio to 124.7 – Kathmandu Center. Just in time for my turn to the north and the start of the gauntlet run through mountain valleys. The only way I could navigate through the many many routes was to use my finely plotted GPS route. At each fork in the valley I would reach a way point and be directed to the next. I would have needed an entire other person to help with navigation if I had not had planned so thoroughly before hand. I enjoyed the fast flying through the rolling hills and valleys, watching the small settlements and odd road go by, although had not allowed for a particularly high ending to one valley. The training I had done in the Cessna 172 regarding tight turns within valleys came rushing back to me as I completed a full 360 degree turn within a tight valley all whilst gaining enough height to make it over the ridge previously blocking my way.

On the far side of the ridge the terrain became a lot more rugged and even the valley floors were obscured by fresh formed cloud cover. Now flying at 7,500 feet I still had many peaks above my wings. With this terrain and the rapidly decreasing visibility I felt myself getting nervous to the dangerous conditions. Climbing higher all the time to escape the rising mist which seemed to be chasing me, I got my first look at snow covered mountain peaks at roughly 11:35.

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Reaching 10,000 feet the fog and mist had finally disappeared and was soon replaced by lots of cloud. White clouds and white mountains made for a unique view from the windows of my tiny plane. The ground continued to rise and I tried my best to gain altitude to match although it was a struggle climbing to the 14,000 ft required to clear the following ridge marking the end of the current valley. I was worried that with out the altitude I would reach a dead end in which I would not be able to turn in. This of course would have resulted in a rather abrupt ending to the flight, and ultimately this whole world tour! (I have decided that in keeping with Amelia Earhart, if I was to crash during any flight, then I would not be able to continue. Especially so if in an incredibly remote area such as this.) Eventually I reached the end of the valley and my detailed route planning turned out to be a good use of time as it finally saved the day.

Continuing through the Himalayas I followed a small river which I considered to be very high as well as a small road. I doubt how realistic these details were withing the simulator. I know the views would be many times more spectacular in real life. Fuel levels were looking good but part of me wished I was even lighter so that I could climb a little faster. There were one or two close calls as I flew over ridges at 15,500 ft. I was pretty sure that this was close to the highest altitude I had ever reached in this aircraft. Soon to be pushed even further. The highest point on the journey was approaching and I struggled very hard to climb. Even with a slow 720 degree turn it was a heart in the mouth moment attempting to clear the final ridge at just under 18,000 ft.

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The view opened up to a wider valley lined with the highest peaks I had seen yet. All of this was only fueling my excitement at seeing the tallest mountain in the world. Everest. This would have to wait for another flight but I was already looking forward to that trip. With clear skies above and potentially crippling ridges behind me, I continued to climb extremely slowly, purely out of curiosity to see how high I could get. Somewhere around was another thunder storm as the sound of thunder rumbled from the valleys below. I finally looped around the last of the summits and noticed the clock now displaying 12:30. The terrain quickly lowered but appeared to be extremely bumpy from this altitude. A personal best in the small Beech Baron of 20,000 feet!

The last leg of the flight took the longest. Simply pointing the plane in a straight line and letting her gradually descend all the way until I was in range of Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. The landing was nice and straight forward which was a relief after navigating the harsh landscapes previously. The radio chatter from the airport was a welcome change from the lonely skies I had gotten used to. I touched down on Runway R20 and was guided to my final resting point, Gate 3. Surrounded by large mountains on all sides the city of Kathmandu seemed all the more impressive. I find it hard to imagine cities such as this forming and growing when so apparently far from any other populated cities. It’s going to be nice to rest here for a while. After all, the next flight will be to the worlds most dangerous airport, Lukla!

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Jonah M. Kessel / China Daily

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10 Things To Do In Kathmandu,Nepal -HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KypX5vqX34Q
Kathmandu – The Most Beautiful City in the World – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DvAjNuhtyw
The Nepal Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW5kRBq30m4
30 Days In Nepal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbziahTLPAY
The REAL Nepal – Kathmandu – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WsQLB3Qrl0
Walking the Streets of Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwci70iJnqI

As intrigued I was by this remote city, I had already been exposed to many pictures of this place through recent news stories covering the recent earthquake which shattered so many historic buildings and displaced so many people. It is a shame to so see so much history lost to rubble but the real pain comes from the lack of preparation and response from the Nepalese government.

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2015 NEPAL Earthquake – Full Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weGUeZsX4d4
Raw CCTV footage Compilation of Nepal Earthquake (25/04/2015) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pts3o7f8Vg0
Everest Avalanche live during Earthquake Nepal 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hoiv9nMCF4

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Flight 66) Nagpur – New Delhi (Via Agra) for the Taj Mahal

The Around the world adventure which I have undertaken from my own black leather office chair is about to ramp up a level. The recent flights have been relatively short hops from one city to the next as I navigated my way around the varied country of India. This next flight was due to be a lengthy one and even includes a destination I would love to visit first hand. The Taj Mahal.

I had spent a good amount of time preparing for this flight by checking the route in Google Earth and making what I thought would be enough notes to find may way. Looking back now I am glad that I combined this with a good GPS system within the Beech Baron aircraft I am using to complete this tour. My notes were as follows:

“Follow take off heading to join river. At river fork, take right hand river north of the city. Due North. Follow over 2 lakes with canyon dividing them. North West, at the top of the second lake. Over flat mountain tops. (Pachmarchi Mountains.) Continue over mountains to Tawa Reservoir. Due North to Agra and the Taj Mahal. Follow river North West to Delhi. Airport West of city.”

As you can see, these notes were far from professional but served me well enough to find my way without harm. Knowing that this was a longer flight ahead, I wanted to set off a little earlier, so waited for a suitable day off from my job and set an alarm to remind me of flight day. I ensured that I had switched the PC on, logged into the flight simulator, set my weather to download real world settings every 15 minutes and finally found myself sitting at Nagpur airport in my small aircraft next to the fuel pumps where I had previously left her.

Just before 09:00 I had filled my fuel tanks to 100% with the 136 gallons of fuel my Beech Baron could carry. I also wanted to do a complete check of the instruments and realized that the heading bug had drifted pretty drastically. After a quick correction and noticing the air temperature at a balmy 26 degrees, I was ready to begin. With the radio set to 118.1 I contacted Nagpur Tower to request taxi clearance. It felt pretty quiet without any other aircraft moving around the airport but this may have been down to the thick fog which once again obscured much of the view. India is covered in fog! So much so that I almost got lost whilst taxiing on the ground, well before I got up in to the air.

At 09:22 I had reached Runway 14 and was ready to take off. Pushed the throttle forward and listened to the engines speed up and the propellers cut through the misty air. The small plane rattled down the runway and lifted effortlessly into the sky. At this point I quickly logged the squawk code of 6103 and turned to fly North. The thick fog made it very hard to find the river I was looking out for but once I got above the fog and cloud, navigation got easier.

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I used Google Earth whilst flying to check the landscape passing below and was soon able to find the first lake I was expecting to cross. Flying rather low over the lake I wanted to pass through the canyon although the heavy turbulence made me think twice about the low altitude, but not before buzzing the tree tops on the north far side of the lake. Eventually reaching 6,000 ft I heard the first sign of any other aircraft in the area across the radio. The sky also cleared up and made for much smoother flight.

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The horizon was marked by rough terrain. This would have been the hills and mountains I had been expecting once I had passed through a rather large valley which would be my turning point to head due North once again. A vast forest covered the hills and surrounded another large lake I spotted from the left window. I kept this heading for the following hour and climbed to 10,000 ft skirting just above long wispy clouds. It was a long while before I decided to descend to lower altitudes. Cutting the power to the engines I let the plane glide and gradually fall to 4,000 ft and was engulfed by thick cloud meaning I couldn’t see anything and I was forced to climb out of the cloud once again just in time to glance Rajghat Reservoir passing below the clouds.

A while later and the sprawling expanse of Gwaliar came into view and I knew to look out for the larger river on this journey which would eventually lead me to Agra, the Taj Mahal and finally Delhi. The lingering Indian fog came and went and came back again as I covered more miles to my next way point. The weather also took a turn for the worst as I flew straight into a thunder storm over the city of Agra. This made sight seeing next to impossible and as I took my first pass of the city I was unable to spot the famous Taj Mahal. After checking a map of Agra I was able to take a second loop of the city to regain my bearings and locate the amazing landmark. The fog and lightening made the sight much more eerie than it should have been.

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I originally wanted to land in Agra although the thick fog meant that my landing request was denied. Rather than arguing this decision I decided to continue on for the last leg of this trip to Delhi. Wanting to escape the horrible weather I climbed as high as I could in the time available to reach an impressive 12,000 ft. I was so relieved to find that Delhi was much much brighter and I was able to land easily.

As I flew over the city of Delhi and made my way towards the airport I could hear many aircraft arriving and departing from the airport. Whilst circling the airport I battled rather strong winds and watched several larger jets take off. The skies were the busiest I have had to contend with for a while. Upon landing I also had to slow myself down to allow time for the previous landing aircraft to leave the runway. This was rather stressful as I also had another jet wanting to land directly behind me. Touching down at 13:00 I was glad to complete this flight in once piece.

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Taj Mahal

Whilst looking at images and watching videos about the Taj Mahal, I came across a truly wonderful video in which a couple, clearly very much in love, become engaged. The video of the Taj Mahal is done beautifully although the story of love reflected in both the original history of the Taj Mahal is reflected perfectly in one man’s proposal in the video below.

The Proposal at the Taj Mahal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcLrb_YFeTo&feature=iv&src_vid=nl0vskw8Xlk&annotation_id=annotation_671377

Taj Mahal Close Up & Inside – Frank & Jen Travel India 10 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nl0vskw8Xlk

Video from Inside the Taj Mahal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOkPmdxqS6Y&feature=iv&src_vid=nl0vskw8Xlk&annotation_id=annotation_586729

Taj Mahal Tourist Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLsp7lyBC0A

Guided tour of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zZ1maISrCU

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Delhi HD Travel Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P00rLlTQdtA

21 Things to do in Delhi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huipm50W2bw

India, Delhi – City Tour (2013) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGtRK_H_HNg

Guide of Delhi (48 minutes) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO1-XfpS9W4

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Flight 65) Hyderabad – Nagpur

I feel like I have spent a long while navigating the various large cities speckling the map as India passes below my small aircraft and this next trip was to be yet another city hop. Hyderabad to Nagpur is roughly a 90 minute journey and I was happy to fit this relatively short flight into my mid afternoon.

I began the afternoon by firing up the FSX Simulator on my computer and was sitting in the virtual Beech Baron 58 by 14:40. With a rather noisy start I watched a Learjet in the gate next to mine taxi to the runway and eventually take off. I completed the rest of my check, set up the route into my GPS and began radio contact by 14:50. It took a short time to taxi towards runway 27 and I was told to hold position before crossing to allow the clear landing of a much larger Airbus. I wasn’t going to get in the way of that beast. I decided to take the opportunity to clean my windscreen. (By windscreen, I mean PC monitor.)

My own aircraft was dwarfed again but a second Airbus which followed me right to the runway. I received my take off clearance at 15:00 and was soon in the air heading towards my first way point. The skies above were grey and I was itching to have a little fun in the aircraft so decided to cancel my IFR to gain a little more freedom. The landscape was extremely fat with much patchy forest and fields to each horizon. As I climbed higher the horizon rippled with the signs of developing cloud.

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50 minutes in to the flight and I reached my first way point. The view below was restricted by the dense and wispy cloud which had now formed. It appeared to me very much like a developing storm which was confirmed once I saw a few flashes of lightening. I failed to hear any thunder following however. The thickening cloud draped India with a blanket with the occasional column of cloud which I enjoyed dodging. Now I heard the thunder as a very loud clap came from one of these columns.

Requesting IFR through the radio, once again I descended to 5,000 ft and eventually the clouds dispersed all except a thin line spanning the eastern horizon. I could still spot the odd flash of lightening just catching my eye now and again.

As I began my landing intentions to Runaway 32 I received a few ILS instructions and battled some very bumpy turbulence to eventually be cleared to land at 16:19. The rough air made for a rather heavy landing and my wheels touched tarmac a couple of times at 16:22. I quickly parked up by the re-fueling bay and tried not to worry about the amount of lightening I had just seen. Time to see what Nagpur has to offer.

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Cockpit landing at Nagpur Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eKoKOlPD7Y

Nagpur City Tour HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et_xC2YfvZI

Top 10 Places to visit in Nagpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DeTdGYB_tY

10 Haunted Places in Nagpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfg9stPSOJk

Nagpur – Heart of India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VqI0rVT1ao


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Flight 64) Chennai – Hyderabad

I enjoyed my rather short time visiting Chennai and whilst I would be content skipping this as an actual holiday destination, I certainly learnt a lot about the area. I also got to see how big Chennai are into Cricket! The city’s cricket grounds were very impressive and I got to watch the end of a very close match featuring the Chennai Rhinos cricket team.

Chennai Rhinos Vs Mumbai Heros – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HwUku9_J5s

Covering more ground in this flight I would be continue to head north on my way to New Delhi although would be ending this flight at Hyderabad.

I fired up the engines as the clock showed 18:20 and ensured that I would be able to reach Hyderabad easily on 3/4s of fuel. I wasn’t worried about that at all and began taxiing out from between 2 larger jets on either side of my small Beech Baron.
I took off from Runway 7 which was the opposite way to my arrival. Seems that the wind can change direction fairly often in Chennai. That being said, the take off was pretty tricky due to a heavy cross wind. Getting airborne I soon found myself flying through thick fog yet again. If I am taking one thing about India from this around the world tour, is that it is extremely foggy.

I climbed higher to rise above the fog and immediately found myself within large amounts of cloud. The majority of the landscape was rather flat but I still felt strong turbulence as I flew through the thermals and wind changes caused by the few ridges and hills as I flew closer to pretty large river which flowed into/out of a larger lake. I should have looked on the map to check the name of this lake but I was preoccupied with flying the aircraft through the rough air.


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I saw 1 lonely looking boat on the lake before climbing higher on my way to Hyderabad. Once I saw my GPS advising that Hyderabad was 10 minutes away, I called in my landing intentions and once again I had my request denied due to the thick fog hanging over the city. This time I was a little more prepared however and new that there was a second military landing strip north of the city which I would be able to land at providing visibility wasn’t too bad.


Flying the extra 5 minutes I was able to spot Hakimpet landing strip and completed a full circle before touching down safely on runway 27.

I was a little disappointed to not make it to my planned destination although the following evening, I checked the weather which was much clearer so decided to make the 5 minute hop to Hyderabad as I had originally intended.




Hasan Sagar Lake  Chowmahalla-Palace-PicturesCHOWMAHALLA-6-1140x900

Chowmahalla PalaceGolconda-Fort-3 inside_golkonda_fort

Golconda Fort


Hyderabad International Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y29ITqecQFo

Amazing Hyderabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=491HMSj9xGE

Hyderabad: City that Breaths Life – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDcXdyjsAos

Hyderabad- City of Many – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiwYHk-A34g

Golconda Fort – Historical Monument of Hyderabad, INDIA – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87GaQvYNVsA

Golconda Fort, Hyderbad, Andhra Pradesh India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZciUB5SxreI

 Chowmahalla Palace , Hyderabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6nDwxuBWag



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Flight 63) Jaffna, Sri Lanka – Chennai, India

In this leg of my Around The World Tour I would be returning to India once again as I work my way from Sri Lanka, North to New Delhi. It has been rather difficult to find the time needed to make another flight recently, let alone to write-up the blog, find images of the areas I cover and search for good videos to visualize these destinations in any way other than from the virtual air.

As I cleared a late evening in my diary I was able to squeeze in the next trip but only as a night-time flight. The local time in Jaffna was 03:45 when I finally finished plotting the route and checking the fuel levels. Even at this time of night the out-door air temperature on the tarmac was reading 29 degrees. Apparently this should be pretty accurate as the weather is downloaded via the internet every 15 minutes.2015-6-20_23-10-10-349 copy
The airport seemed rather quiet at this time in the morning as there were no other aircraft around despite double and triple checking as I crossed the runway during my lengthy taxi route. There was the slightest hint of sunlight trying to break past the horizon, toning the dark sky.
I took off promptly and soon saw the dark void of black seas below me and my world became a very dark place. For the second time on my around the world tour I caught sight of 2 shooting stars before reaching the Indian shore in little over 12 minutes. It was pretty hard to be sure of where the shore line was in the dark.
At 7,000 ft I was flying between 2 layers of cloud feeling much like a cloud sandwich. To gain a little more speed I descended towards the first large city I was to pass over and flew as low as I dared. The familiar fog was hanging low beneath 2,500 ft and there was a glow of city lights as I sped past at only 300 ft at full throttle. I’m sure this would not have been recommended on a real flight.
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Over the next 15 mins I gradually arose to 8,000 ft again and I kept an eye out for the Nagapttinam river outlet. The rising sun was beginning to make things easier to spot, but not by much. It was nice to know the sun was on its way though. I continued to follow the shore line north and reaching 11,000 ft I was engulfed by thickening clouds.
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I called in my landing intentions and was instructed to fly a left downwind pattern to land on Runway 25. So I cut back the throttle and glided towards the airport. The sky turned many shares of purple, pink and deep blues as the sun rose, which was very pretty. As I got closer I could see some other aircraft lights coming in to land and took my position in the queue. I came back in land having flown over the waters again and was followed a Cessna Caravan and another larger jet liner. World Travel 9322 had to “go around” for a second attempt so not to crash into the landing Cessna. I, on the other hand was slow enough to allow time for the Cessna to leave the runway and ensuring not to clip any masts of the boats of shore, I landed successfully to end my 63rd flight! I passed the Cessna Caravan on my way to my parking spot and made the engines silent at 5:40 am. Just as the sun was coming up further and turning the sky the familiar blue.
Chennai_Skyline_Anna_SalaiTranstech-Packers-and-Movers-Chennai28MP_CHENNAI_RUN__819641fKathiparamarina beach3Chennai_Central_Station_panorama
   Chennai Railway Station

Flight Landing to Chennai Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK28psxMN3I

Chennai City in HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUIX-JJVsh4

Driving Around Chennai City, India – 2014 HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0Gb1LmKH1k

On the Ground- Chennai India – Short film – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqUPKtGmPus

Chennai on Being Chennaikaran – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU3zRuKGAQE

World’s Most Crowded Place – Ranganathan Street in Chennai, India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwD1n7N7EAg

TOP TEN PLACES TO VISIT IN CHENNAI – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMw6xRi44-c

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Flight 62) Ratmalana – Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has some truly amazing sights to offer and once again I find myself wishing I could visit these destinations first hand. Many of the YouTube videos I have seen certainly make the various holidays seem lovely and relaxed whilst providing much in the way of entertainment. One of the most impressive sights I have learnt about is that of King Ravana’s Palace atop of Sigiriya’s”Lion Rock.” This is a huge stone rising from the Sri Lankan terrain with sheer cliff edges which looks extremely impressive from below, but not until you are above do you see the remains of a ancient settlement. There are many theories about what this sight was through the ages ranging from old Buddhist monasteries, Kings Palaces and even a gateway for extra terrestrial contact.

I was keen to fly over this impressive sounding piece of history so plotted my route within the Flight Simulator to ensure that I would view it from above. I found the local airstrip “Sigiriya” quite easily and noted the direction of “Lion Rock” on Google Maps. With the flight path set, I was ready to set off. I was soon rolling down runway 22 at Ratmalana Airport just after 13:00 and quickly found myself above the ocean spotting many small ships and boats. Being on the South end of the island I turned to face north and flew back over land. I had initially wanted to stay low in order to see all that Sri Lanka had to offer although the low cloud at 2,000 ft wasn’t particularly dense, but was enough to obstruct a good view. With this in mind I decided to climb higher and see if there were any mountain peaks which would poke through the cloud.

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The GPS advised that there were 23 minutes until I reached the Sigiriya waypoint which I had programmed in previously so that I could see Lion Rock, so I began my descent and kept an eye on the horizon. The clouds were easing off a little as well so I was hopeful to get a great view. I was able to spot the landing strip I was expecting, and looked in the right direction to see Lion Rock but was disappointed to realize that it was not modeled within FSX simulator. I circled the mound which I believed was the equivalent just to check if I could see any other obvious large rocks rising from the ground but didn’t get any luckier. Still, I grabbed a photo knowing that the location in real life would be a lot more spectacular.

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As I continued further North the clouds began to build up once more until I found myself punching through several large thick clouds. I enjoy travelling through clouds like these as the zero visibility available is slightly disconcerting but worth the wait for the moment the world rushes back into view. The North shore seemed to have more in the way of tropical shores and many large rivers. Touching down on runway 23 of Jaffna Airport it certainly felt very much like another military airbase. The entire flight didn’t take very long either. The map certainly makes Sri Lanka seem bigger than it is.  Sigiriya-9jaffna-peninsular-sri-lanka-sigiriyasigiriya6Sri-Lanka-temple-jaffnaking_sagili_palace__jaffna__sri_lanka_by_jennystokes-d6b6mv31sri-lanka-jaffna_2530892b

Sri Lanka Road Trip Jaffna City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mhD0-oSY_Y

Jaffna Jetti Northern Sri Lanka – Early Morning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsp-gIHX4kw

Jaffna music show dance – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWJI0Q6aPYE

Sri Lanka Trip 2013 | Sun & Surf | GoPro – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjqjziSkefU

We Go Sri Lanka – The Movie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akg3Wc5SfRE

SRI LANKA…Kandy trip hd 2015… vacation gopro 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzRARACISn8

Palace of King Ravana Over 5000 years ago – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgLHp3Fd9as

Ravan – King Of Lanka | HD 1080p | With English Subtitles – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNH2PGjce88

Adams peak, Sri Lanka – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM0rd89crvg

Sri Lanka – the Wonder of Asia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1KEHbSFI1A

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Flight 61) Kadhdhoo, South Maldives – Ratmalana, Sri Lanka

I had enjoyed surrounding myself with images from the beautiful Maldive Islands and have spent a lot of time looking into holiday packages which I would love to book myself on. The time had come for me to stop wishing I was there and move on wards with my around the world tour and put the tranquil shores and white beaches behind. The next stage of my journey would take me to Sri Lanka. I have to admit that I didn’t really have much of a mental picture of what I expected Sri Lanka to be like so I was looking forward to seeing this larger island on the southern tip of India.

Kadhdhoo airfield was very quiet and I had seemed to have gotten lucky with the weather whilst I saw the strong sun shining down on the runway. After checking the fuel levels and setting the weight to allow for a few “souvenirs” on board, I fired up both engines, taxied the very short distance to the runway before taking off a little after 10:15 am.

The flight would be over the large expanse of sea and would provide little in the way of scenery so I set the plane into a gradual climb eventually reaching 10,000 ft and headed north to return to Malé. The sky was wonderfully clear and this was the best weather I had experienced in all my time flying around the Maldives. The smaller islands dotted the ocean below me and I could easily recognize the city of Malé and the international airport. The many sea planes and small boats were the give away. Changing direction I flew North East towards Sri Lanka for what seemed like a very long time. The colour of the sea had turned into a much darker blue and I knew the waters would be much deeper out here.

One of two clouds began to form on the horizon marking the signs of land ahead. Closer still and I began to make out smaller mountains though a haze of mist. Was I to have to contend with more fog? It was a relief to be back over land once again and wasn’t long before I found my destination airport “Ratmalana.”

It looked as though Ramalana was just as warm as the Maldives and possibly had even more to offer. Time to take a tour of Sri Lanka!

22_boeing_772_app_cmb 64341677_touristselephantasigiriya021211_afp Anuradhapura3 SL_0282_IT1 Sri Lanka Gentemple16 Dec 2010 - photo P

Weligama, South coast, Sri Lanka, 1995."Fishermen along the southern coast of Sri Lanka cast their lines in the traditional way atop poles so they can work in shallow water without disturbing the fish." - George Eastman HouseThe theatrical stage would not offer a finer gesture, nor a more equisite doubling between the near and the far, than does this picture. McCurry captures the beauty of a cultural tradition and with it a natural choreography. This image also preserves a practice now essentially lost to technology, having all but disappeared in the intervening years since the photograph was made. -Anthony Bannon Magnum Photos, NYC5948; MCS1995006K200, Phaidon, 55, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic

Weligama, South coast, Sri Lanka, 1995.”Fishermen along the southern coast of Sri Lanka cast their lines in the traditional way atop poles so they can work in shallow water without disturbing the fish.” – George Eastman HouseThe theatrical stage would not offer a finer gesture, nor a more equisite doubling between the near and the far, than does this picture. McCurry captures the beauty of a cultural tradition and with it a natural choreography. This image also preserves a practice now essentially lost to technology, having all but disappeared in the intervening years since the photograph was made. -Anthony Bannon
Magnum Photos, NYC5948; MCS1995006K200, Phaidon, 55, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic

An Island Paradise | Sri Lanka – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpZI2oGPsio

SRI LANKA 2015 – 16 Days of Paradise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUJQpdQ45HI

Exploring Sri Lanka – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ4oB9n5RGc

Sri Lanka World’s Most Beautiful Island – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTaWFOhOuBI

Kamila & Adrian, Mr. Drone 2015 | Sri Lanka HONEYMOON – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28WXY1CsEVI

Sri Lankan Traditional Music – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGbmb9Dg9g0

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The Beautiful Maldives

I have enjoyed covering many miles since my departure from Dubai. The route has taken me further around the United Arab Emirates before flying South down the Western Coast of India although I have enjoyed the past week immersing myself in videos and photos of the beautiful islands of the Maldives. I just wish I could immerse myself in the blazing sun, white sands and crystal clear waters first hand. It has most definitely become one of my must see destinations within my lifetime.

With out leaving the Maldives for the past couple of weeks, I have not yet written my next flight blog entry. Instead I have decided to include some videos and photos I have collected before I leave the islands for the final time. Enjoy.

Maldives-islands-chainmaldives-islands-000-13101kanuhura_maldives_cnt_10nov11_pr_b010721-10-jetty at nightmaldiveso-PLASTICS-900 8-030 Anantara-Kihavah-Maldives-by-The-Maldives HD-Maldives-Beach-Wallpaper imagegen kanuhura_maldives_cnt_10nov11_pr_bmaldives.jpeg_215_10012013_141227 maldivesmaldives_01_big

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island


maldives-turtle-2_2073473i The-Maldives-a-sinking-paradise-4


Paradise Island Resort Maldives – Villa Hotels – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JyEhQSue44

Welcome to Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-toQZUBdrEs

Mr & Mrs Sinclair Honeymoon – Lily Beach, Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8uWqrE-rCI

Maldives 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo-_rXGDHDc

Kuredu Island Resort @ Maldives (January 2014) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGe99cCS9lw

Kuredu, Maldives 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0FNpUGGMfI

Malediven 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0V-UCp04EA

Maldives Sun Island 2011 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk1RUZDn-DA

?onrad maldives rangali island 2009 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0guryDATgro

Maldives – A trip to Paradise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-j6hGSaqb0

Maldives 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRzR_gi0Kq0

Maldives – A Video Diary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0G_2tiivxE

Billabong surf trip: Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhNfV4JLmhI

MALDIVES Chillout – 2 Weeks in Paradise [1080p HD] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tWUr2ccUA

MALDIVES RELAX VIDEO. NATURE & HOTELS [HD] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed3Zbh60h8s

Maldives November 2013: snorkeling, sunset in maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB3_dsVYrdw
Maldives 2013: Sunset in Maldives, Gangehi Island Resort – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5g7SJ4EjmY

Kuredu 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XcqVm2uuFo

Welcome To The Maldives (Vlog #129) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZSeo4p46hY

Maldives Holidays 2013 June Malediven Kuramathi Resort HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRhp7dGfMjk

10 days in the Maldives, 2013. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-YUfLyYLOY

During my stay in the Maldives I was interested in checking out a few of the islands seeing as there were so many to explore. I was shocked to discover that one of the islands is commonly known as “Trash Island” due to the fact that all of the waste from the holiday resorts is shipped to this single island where the large majority of which is burnt. The single occupant of the island is responsible for the burning and management of all of the rubbish. What a life to live whilst surround by such beauty. See the video below:

Alison’s Adventures Maldives “One Person’s Trash Is Another Woman’s Bikini” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62q9GE-_8oM


FLIGHT 60 AND A HALF) Hop to Kadhdhoo – South Maldives

Keen to head to the southern islands I took my small plane back up in to the skies for an short 35-40 minute flight to the island of Kadhdhoo which was one of the few which featured a dry land runway. The speckled clouds  gave a small amount of interest to the skies whilst it was difficult to spot many islands below. Knowing that there are hundreds of islands in real life, I was exceedingly disappointed by the standard FSX scenery.

The weather had calmed down since my arrival and this was the first time I was flying over the Maldives without the sound of thunder rattling my small plane. Once landed I parked next to a smaller Moony Bravo which then decided to taxi and take off. Maybe it was something I said? I looked on the map and read a little more about this airfield and learnt that it was actually home of the Maldives Airforce. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of a military strength on what appears to be such a calm and relaxing corner of the world.

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Flight 60) Thiruvananthapuram – Malé, Maldives

I was to leave India on this section of my Around The World Tour, knowing that I shall be returning again in the next few flights. This was an opportunity to take a rest from the virtual skies and enjoy immersing myself in beautiful imagery from the Maldives. I had been looking forward to this destination since first sitting down with the official route and adding my numerous detours. In fact, the Maldives were the entire reason I have covered the entire length of India before I head back to the north of India upon my return.

Preparing the plane best I can is a simple process within the flight Simulator. Completing walk around checks are vital in real world flights although I do not experience the same likely hood of maintenance issues. Still, I checked what I could. I started both the engines whilst noting the engine readings were correct before using the radio to contact Trivandrum Control Tower to request IFR clearance.

By 10:05 my wheels were gently rolling along the taxi ways towards runway 14. In this time the clear skies had quickly clouded over and the first spots of rain were falling. Never-mind, I’d soon be above the clouds. I received my take off clearance and raised the landing gear at 10:16 to the sounds of rolling thunder. This wasn’t the sunny start to the my holiday I had hoped for.2015-4-21_10-15-39-62

My small Beech Baron 58 headed out over the sea and I may have been a little nervous if I was flying this for real as it became very bumpy at times. The view of the ocean that I had been expecting was blocked by the cloud which surrounded me at times. I tried to climb higher to get a view over the clouds but even at 14,000 feet I could not see any land. I was unsure how far I had flown as my GPS map showed now land in front nor behind.
Eventually I pushed through the stormy weather to see a blanket of cloud hanging below. The occasional flash of lightening indicated that there was more bad weather to come. So much for the tropical paradise I was expecting.


By 11:00 the storms had lifted and the world turned blue as I could see the clear skies above and the ocean below.
I still had 30 minutes left until my first way point set at the north point of the Maldive islands. The islands themselves were hard to pinpoint although the turquoise seas ahead were a good indication.


Contacting Malé center on 119.70 I could finally enjoy the weather I had hoped for. The radio response was the first time I had gotten to hear the pronunciation of “Malé” and up until that point had never been confident of my own pronunciation.
The rough weather seemed to be following from behind and as I made the 45 degree turn to the south at final hour would give the weather a chance to catch up. Still at 14,000 the many islands passed very slowly below, each marked with their own coral and sand patterns. The Maldives really are not displayed in their detail within FSX flight Simulator. I wonder if I should have purchased a scenery add on for this part of the world.

By 12:20 I was told to start my decent to 9,000 feet as I approached Malé airport before eventually decending to 2,000 feet. It took a far while to drop this much altitude and watched Malé runway pass by out of my left window. The clear weather was too good be true as the clouds had also rolled in again hindering my view of the runway for my landing. My aircraft touched down smoothly on a dry runway although the sounds of thunder could be heard in the distance once again. I taxied to my parking spot and watched a number of aircraft coming and going from the water strip next to the airport. 13:00 and I was all parked up and ready to enjoy my much awaited rest.




aerial Maldives-beachmaldives-resort-island South Nilandhe, Maldivesholidays-at-maldives

Welcome to Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-toQZUBdrEs

Paradise Island Resort Maldives – Villa Hotels – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JyEhQSue44

Maldives – A trip to Paradise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-j6hGSaqb0

Mr & Mrs Sinclair Honeymoon – Lily Beach, Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8uWqrE-rCI

Maldives 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo-_rXGDHDc

10 days in the Maldives, 2013. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-YUfLyYLOY

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