It would have been another 3 hour flight from the Toliary on the south west point of Madagascar to Sambava which is almost the north east point. Looking around at images I would love to take a tour of Madagascar first hand some time. I understand that the crime rate is a lot lower than mainland Africa too which makes it that much more appealing. I wanted to see more of the island than I would have done if I had taken a direct route so I planned in a slight detour.
I stuck with the Beech Baron 58 and took a couple of hours to fly over some other parts of Madagascar. I’m sure that there is lots of amazing stuff to see which simply isn’t justified on Microsoft Flight Simulator X. Maybe I need to get hold of some terrain add on packs for this part of the world.
Madagascar through clouds.
My plane headed east over mostly flat landscape across the width of the island until a thin line of mountains rose up ahead of me. It didn’t take much to hop over these and descend towards the eastern shore. As I climbed over the mountains I could hear soft rumbles of thunder somewhere off in the distance. I couldn’t spot any lightening though. Once over the water I turned north to follow the coast line and saw many of the island’s rivers flowing out into the ocean. It was difficult to keep track of which one was which, despite using Google earth and the various towns and villages as locators below. About a quarter of the way up the coast I checked my fuel gauge which was reading rather low so I checked the sat nav for a suitable place to land. Unfortunately there weren’t many options and I was limited to a small landing strip known as Farafangana. Looking into more detail about this landing strip I learnt that it was actually a small city. FSX obviously didn’t agree it was so large.
It was over a week before I loaded up FSX again and took off from Farafangana with full tanks of fuel. Once again I flew north along the coast line for about half an hour before giving in to the temptation of flying through the mountain range again. The mountains stretch for almost the whole length of Madagascar from north to south. As I headed towards them the clouds began to increase in number and I often found myself with no visibility at all as I passed through some of them. Once out of the clouds I had to keep a keen eye on the ground below as it was very quickly rising to meet me. I checked my altimeter and I hadn’t dropped at all. It was simply the topography rising as I flew closer to the mountains.
Flying over some of the peaks I felt like there was some spectacular scenery passing below although it would feel pretty lonely to live there. I didn’t see many towns or villages for a long while. This may be down to the simulator though. My aircraft soon left the mountains and flew very low along the top of a plateau. The sense of speed was an added bit of excitement as I watched trees and rivers pass a couple of hundred feet below. The clouds were still building and by now were getting to be darker although the clear blue sky above was able to peek through some gaps.
Once above the clouds the highest peak on the island passed smoothly below my wings and I began a gradual descent. The clouds lifted and dotted the sky above me on the last straight of the flight. The sun was setting over my left shoulder as I caught sight of the run way. Without knowing which way the wind was blowing I circled the airfield, out over the sea and back to land pointing in land. I think I came in a little fast but made for a good landing. With only a petrol pump to the side of the runway, I am looking forward to my next destination with an International airport.
Sambava, Madagascar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iybAC43Lsw0
Diving with Sharks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbYg2EpbLtQ
Driving around Sambava: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4Phw-gK_E4