Half The World Away – A Recap

“So here I go, I’m still scratching around in the same old hole
My body feels young but my mind is very old
So what do you say?
You can’t give me the dreams that are mine anyway
Half the world away, half the world away
Half the world away
I’ve been lost, I’ve been found but I don’t feel down.”
– Oasis 1994
I finally made it!
I made it to Australia.
All the way from Edinburgh UK.
In a tiny, twin propeller, piston engined, Beechcraft Baron 58.
– I have travelled 66,000 km / 41,000 miles.
– Been airbourne for 8 days (combined) flight time.
– Logged 95 flights.
– Suffered 2 close calls. (Running out of fuel over Socotra Island and reaching the limits of altitude whilst viewing Mt Everest.)
– Visited 46 different countries…
   … and I can’t wait for more.
What an adventure it has been. Stay with me for the ride as I continue with another 150+ flights as I route my way over Austrailia, New Zealand, The Pacific Islands, Hawaii, North and South America, The Antartic, Greenland, Scandinavia, Russia, Europe and the UK as I finally return to Edinburgh where I started this journey.
Here’s some of the highlights so far!

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Flight 95) Kupang WATT – Darwin YPDN

So, it’s been a fair while since I actually completed this flight. A couple of years in fact. I am disappointed in myself for leaving it such a long time before updating this blog although even after such a long time, because of the notes I made when flying, I am still able to remember the details of the journey. Unfortunately however the screen grabs taken along the way have been lost.

It was to be a rather straight forward hop of 453 nautical miles over the Timor Sea to reach the central, northern point of Australia home to Darwin. At 13:42 I had just finished eating some lunch in preparation for the estimated 2 hour, 23 minute flight ahead. The temperature was a warm 26 degrees on the apron of El Tari International Airport (WATT) as I completed my usual checks of the Baron 58 although the overcast sky was less welcoming.

Tuning the first radio frequency to 118.3 (El Tari Tower) I requested my taxi clearance and was guided to Runway 7 to take off to the East. Taking off to the east is always preferable as it saves a little time not having to turn back on myself to continue the very Easterly tour. A landing CRJ700 gave me a short hold at the entrance to the runway but I was soon rolling East with my wheels leaving the ground at 13:55 and entering rather thick fog right up to 1500 feet. Although I couldn’t see the ground below I used my GPS to tell me when I began to fly over the coastline and out to sea.

At 14:08 I banked to starboard turning South East and began a slow climb to 12,000 feet. This was primarily to get better fuel economy from the aircraft due to the thinner atmosphere and less need for such a rich mixture of air and fuel.

Changing the radio over to Brisane center the overcast clouds which were now below me began to thin out and eventually disappeared leaving a wide open sky and a long stretch of sea ahead. Without much more to see or do until I reached the Australian shore I turned on the auto pilot and read up about the city I was about to visit.

I disabled the auto pilot as soon as I could see the shade of the water change from a deep blue to lighter shades as I got closer to land until finally the sea turned to estuaries and bays, and then on to rivers. This was the big moment I had been waiting for since leaving Edinburgh in the UK. To finally make it to the far side of the world! Even in a simulator, flying the correct distances in real time, with real world weather updates and realistic fuel consumption, I believe that this was a grand achievement.

With buildings present on both sides of the bay I was initially unsure as to where I would be landing. Of course the GPS flight plan showed me the way easily enough. It also appeared that I had a police helicopter escort as I made my way towards the city. I took some time to enjoy Darwin from the air as the now orange sun hung low in the sky creating a beautiful sunset behind me. The Orbx terrain that I have been using had now also changed to represent the Oceania part of the globe. The fresh new textures were a welcome change which only re-iterated the fact that I had reached a new portion of the tour.

By 17:00 I could see that there wasn’t much daylight left so tuned to Darwin Airport (YPDN) and called in my landing intentions for Runway Right 29. Australian liveries peppered the gates and parking areas of the airport as the now purple sky glinted reflections off of their surfaces. I watched a Virgin Australia 737 take off as I parked up close to the fuel pumps and smiled to myself knowing that where ever that massive aircraft was flying to, it wouldn’t be as far as I had travelled.


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Darwin Landing 2018 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDe1eOk503s

Darwin Vacation Travel Guide Expedia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ3M3bt22v4

Discover Darwin – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT3dSF1tepc

Why you need to visit Darwin – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p-5fS9l9M8

5 Things to do in Darwin – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as5qsR4Ur7M&t=3s

Darwin A City View – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrOwQjPtfaY&t=154s

It’s been a while, but I’m back!

I owe an apology. I am sorry for the duration of time which has passed since my last entry of this around the world blog. I am sorry not only to the handful of followers who find this blog remotely interesting, or to the viewers to this blog who stumble across its words for a few minutes of distraction, but I owe that apology also to myself. Please allow me to explain why.

So it has been a pretty long time since I was active with this Around The World Tour. Not because I haven’t wanted to continue, but because I have allowed so much of “life” to get in the way. This simulated tour of the world was something I was thoroughly enjoying. It was providing me with a wonderful education about the world. Not simply in geographic terms but also in culture and diversity. Understanding how different humans can be whilst embracing that we all share the same planet and same basic desires from life. Knowing how important this tour was for me I should have made more of an effort to continue.

Whilst everyone has their own responsibilities and goals in life to pursue, it is important to find time – nay, MAKE time, to allow yourself to do things purely for the enjoyment.  Life should be enjoyed. If life is spent constantly in the pursuit of reaching goals to the detriment of happiness in the expectation that “someday” in the future you will be happy, then clearly you are missing out on what life has to offer you right now.

It has taken me a rather rough couple of years to appreciate that happiness shouldn’t be sacrificed for the possibility of reward in the future. We work ourselves hard and put in graft and determination into progressing through the stereotypical stages of life, getting that work promotion, earning more money in order to treat ourselves to more possessions all the while hoping that our efforts do not go unnoticed by some other person with only the projected ability to make our own life better. This technique for happiness does not guarantee a positive result at the end. I personally have spent far too long of my life wishing it away. I have sat for too long at uninspiring desk jobs promoting brands or luxury products which I no longer had any faith in nor would I recommend to anyone away from my desk. I had sold out in return for a monthly salary. – A storyline far too familiar across the world.

I was grateful for the salary as this went some way to ease the pressures of paying over inflated rent prices. I was able to budget for food, groceries and utilities. If had a little spare cash each month I would be able to put this towards hobbies, days out or travel. I had a comfortable life on my days off although the idea of spending 71% of my week being miserable was not something I could sustain. Whilst spending such a majority of my waking life wishing so deeply that I could be anywhere but there, the increasing dissatisfaction I felt towards my work place and role within and the desire to escape the monotony of a job I hated grew into its own beast. The ends were no longer justifying the means as they say.

Putting up with misery in the present, believing that the suffering will result in some kind of karma balanced happiness in the future, in my opinion, is a misdirected endeavour. There are no true guarantees that reaching your targets or life goals will bring you that satisfaction you desire. The answer I have found is to simply enjoy the present. If you are lucky enough to enjoy your work and the thought of Monday morning encourages you to throw back the duvet and start the day with enthusiasm then I sincerely ask you to appreciate how lucky you are. Being able to live a life with happiness day to day should not be taken for granted.

I had found a great sense of achievement upon reaching Australia on this Tour. Not because I had overcome difficulty or uncomfortable situations, but because I had actually enjoyed every moment of the tour from the planning and organising, writing and blogging, to the actual time spent in the simulator.

Flying from Edinburgh, UK to Darwin, Australia really was “half way around the world” and seemed to be a natural place to take a break. Hind-sight can be wonderful as only now can I understand that putting work life and other commitments first was ultimately the wrong choice for me. I was living a life I was deeply unhappy with. Following a dramatic evaluation of where I was in life, I left the City of Edinburgh I had been calling home for the past 8 years. I left a long term relationship, left my friends and most importantly left the job and working environment which had driven me to such extreme action, all in favour for starting a new life at the opposite end of the UK. The beautiful South coastline of Dorset and Hampshire.

Taking a look back on the progress I had made across the globe as well as being proud of my achievement so far, I consistently had the desire to continue with this tour as originally intended.

An erratic snake of red now weaves its way across a large wall map showing the route already covered. It is wonderful to see the pure distance covered as well acting as a catalyst to spark memories of everything I had learnt along the way. From the deep mountain valleys found in Switzerland and Nepal, home of many towns and cities blessed with such amazing views of snow-capped peaks. The majestic wonders of ancient Egypt and its life source, the river Nile painting the flash of green through an otherwise arid desert land. The desire I felt, and still hold, wanting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to experience desert heats, jungle humidity and the chill of snow all within a 5 day hike. African choirs promoting their contagious happiness through music and dance despite having comparably little in material commodities. Which goes some way to show how materialism is far from the answer in the pursuit of happiness. The mind boggling array of strange and wonderful flora and fauna able to evolve on remote islands such as Madagascar and Socotra in contrast to the epic, man-made marvels of Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The disappointment in humanity I felt when discovering places of intense conflict and violence such as Mogadishu, Johannesburg and Karachi. The natural beauty and diversity of planet Earth’s environments whilst looking out over the bright turquoise blue seas of the Maldives, the awe inspiring heights of Mount Fuji or the thousands of islands creating the fantastical Hay Long Bay.

I’ve also enjoyed learning about the little things. Sion, Switzerland is home to a monastery which includes the oldest working organ in the world. The tiny shack built museums detailing the lives of cattle herders dotted along the precarious walk way leading from Lukla to Everest base camp. Seeing how a number of dam projects are reshaping the landscapes of India and the difference made to small communities when new airfields are opened in parts of remote Africa.

To look back on so much is only encouraging me to progress further. To say that I have reached half way around the world on this tour already may be roughly correct in a geographical sense although I am still fair way off reaching half the number of planned flights and destinations. I am very excited to discover what more lays in store as I continue around the rest of the globe.

I shall be taking the small Beachcraft Baron 58 aeroplane across the wide expanses of Australia and New Zealand before pushing the distances possible as I island hop across the Pacific Ocean. Many destinations are planned for a rather detailed tour of the Americas taking me to Alaska, the most Northern point on the journey, as well as the most Southern point on Antarctica itself!

I am especially looking forward to seeing ancient wonders such as the Inca temples of Mexico, lost worlds in Peru and the infamous Nazca lines. I am already intrigued by the various tribes which might be found along the Amazon and the mysterious lore behind Nordic Gods of Iceland and Scandinavia.

So with so much to look forward to I shall appreciate the opportunity I have through modern technology to take part in an adventure which is bringing me as much joy and entertainment. I shall continue to write in the hope that I can somehow bring a little more joy into the lives of any readers who are drawn into my worldly education found within these blog posts.

Flight 94) Ende WATE – Kupang WATT

The flight between Ende and my next destination of Kupang was to be a short hop over water from island to island with an estimated 45 minutes flight time. It was a beautiful day with warm, clear sky and I was confident I already had enough fuel to see out this trip without any worry.
The airstrip was pretty quiet and felt rather lonely. I doubt this would be the case in the real world, but within the simulated world, I did not see any other signs of life at all.

Taking off from runway 09 at 12:50 heading due East, I was immediately confronted with a large hill which I remembered having to drop from during the landing into the airport. Of course by now the wind had changed direction meaning that I would need to also take off towards this possibly dangerous obstacle. Luckily however it was of no major concern as I was able to turn towards the sea almost as soon as I had raised my wheels.

Once over the water I started a slow climb to 10,000 feet as I wanted to be able to see the land ahead as soon as I could. Bali Center kept me company on the radios for the easy ride which gave me something of interest to hold my concentration. The open sea and endless blue sky does little to entertain during a simulated experience. I envy the weather and felt I shared the loneliness of the sky with the single small cloud I passed on my way.


I caught sight of land at 13:20, only half an hour from take off although it still looked a long way off. Checking over my shoulder to see if I was still in sight of Ende confirmed that I had not actually travelled very far at all. 10 minutes later and I was much closer to Kupang and by now a handful of small clouds were shading the coast line. I called in my landing intentions once I had tuned the radios to Kupang El Tari WATT and decended to 2000 ft. At this height there was some low laying fog which surprised me due to how clear the rest of the flight had been. I entered left traffic in order to land on runway 07 but a CRJ700 landing infront of me meant that I was ordered to “go around.” After my quick lap I was safely on the ground and parked up by 13:52. Not a bad flight at all.

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KUPANG, INDONESIA 2017 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrvpU_2k_cw
Kupang Drone Footage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVUbyNpL1no
Kupang, Indonesia, The Undiscovered City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiV1h2GxY_I
INDONESIA KUPANG BEMO HIP HOP – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0VY80urrGY


Flight 93) Bali WADD – Ende WATE

I really had fallen in love with the island of Bali and everything I have learnt about the whole area has firmly placed this destination very high on my own bucket list of places to visit first hand. The landscape is so beautiful and local population appear so friendly and peaceful. Whilst I am not a vegan or vegitarian myself, I love the fact that so much of the island is all about sustaining the planet in positive ways. It was a shame to have to leave this place, even if only virtually, but the world holds many more undiscovered destinations so I should not feel sad about continuing the tour.

Firing up FSX at 10:40 I gave the fuel and weight settings a preflight check before starting both engines and noting the weather. The thermometer advised 28C on the ground although I could see some larger clouds to the north. I initially thought that the airport was very quiet but did pass 5 other larger jets sitting at their gates whilst I taxied to runway 9. I’d expect there to be many more aircraft at the airport in reality.

A few minutes before 11:00 and I was rolling down the length of the runway and gently rising into the sky. Shallow waters and an impressive road bridge passed by immediately as I left the runway behind. I’d seen this before however, as I had enjoyed a leisure flight around the island some days before.

The wind was gusting up to 12 knots to the east and as this was the direction I was also flying in, it made climbing rather difficult and the ride somewhat bumpy. Still, I enjoyed the clear skies and cresent moon ahead shining down over the many islands I would be flying over. Looking out of my left window I could easily make out Mt Agung rising in the north.


The next island I reached had a huge distinctive volcano which turned out to be Mt Rinjani. Without much research I considered this volcano to be long dormant as there is now a good sized lake within it’s bowl. Very impressive to see from the air.

I gradually lost altitude over the water between the islands as I reached Palau Komodo. The infamous “Komodo Dragons” originate from a selection of islands in Indonesia and this was clearly one of them. During a visit to Las Vegas a couple of years ago I was able to see a Komodo Dragon close up first hand. It’s a shame to see them confined to small quarters although I could see that they were being well looked after. I managed to get the picture below.

US Holiday 2015 078

Another large crater caught my eye as I continued heading east. This time I was to pass over Mt Tambora. I climbed over more hills and looked out over some increable coastal bays. I’m sure these would be worth visiting first hand too! The whole area was surrounded by a scattering of smaller islands. I don’t know how many of these would be inhabited but again, I really would love to visit.

Flying past WATO I announced my landing intentions for Ende Airport WATE across the radio. There was no manned tower at WATE or any reply across the radios at all, making for an easy landing though. I used the GPS to circle the runway and getting the correct approach which actually took me over a very steel cliff as I dropped down to the runway. The sea view on one side with surround forests on the others felt very calming. Once the loud rumbles of the engines were put to rest the sea breeze was all that could be heard.

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Landing at Ende Indonesia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twPhMghZCrY
Travel Guide : Indonesia (Ende – Labuan Bajo) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KI4ddoXn3Y&t=67s
Saga Village, Ende, Indonesia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m96Iza0GtRw
Sunrise on Mount Kelimutu, Ende, Indonesia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QpBGUMQVdU
Tri-colored Crater Lakes of Mt. Kelimutu, Indonesia in 4K – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjrDZ-UMgfM

Flight 92) Christmas Island YPXM – Bali WADD

I was beginning to embrace the feeling of warm sunny weather in virtual Indonesia when I noticed the outside air temperature was 26 degrees! Even through the summer this year, Edinburgh has been very grey, wet and struggled to break 19 degrees. I really am craving some actual sun.

Today’s flight is a pretty long one at 640 nautical miles (736 miles) and an estimated 3 hours 17 minutes! These distances require 121 gallons of fuel whilst my small plane only carries a maximum of 136. I’m going to have to keep an eye on fuel and efficient flying. I wanted to get an early start today so began my taxi to the fuel pumps at 7:40. I seemed to be the only plane here. Filling the fuel tanks from the 88 gallons I had left over from my previous flight would have taken a while so I took the opportunity to make myself a drink and get comfortable for the 3 hours ahead.

I fought strong crosswinds as I took off shortly after 8:00 from runway 36 heading directly north. (Runway 36 refers to the 360th degree direction that the runway is pointing. A runway pointing due east would be runway 09 in accordance to the 90th degree, whilst westwards would be runway 27 referencing the 270 degree angle.) I could see that the sunshine was trying hard to break through the overcast sky but at least it was still dry.


I entered a steep climb to push through the clouds hanging at 3,000 feet and soon burst through to a gorgeous blue sky and bright sun above whilst looking down on the blanket covering of cloud. The weather up here really was so much calmer as my Beechcraft Baron comfortably ate up the miles.

At 8:45 the clouds below finally ended and I was able to look down at the sparkling sea water. The blue water seemed to blend in with the sky on the horizon and it was very difficult to spot the point in which one met the other. 20 minutes later and I got my first glimps of land coming into view through the misty horizon. I could see volcanos and mountains on the land ahead as I drew closer to my first waypoint over the land. I always feel more relaxed when flying over land, especially during longer flights where one eye will consistantly be watching the fuel gauges.


Turning right to a heading of 075 I followed the coastline and checked off the various mountains I could see as I went. Mt Guntur, Mt Cikuray, Mt Galunggung could all be seen together and rose above the rest of the landscape. Some of these volcanos are still active! As I continued to fly east I wanted to fly through 2 larger peaks, Mt Sindoro and Mt Sumbing although this forced me to climb and burn more fuel unnecessarily.


I decided to take a short refuel stop at Marmo airport just so that I didn’t have to worry about the fuel levels aany longer. Touching down at 10:10 on runway 08 I was back in the air only a matter of 12 minutes later and able to continue without concern. Passing over Adi Sumarmo WARQ and Iswahyudi WARI I could see that I wasn’t far from my destination. I soon saw the city of Denpasar and knew that Bandar Udara International airport WADD was just a little south of the city so called in my landing intentions. After such a long flight, I was disappointed in myself when I landed with a small bounce although they do say that any landing you walk away from is a good landing, so maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself.

I was looking forward to learning more about Bali as I am imagining stilted beach huts over lookin the ocean as well as lush tropical forests. Time to see if my preconceptions are at all accurate.

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Bali Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB70skVw3nU
TOP 10 BALI (TRAVELLERS PARADISE) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UFCRBIg3Y0&t=230s
BALI HOLIDAY 2017 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSCUKk2KSxM
Bali, Indonesia in 4K – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b9txcAt4e0
MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE in the WORLD – BALI INDONESIA – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E00wjDvu9N0
Bali Travel Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWFkxloqFbA
Bali Travel “Guide” || Going In Blind – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oci8k06h01U
BALI TRAVEL GUIDE: 10 Fun Things To Do! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgvy7MeBfKw
Bali Paradise (Indonesia) Vacation Travel Video Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FB8z58imvQ


Flight 91) Jakarta WIII – Christmas Island YPXM

During this around the world tour I have often found that remote islands can hold bigger secrets than that of the larger well known cities. This was the main reason I wanted to make the 265 nautical mile (305 mile) jump over sea to Christmas Island to the south of Jakarta as I really had no idea what was to be found there.

Sitting in my Beechcraft Baron 58 in light rain at Jakarta airport I checked over all of the usual settings and began to taxi. I had about a 20 minute wait as I held my position whilst other aircraft taxied all around me. I suppose this would have given me the opportunity to check the route again although this was a simple direct flight over water with not much in the way of a “route.”

Once airborn just after 12:40 I turned to head south, straight into a large amount of fog, cloud and rain. The clouds soon thinned out however and I was able to see the large mountains or volcanos in the distance ahead. Keeping low under the clouds I knew that I would need to climb at somepoint to make it over the mountains. With the winds trying their best to blow me off course I was able to negotiate between two peaks, skimming the tops of forest trees. Leaving the mountains behind the lanscape opened up all the way to the very pretty shoreline, peppered with small boats, with the moon keeping watch above. 2017-5-2_13-2-17-246

The horizon ahead was draped in mist so I climbed higher knowing that I wasn’t missing out on seeing any terrain for the best part of the next hour. Reaching 12,000 feet I admit that I did use the auto pilot feature of the Baron 58. I try hard not to use the auto pilot too often as I feel this makes the flight far too easy and the adventure loses it’s challenge. 2017-5-2_13-49-16-240

Flying over blanket cloud I was unble to see the island at all. I wanted to circle the island before landing so held off my radio contact until I caught sight of the runway which I eventually spotted on top of a small hill. It was a small airstrip but most importantly it had a place to refuel! I landed pretty comfortably at 14:36 and was parked and tethered only a few minutes later. I had discovered that there was an immigration detention center on the island, but still oblivious to anything else. Time to see what other secrets this island holds. 2017-5-5_7-47-57-589

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Christmas Island (Australia) Vacation Travel Wild Video Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OLQJIQA_IY
My Epic Christmas Island Trip 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFbF5vARvMY
A day on Christmas island from the Air – Drone footage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9assQojR5s
Christmas Island – Flying Fish Cove – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAM-FmSNk58
Meet the locals: Azmi Yon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhiYDE_A1yw