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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Flight 59) Bangalore – Thiruvananthapuram

I had foreseen this flight as a stepping stone destination whilst on my way to the Maldives, with my stop off being in Thiruvananthapuram. Landing at Trivandrum International Airport on the South West corner of India. Eager to set off, it was an early morning start. At 07:10 I checked my fuel levels and could see they were rather low so requested a fuel truck to fill my Beech Baron. Disappointingly, there were no fuel trucks available so I requested taxi clearance to the fuel pumps. For the first time in a very long while I had trouble starting the engines. Was this due to the low levels of fuel or a more serious problem? In the FSX simulator I did not have to worry about maintenance. This would be a great addition to add in the future though. As it turned out, I was to blame for the engine trouble as I had not adjusted the mix levels correctly from the center console. It would appear that I don’t perform well at this time in the morning.

After successfully getting the engines running, filling my fuel tanks quickly and adjusting my weight to allow for various baggage etc, I was soon ready to go. I had already pre-planned my route making sure I would pass over the best of the scenery on offer between Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram. I pushed back from the fuel pumps whilst watching an Airbus unloading and was soon behind a second airbus about to take off.

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The sun was bright and low whilst the sky above was clear with only a small collection of clouds on the horizon in all directions. I saw the Airbus take off and listened to “Airwave 202″ land, before I began my own take off from runway Right 27 at 07:48. With a climb rate of 600 ft per minute I headed for my flight path as highlighted in purple on the GPS and was soon reaching the same hills I had left behind in my previous flight. The winds were pretty gusty as they hit the hills below me. I wasn’t complaining though as they helped my aircraft climb very quickly at times. 2015-4-14_0-22-8-740

At 12,000 ft I could see there were 2 separate layers of cloud and adjusted the fuel mix for high altitude flight. By 08:20 I cancelled the IFR so that I could descend freely and enjoy clinging to the terrain below. As I did so the clouds began to get a little heavier and I am sure there were a few grey ones among them. After the hills flattened out I climbed higher once again. The twisting and turning to follow the terrain had taken me rather off course and I would have been a lot quicker simply flying direct to Thiruvananthapuram as I was getting tired already. Once again, it is clear to see that I am not good in the mornings.2015-4-14_1-54-44-310

I descended for a while, gaining speed as I did so whilst noticing that the clouds had now disappeared completely. I could see the ocean from my right hand window as I headed further South to find Trivandrum International Airport itself. I passed over the last of the hills and cliffs I would see whilst following the length of India and saw the last of the terrain flatten out to the sea. Somewhere in my field of view was Thiruvananthapuram. For this journey I still have no idea how to pronounce this name.

Still descending I turned towards the airport and lined up with the runway a very long way away. I noticed that I was pretty high and fast. It’s very difficult to lose altitude quickly without rapidly gaining speed too. I completed another perfect landing, even if I do say so myself, and quickly hurried off of the runway to allow for the following aircraft to touch down. This was the second time I have been hurried off of the runway whilst being closely followed.2015-4-14_2-9-12-897

At a few minutes past 10:00 my small plane was quiet once I had parked up near the fuel pumps and I had switched the engines off. I don’t think I will need fuel for my next flight although I will be flying over the sea. It can’t hurt to have full tanks I suppose.

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Kovalam Beach

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Padmanabhaswamy Temple

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Emirates Flight 522 Dubai to Trivandrum – Full Landing video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX5Chm0alTM

Thiruvananthapuram City Tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF5SHsea_UE

Happy – We are from Trivandrum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWQSywJvzgU

Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapadmanabhan Temple – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpSYHJ9PRMk

Trivandrum, Thiruvananthapuram, District Kerala – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d38vmIMzP7Y

Developing Trivandrum : Rising Metro of the Country ! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnrlhwr2wcw

A Ride Around Trivandrum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7LIjS0mgjo

Rocky, Mayur go surfing for food in Thiruvananthapuram – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mHdJmXVLNI

Rocky, Mayur’s delectable delights in Thiruvananthapuram – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ittJ-4OLtYg

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Flight 58) Mangalore – Bangalore

Before I began this flight I wanted to take a look at the map to set out my flight plan. I had seen that there was a large airport called Kempegawda International on the outskirts of Bangalore which I wanted to fly to. Unfortunately having only recently replaced HAL Airport as Bangalore’s main airport in 2008, FSX did not have this as a destination. This meant that I would be landing at the original HAL Airport in the city itself.

It was late afternoon by the time I had plotted my flight plan and started my aircraft’s virtual engines. Checking the fuel I could see that I was pretty low with only a quarter of tanks full. The flight was to be a short one and I was confident I would make it to Bangalore on the fuel I already had.

I took off from runway 27 shortly after 16:50 and headed west, right into the setting sun. I can understand why the aircraft is fitted with large sun visors as the bright sunlight would have been blinding. The Arabian sea was soon below me and I began to double back so that I could head East towards my next destination.

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There was a slight layer of mist sitting on the horizon and I could make out the faint flashing of aircraft lights high above me in the sky. The sky was mostly clear although I could see a bank of clouds to the South from my right windows. As the sky became a deeper shade of blue the treetops lining the crest of hills became silhouettes marking out the terrain. I enjoyed the very low passes I made over the top of each hill and even followed an extremely winding forest road to the top of a very large hill. This peak was part of crescent shaped range of peaks created by the curved ridge I was following. Once I reached the line of high peaks I could see the lake which I noticed on the map previously indicating that this was my turning way point and I left the high ground for a longer, flatter run across the country.

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With the hills behind me blocking out what was left of the low sun, the sky quickly became much darker and I watched the tiny lights spark on below me. I took the time to gradually rise to an altitude of 10,000 ft although the ground was still only a few 1000 ft below. It was fascinating to watch the road lights cut through the dark landscape and snake their way around the odd lake or river.

After a while of pretty none eventful flight I was given instructions to enter a right turn landing pattern for Runway 27. It was only whilst writing this blog when I realized that I had landed in exactly the same direction from which I had taken off. During my decent the city lights came into view and I was easily able to spot the airport as I flew over the city and completed my crosswind leg. The very calm weather and long runway meant I was able to perform a lovely soft landing at the furthest end of the runway so that I was closer to the terminal buildings. I needed to exit the runway pretty quickly as there was a much larger 747 coming in to land right behind me which I did not want to force to go around for a second attempt. I parked up and saw that whilst I was comfortable for fuel, I will certainly require a refuel before I take off again but for now its time to “Chillmari.” (Bangalurean for “Chill out.”)

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Vidhana Soudha Palace

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 Cubbon Park

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lal bagh bangalore

Little Bangalore – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-f99zVjaVw

Bangaluru on Being Bangalorean – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce-A4fDkLJM

Bangalore – A Multi Faceted City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uAGZ_ixh1g

Rinosh George – This is Bengaluru (Music Video) HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8lLKgtKIOc

Why Bangalore is so famous city in india – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMKMBZe-UC4

Bangalore, Living in a global city – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYfVAPzvuug

Flavors of Bangalore – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJu1riv-HOQ

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Flight 57) Karad – Mangalore

At 09:34 on the lonely airstrip of Karad the temperature was still rising and had only reached a mild 16 degrees when I first checked all my instruments and started the engines for this leg of my tour. With no traffic in the airport or active radio tower, I could only announce my taxi and departure from the airfield. Facing south I could see a single small peak on the horizon standing out above the hills. On this portion of the tour I am flying South down the length of India along it’s Western coast so knew that I would be passing this mountain in a short while. Taking off with full power I soon entered a steep climb and very quickly re-trimmed the Beech Baron 58 to maintain a steady but gradual climb.

The air here was a little bumpy and I worked my way through patches of turbulence as I contacted Mumbai Center through the radios. I was surprised that despite the distance to Mumbai I was still directed to this radio center. As I gained altitude I noticed that the ground below didn’t seem to be getting any further away. The terrain was rising at the same rate as my gentle climb. By now the air temperature had climbed to 21 degrees. This was another sign which meant that I wasn’t that high in relation to the ground.

Following the hills to my right I was able to steal an occasional peak between the hills and saw the large drop to a few miles of land before the Indian coastline. I thought these views would have been spectacular and decided to take a better look. I stayed low, hugging the ground until reaching the drop-off and the views were as great as I had expected. I would love to see the same view for real as I am sure the simulator can only go so far in recreating these views. I must admit that before these past few flights, India was never a country I had considered visiting.

I turned back a little in order to re-connect with my flight path which would take me over many of the cliffs and dips in the landscape. The land changed from small settlements and fields to a vast forest coating the floor below. I thought about the wildlife which would have spent their entire existence within these forests and marveled at how much of the world we will never experience in our life times. From here I also caught the first view of the coast line with an estimated 34 mins left until I reached the my destination of Mangalore.2015-3-27_10-33-9-996

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I enjoyed dropping and climbing whilst staying low over these forests until I took the final climb of the flight over the final ridge. The view instantly opened up all around my small aircraft as the ground dropped several thousand feet and I was able to see over the expanse of land and all the way out to the sea. Somewhere below in the distance was Mangaluru. I began my descent and saw the moon in the bright blue sky hanging over the mountains I was to leave behind. 2015-3-27_10-50-48-1622015-3-27_10-54-17-286

At 31 miles away I contacted Mangaluru Airport and was told to enter a right traffic landing pattern and expect landing clearance on Runway 27. This would be directly West. (270 degrees.) I appreciated the near perfect weather I had been treated to on this flight as I saw the first few clouds forming on the edge of the mountains in the distance. This would have been the sea air being forced higher over the mountains and dropping the moisture they held.

Completing my full circuit of the airport I aligned myself with a bearing of 270 and crossed a river which lead directly to the airport. By 11:20 my wheels were turning against the tarmac once again and I noticed that this airport was also rather quiet with no other planes to be seen. This was an enjoyable flight with some great weather and spectacular scenery. I would enjoy learning more about Mangalore.

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 Landing at Mangalore Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou7ZmuFOFbI

Mangalore Airport Aerial View (From Cessna) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw-yd5ueKSw

Mangalore, Tradition of Traditions – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay9RZ3Xq4Do

Top 10 places to visit in Mangalore – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=724-_V6u9UA

Explore Karnataka – Mangalore – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzGYEsIdoCw

Mangalore City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cCLsYT_fzY

Mangalore Attractions (Photo slide show) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAfClIOptME

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Flight 56) Mumbai – Karad

I have been completing rather short flights lately which meant that I have not had a need to refuel for quiet a while, although as I fired up my instruments I saw that I was rather low. I requested the fuel truck which eventually came to me 3rd in line and allowed me to fill my tanks again. Whilst waiting I noticed that outside air temperature was up to 25 degrees. At 12:40 I suppose it had reached the warmest part of the day. Once refueled, I taxied to Runway 27 via F1 G B3 and H taxi ways. It could be very easy to get lost in larger airports such as these. I would like to acquire some airport plates which provide directions and instructions for navigating all of these routes however I hear that the official documents cost a lot of money. I waited for the many aircraft ahead of me to reach the runway and leave for their own destinations one by one.

I took off at 13:04, tuned to Mumbai Departure and adopted my squawk code for the flight, 1753. I had to turn back over the city slightly to face the correct heading and once again saw hills ahead of me. It was a relief to be able to see the hills in the distance as most of my flights lately have been shrouded in fog.

The 5,000 ft altimeter mark soon passed by and I was on my way. The air had gotten even warmer as it was now 23 degrees outside. I would like to get used to this weather. Maybe not the fog though. From this height I was able to spot small islands just off the coastline as well as some small mountain peaks behind the hills.

Reaching the first hill that was almost as high as my aircraft, I buzzed 2 small buildings on the very top and found a rather long lake behind. I was about to cut the throttle to take a nice low view of the lake although soon through against that idea as it would have been an even harder climb at the far end of the lake to hop over the opposite mountain. Whilst I was thinking how quiet the radios were I noticed a thin white line as a larger jet liner flew several thousand feet above me.

2015-3-24_9-39-20-1352015-3-24_9-44-16-877Passing over a plateau on the opposite hill I soon dropped slightly to the valley floor and found the river I was to follow. There were many side rivers connecting along the way and had already seen on the map that this would result in a large lake. Spotting many small huts on the edge of the water I enjoyed a slow and low fly by of the lake until I reached the opposite end. I later discovered that this lake was Shivasagar Lake. A man made reservoir as a result of Koyna Dam at the South end of the lake. The Simulator had done a good job on emulating the green vegetation.DSC_3167

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At the end of the lake my flight path meant a 90 degree left turn, which took me down a very open valley with many fields and buildings below. This was also where the main road to Karad lead past the lake. I followed the road to the city and attempted to contact the airport. There was no real conversation to be had with the tower as turned out to be a small air strip with no other taxi ways or aircraft. Declaring my landing intentions was all I could do and made sure to enter a full landing pattern whilst checking wind direction. This was so I could choose the appropriate runway, 10 or 28. After passing over the air field I chose to land on runway 10 and my wheels touched down at 14:08 despite still being close to 2000 ft high.

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Karad Airstrip

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Karad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvxnJL1Evhs

“My Dream City Karad” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG97YBjqJlQ

Photos from Karad City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOQdenvCIVU

Dancing in Karad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC_vI4l3hSQ

India Got Talent – Karad Boys – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Y3An8QUEM

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Flight 55) Surat – Mumbai

Once again the think fog I had seen all over India had smothered Surat airport. This time my wheels didn’t even leave the ground. I did my usual start up routine although when contacting Surat tower my take off request was denied due to the weather. I though better of attempting to take off in this weather as well as without permission and I decided to leave it for another day.


At 11:00 the following day I loaded the flight simulator and checked on the weather. Whilst there was a slight haze to the air, the fog was nowhere near as bad as the previous day. I was soon rolling down the  surprisingly short runway 22 and was in the air once again. Immediately flying over the bridge and boats I spotted whilst flying into Surat I completed a full 270 degree turn to loop over the city on my departure. The haze was visible but at least there were no clouds to contend with.

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The landscape stretched out before me and was rather flat with a hint of higher land on the horizon where I was due to be flying to. Whilst approaching the hills a few clouds had formed at 4,000 ft which were easy enough to fly over. At 6 minutes away from the start of the hills I began to descend so that I could enjoy some low flying through the valleys and tree topped hills. Inside the valleys the fog was still lingering and reduced my visibility meaning I couldn’t always see the next hill. I had to stay alert to ensure that I didn’t fly into the side of any hills or clip any trees. I certainly added a sense of excitement to the flight.

By the time I had reached a second ridge line the fog had lifted again to reveal clear blue skies. Once again the birds were enjoying the thermals created by the sunlight now able to heat up the forests below. I noticed the first electricity pylon in a very long time. I can’t say that I had been looking out for them but had only just noticed the lack of them.

The mountains and hills disappeared in the distance and as I reached the last valley and as I hugged the ground as much as I could the ground soon faded away from me and dropped a good couple of thousand feet. The view of the open landscape came as a surprise as I once again found myself flying high without having to climb at all. Now I wasn’t having to navigate my way though the terrain I had time to contact Mumbai Airport and declare my landing intentions. I dropped altitude towards the airport and entered a left turn landing pattern. My small plane flew over the last low hills and rivers before heading out over the sea once again ready to complete my turn on to my final approach.

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There was a lot of radio traffic and I could see that Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was considerably larger than any airport I had visited since Dubai. Once my wheels were on firm ground again I was still ordered to hold my position several times during taxiing to prevent collisions with multiple Boeing 737s, an Airbus A321, and a landing MD-80.

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I enjoy the activity of a busy airport even if it does take 20 minutes to taxi to my parking spot.

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mumbai-population-2013MumbaiMumbai-airport8917613610940977671818702 Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

10-most-expensive-houses-in-the-world-antilla-mumbai

The Most Expensive Home In The World

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Mumbai Slums

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Helicopter tour of Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4l1YxoHNos

Mumbai Skyscrapers or Skyline – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9HGEyBh5d0

Mumbai Documentary (the spirited city) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mh_0z4d3yU

The city of dreams – Understand Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghHHlcKOjPs

Mumbai Metro – A Mumbaikar’s Dream Come True! (Full Trip From Andheri To Ghatkopar) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpd3K7Bvspw

Flying to Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H1ix8wdjw4&spfreload=10

Mumbai Street Food – Indian Food Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iumt3LYQJyM

One Day In Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUUwmYRilVE

Mumbai, India 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxH6qvl47Us

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Flight 54) Ahmedabad – Surat

Ahmedabad Airport had livened up since my arrival. Even before I started up own engines I could see and hear many larger jets moving around the taxiways ready to jet off to their far flung destinations. The radio chatter was hard to get a word in although by 12:40 I was receiving my taxi instructions.

I entered the departing queue of aircraft and was soon in the air with wheels up flying over the city making my turn towards my first way point of the flight. This was a rather quiet flight in comparison to the previous recent journeys. Even the soaring birds made this flight feel very relaxing.

As I flew over several larger rivers I was intrigued at the way the muddy river waters changed colour as they met ocean water and how the selection of small boats may not even have noticed being that much closer to the water’s surface.

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The lower I got to the river, the familiar fog thickened and limited my view considerably. I decided to fly a little off route in order to follow the river as I knew that it would eventually lead to Surat anyway. It became a choice between staying low in the fog or flying a little higher and jump from cloud to cloud.

As the river opened out into an estuary I hopped over a couple of smaller islands whilst I contacted Surat Airport. Unfortunately, for the second time I was denied landing clearance due to the low laying fog preventing clear visibility of the runway. This fog really was becoming a hindrance during my time through India.

I quickly set up an IFR route within the simulator and requested an IFR landing which, thankfully I was granted. I dropped to 2,000 ft and the fog engulfed my small plane. Having just about made out the runway with enough time to fight the crosswind and to line up correctly, I soon made a rather rough and bouncy landing. I must admit that this was a long way from being my usual standard of landing.

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Surat Airport0-1403541734  gauravpathsuratvikrambaqg6 surat-by-night Surat City

 

Aerial tour of Surat city – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v96kWOuWack

Surat- The Shining City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gb4BmkP2RY

Surat City Tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTEUGCO5-DQ

41 Things To Do In Surat City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_3bN8W-ZyY

Surat City of Fortune – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJrC3ZmRWXk

Surat City of Pride – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHCCN_XDL6U

Surat Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDPjJO37998

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Flight 53) Jodhpur – Ahmedabad

Seeing the Jodhpur airfield in daylight for the first time showed the landing strip to be rather green with vegetation. I am pretty confident that this is not the case after checking out Google Earth and various images from Jodhpur City. Even in the morning the air temperature outside as 20 degrees! I really do need a holiday to the sun.

With still no radio contact option I took off from the very quiet runway and completed a loop over the city to see some of the larger sights I knew the city had to offer. Unfortunately the heavy fog had not lifted and it was apparent that I was not going to be able to sight see. I continued to circle over the city whilst gaining altitude all the way to 15,000 ft! This was unusually high for my light aircraft and I could still not see through the mist. Up here I needed the heating elements all switched on as it was now -6 outside of the aircraft.

I knew that it would have been impossible to see anything for the journey if I chose to complete my flight to Ahmedabad in this weather so remembering how quiet the landing strip was at Jodhpur, I decided to land there again and hope that the weather cleared up on another day…


A few days later I though I’d have another attempt at leaving Jodhpur city and make my way to the next destination Ahmedabad. With the fog still hanging in the air I knew that the take off and initial climb at least, would have to be done by instruments only. The altitude of 5,000 ft came around pretty quickly and I was soon above the fog and into considerable cloud but at least these clouds were mostly low laying. I continued to climb to 15,000 ft again and saw the wide open Indian landscape stretch out below.

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The clouds eventually thinned out again and I cut back on the throttle to slowly descend towards my half way point. I was finally able to make radio contact with Mumbai Center who gave me my squawk code 7115 and maintained flight following. My half way point of the flight actually crossed a landing strip. I had to check what it was called but found Udaipur Tower through the radio frequencies and requested a “touch and go” landing just to add an extra landing credit to my FSX statistics. There was still a slight layer of low laying fog and I took off again straight away.

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The rest of the flight was much more enjoyable as the fog dispersed and I was able to fly low across the fields at 170 knots which is pretty quick for my small plane. The crescent moon on the horizon and occasional flock of birds enjoying the rising thermals were certainly a relaxing change to the consistent fog.

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Coming into land a Ahmedabad the clouds had built up again and I am sure I spotted a flash or two of lightning. I was advised to flight straight in to Runway 23 and with no fog or crosswinds I had one of the smoothest landings of my tour.

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Kankaria Lake
images

Ahmedabad Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tymsj4t9MXA

Landing at Ahmedabad International Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj90ikcp4h0

Ahmedabad City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff3M5d-tUs4

Life in Ahmedabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Te4qsN9WsM

A Kaleidoscope of Colors, Ahmedabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiQfnxbx4Jk

Walkthrough in the old Ahmedabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXDb8tV7KaE

Sholay – Title Music – LIVE ORCHESTRA AHMEDABAD – RAAJIV VYAS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMWBu2R-DLA

The Foodie Ahmedabad unplugged – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjyWdCWOzhs

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Flight 52) Karachi – Jodhpur

After taking a look at the route on the map to prepare myself for what terrain there may be, I loaded the flight simulator FSX and got myself comfortable for the journey ahead. It doesn’t take me long to turn on the fuel tanks, set the prop and mixture levels before starting the engines. I watched the engine temperature rise and read that the air temperature outside was 15 degrees. Living in Edinburgh UK and having endured the lasting winter, I would certainly welcome a 15 degree warmth first hand.

As I taxied to Runway 25 Left I followed a red and white De Havilland Dash-8 and got a close view of “World Travel 383″ – a large Boeing 737, touch down and kick up some tire smoke. Watching the Dash-8 take off I was soon cleared to take off myself and began my flight over the city. There was not much to see as the city was covered in thick fog although this cleared to a clear sky by the time I reached 4,000 ft. From this height I was able to spot the river which I followed upstream towards the mountains and then took a northern detour as I flew low through the valleys.

Reaching my way point, a sharp right hand turn took me east towards Jodhpur as the sun began to set directly behind me. As the sun faded and the horizon took on its familiar purple tones I saw another large river with green fields on either bank. The last of the mountains flattened themselves out and I climbed over a number of lakes before the desert sands returned 15,000 ft below.

Coming in to Jodhpur the sky was now dark and I couldn’t make out many in the way of city lights although I could see a bridge spanning a lake with lights on. I didn’t know if this was accurate to real life Jodhpur. I contacted Jodhpur airport to request landing clearance which was denied. The airport was laying under some more fog which meant that only planes using IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) flight plans were able to land using ILS (Instrument Landing System.)

This complication really had me stumped as I would be unable to land in the foggy conditions. I continued towards the airport by following the lights of a city road until I spotted a light beacon shining through the mist. I took a very slow and very low pass of the airport to attempt to see the wind direction although I was unable to spot a classic orange wind sock at all. I wanted to continue the radio contact to the airport but had no options available. I was on my own. I used the GPS to line up with the runway best I could and successfully made a smooth touch down on Runway 05. It was eerily quiet without any other aircraft or radio contact adding to the grey mists. I parked up and looked forward to the weather clearing.

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Mehrangarh Fort

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Umaid Bhawan Palace

JodhpurIndia

The Blue City

Travelling to India: Jodhpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOsLvkbRFk

Umaid Bhawan Palace & Royal Family Of Jodhpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VPl0Yi4yNU

India Jodhpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSqeGaA-wAU

Jodhpur Fort and Thriving Market Place, India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtdB6lHWMBo

Jodhpur , The Blue City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av8oka5p0m0

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Flight 51) Konarak – Karachi

This flight to Karachi, Pakistan, would finally take me back on to the official route which Amelia Earhart attempted back in 1937 and I wanted to enjoy a sunrise on this lengthy trip. I took off from Runway 9R after taxing down the runway itself. It must be a quiet airport in order to get away with using the runways as taxiways so often. This was highlighted by the fact that I did not see any other planes land or take off in the time I spent within the simulator.

My wheels raised at 05:35 whilst the sky was only just beginning to lighten. The stars of the Milky Way galaxy were very clear and there was only the slightest hint of darker blue rising from the black on the horizon. Flying east I knew I would be pointing my little plane at this patch of sky for much of the route. Once in the air I decided to stay low and fast and enjoy the sunlight creeping its way over the various dunes and hills across the landscape. These hills were soon becoming larger and forced me to climb a little to ensure I didn’t fly straight into one.

At 2,000 ft there was not a cloud in sight and the sky was turning an amazing colours through pink and orange. The interior of my Beech Baron 58 was decidedly pink from the sun’s soft glow.

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I passed over what I thought was going to be a small settlement which turned out to be a small forest. In the desert sands I am sure this was a life source to many creatures. A large bank of cloud appeared on the horizon and for the whole time I approached, I could see brief flashes of lightening. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride.

The closer I got to the storm front I struggled to decide if I should fly under or over the clouds. I thought it best to stay above the bad weather so climbed as much as I could. Pushing 14,000 ft I knew I wasn’t going to be able to clear the clouds completely and had to take them on directly.

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Engulfed by cloud I couldn’t see a thing. Many flashes of lightning with increasingly loud thunder was rather disorientating. Although I am relieved to only be flying in a simulator, I must admit that this weather was pretty exciting. At times the lightning was very close to my aircraft although I believe that was never actually struck.

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The increasingly heavy turbulence forced me to decrease my altitude until I realized that I could not see the ground for rain and fog. The rain pattering off of the windscreen felt almost cosy in between bursts of thunder which was by now beginning to easy a little. I reached my way point and banked towards my destination of Karachi and watched a rain soaked runway pass by beneath. This was also my cue to attempt to reach some better weather, so I pushed the engine a little to climb out of the rain. Even at 12,000 ft I had not cleared the cloud although I could see the odd patch of blue sky above me.

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The rest of the way was quieter. There were no other aircraft on the radio and the sounds of thunder softened with the distance although I was still aware the storms were raging somewhere behind. By the time I reached Karachi the weather was a lot clearer and I even got to watch a Boeing 747 take off whilst I completed my circuit of the airport. At 08:00 I was close for touch down and the sun was already evaporating the rain water left on the runway. The size of this airport was a welcome sight as I watched an Airbus taxi past me and was greeted by many cargo vehicles busying themselves.

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Another exciting flight down but I am glad to be back on the ground with some nicer weather above. Time to see what Karachi is all about.

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Karachi

Whilst looking for images for Karachi I found many images of the Airport in flames and learnt of a large attack of the airport on 8th June 2014 which left up to 24 dead. I was shocked to discover this and also at how little coverage this would have received in the UK. I also read that there are many other attacks and riots within the city of Karachi making it one of the top 10 most violent cities in the world.

53953be3e55d1 karachi-airport-attack2Attack on Karachi Airport 8 June 2014

Karachi Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN3IXln8PSY

Karachi Airport 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GvJk27qpvM

 Ross Kemp Extreme World (Karachi) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXhdChkzYeE

Karachi, Pakistan, The Other Side Of Town – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvfdsXGVLEg

Vice Guide to Karachi. Pakistan’s Most Violent City (Part 1) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgIl1vmIchA

Reality of Karachi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ckkAKDS2fA

Karachi, City of Joy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfHAu2xLHYs

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