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.
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.
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.
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 Railway Station