The 80th Flight!

Flight number 80 would be the final flight of the original “Around the world in 80 flights” tour so this should be somewhat of a great achievement. However, due to the number of diversions and additional flights I have added to my own tour, despite reaching the 80th flight, I have not even reached my half way point.

Since leaving Edinburgh in the UK 3 years ago I have racked up over 54,000 Kilometres which works out at over 33,500 Miles! I have passed through 37 different countries whilst I have covered Europe and the length of Africa, all the way too Cape Town before continuing to The UAE and Middle East. I then covered the entire length of India or order to reach the Maldives Islands before returning North to the Himalayas and Mt. Everest. From the Himalayas I continued to Asia and across to Japan where I have now begun to double back on myself a little. This is simply so that I can loop further South as I make my way through the Pacific Islands and eventually reach Australia.

From my home in the UK, Australia will make my geographical half way point around the world. I feel that this should be celebrated more than the acknowledgement of my 80th flight. After all, I still have many more miles to go with many more countries to visit. Having significantly amended the original route I shall be completing a total of 203 flights before my wheels finally touch down in Edinburgh UK once more.

Whilst not mathematically nor geographically “half way,” I shall be considering my virtual arrival to the island of Hawaii to be the half way point of my Around The World Tour.
Hawaii to San Francisco is by far the longest flight I will have to negotiate during the tour and will need to heavily modify my tiny Beechcraft Baron 58 in order to make the huge distance but this is still some way off for flight number 120.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire time I have been completing this tour although I would love to hear from people who live in any of the places I have already, or am yet to visit. See below for the offical route map and for the full list of destinations I shall be visiting (virtually.)

OFFICIAL ROUTE MAP

Blue Pins = Offical 80 Flights Route
Red Pins = Addional Destinations Added By Me
Yellow Pins = Points Of Interest I Shall Not Land At.

Please continue to follow my virtual adventures around the world and leave comments to help me to make it that little bit more realistic.

Flight 75) Shanghai – Beijing

It had been a long time since my previous flight and I had enjoyed the time spent learning about Shanghai. I really hadn’t known what a huge city this place had become, although now it was time to leave the futuristic lights and skyline of Shanghai for Beijing. I included Beijing on the tour mainly so that I could see the Great Wall of China.

I started by checking the weight and fuel load of my small Beech Baron 58 and made sure I plotted a suitable route north. This didn’t take long and before long I was requesting taxi to runway clearence by 10:00. The rain and fog wasn’t very inviting but made for a rather reflective concrete surface around Shanghai Airport. Unfortunately my take off clearence was denied as the airport was operating IFR only due to the thick fog still in the air, so I created an alternative IFR route and was soon give the clearence I was looking for.

I had to “hold my position” many times during the taxi route to the runway as this really was a very busy airport with other aircraft landing and taking off regularly and many other planes maneuvering to and from their own gates. All of this movement made the radio buzz constantly.

Having almost lapped the main terminal building entirely I finally took to the skies at 10:25 and soon cleared the low clouds. I didn’t want to fly too high as I wanted to get a look at the infamous Shanghai skyline. As the flight sim FSX is a fair few years old now, it is clear to see the rapid expansion of this city as many of the key buildings now standing were not featured in the original software. Still the city looked wonderful with the cresent moon keeping watch.2016-5-29_10-36-15-758.jpg

Flying North-West from the city I passed over the Hung-Tse Lake and then straightend to due North for the majority of the flight. My next waypoint was 1 hour, 45 minutes away.
I flew lower and the speed of the land below gave the illusion I was travelling faster than at higher altitudes.

An hour later and I was approaching the coastline and could see hills and mountains in the distance both infront and from my left hand window. I flew lower once again to have some fun with the hilly terrain below but soon found myself surrounded by mountain fog. Passing over a few unknown cities and lakes with anouther hour and a half still to go until reaching Beijing, the weather finally cleared up.

I suffered with radio confusion between Beijing Center directing me to contact Tianjin Tower and visa versa. This bounced to and from for far too long until I was able call my landing intentions and touch down at 14:38 slightly off center. The few previous runaways I have landed on have belonged to very large international airports. I will look forward to visiting smaller landing strips in the future. I find these can be a little more challenging.
The Beech Baron was parked up by 14:45 and I was looking forward to seeing the sights of Beijing.

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Whilst here I really wanted to see the Great Wall of China which can be seen to the North of Beijing. Whilst I took a short flight around the area, I was unable to see the wall at all. Many maps show there to be many sections of the Great Wall. Maybe this just simply isn’t included in the standard FSX simulator software. This was rather disappointing. Nevermind.

Beijing Travel Guide – Beijing official city guide HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHCab5_BArI
Visit Beijing – 5 Things You WIll Love & Hate about Beijing, China – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZVSii6rB5g
This Is My City – Beijing  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx35kanMWh0
BEIJING Modern City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH3PvfI7ELQ
Discover Beijing III: A Modern City in Motion (Full Episode) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PrcMFLQ5IQ

[Documentary] The Forbidden City of Ming &Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1912 AD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QvsCr_xK3c
Beijing Travel Guide – Forbidden City Documentary (Palace Museum) Part 1 “Secrets” HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHypO2ISPas

National Geographic – The Great Wall of China – Documentary  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjlydnRqcmw

Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii-n_QSS0og

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

“I’ve always wanted to see the world…”

Today I embark on an epic voyage of discovery. I shall be flying around the whole world all from the comfort of my own leather reclining office chair.

For years I have wanted to travel and explore as much as the world as possible. For me, my understanding of life is to experience as many things in life as possible. Of course everyone will have their own limits as to how far outside of their comfort zone they wish to step. However, as with most things in life these experiences usually cost a lot of money and this for me is not possible. Although I work hard at the jobs I do, my years within retail does not allow me to save any money towards luxuries such as holidays. I am not fortunate enough to afford the costs of plane tickets and hotel rooms which would be needed to fund a week’s holiday, let alone to tour the entire world. For now, the reality of those dreams shall be placed on hold.

For many years throughout my childhood and into my adult life, I have had a passion for aviation and would love to take to the skies and what better way to travel the world than by air. I shall be taking advantage of the technology I have to hand in order to achieve this around the world adventure. Microsoft Flight Simulator X with several add-ons including REX and EZDock, will provide my aircraft, whilst Google Earth, YouTube, and various other sources shall provide me with a sense of education to each area I cover.

Amelia Earhart mysteriously disappeared when originally flying this 80 leg tour in 1937 whilst attempting to set a world record. I, on the other hand, am taking a leisurely attitude to my journey.

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Amelia Earhart