Flight 98) Tennant Creek – Alice Springs

Another hop over the Australian bush would take me from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs. Hop might be an understatement as I would be covering 250 nautical miles almost due South.

I began by checking the weather forcast online and within SkyForce, the flight simulator weather plug in I use to ensure that I am flying with realistic conditions. The forcast showed a few patches of rain but nothing which would be any cause for concern. I did a brief walk around of the aircraft, double checked I had enough fuel for the flight and started the engines. With nobody manning the radio tower it was a very simple taxi and take off.

I would have been able to follow the Stuart Highway the whole way from Tennant Creek to Alice springs, but for a large portion of the flight I preferred to follow a large winding river.

It looked pretty remote as I passed along mile after mile of open wilderness. There was a distinct lack of any civilization between the two cities. This made me wonder if there was anybody at all who had set up home in any small shacks or cabins which weren’t as visible from the air. If there were a number of people who had decided that a nomadic or isolated life was their ideal way of life, what sort of support would be available to them should they need it. Whilst my mind pondered on such questions I did get to see another aircraft join me in the open sky. It was an Australian “flying Doctor”. It made complete sense to me why the medical industry would need flying doctors to cover such vast areas of land to reach people in need or to deliver supplies to remote communities.

By mid-day I could see the hills that announced the location of Alice Springs rise up in the distance. Looking around in all other directions the landscape looked like a blanket that had been smoothed across a table, all except for one fold cutting its way through. Alice springs is nestled perfectly against this fold and uses a small cut between the ridge line to allow travel North and South.Upon landing I discovered that this geological fold were the MacDonnell Ranges. Multiple breaks within these ridges made for beautiful looking gorges and nature parks. See the videos below.


Alice Spring looked like a small oasis in a wide landscape of desolation. Although I equally wanted to see what could be found away from the consentrated population centers. The airport I was landing at was just on the outskirts of the main hub and as I approached my radio kicked into life again. Finally other air traffic sharing a frequency. Cessna 177s, Boeing 7 something somethings and a lone LearJet were all coming and going. It was nice to be in civilization again, if only briefly.

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MacDonnell Ranges in 4K, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

TOP 50 ALICE SPRINGS Attractions (Things to Do & See)

Alice Springs: A must-visit destination in Australia

Tony Robinson’s Time Walks | Alice Springs

Flight 97) Katherine YPTN – Tennant Creek YTNK

I have enjoyed learning a lot about a small community around Katherine and was interested to see what other communities held as I continued to explore Australia. This leg of the tour was to be an extremely straight forward flight of 322.7nm directly from Tindal Airport, Katherine to Tennant Creek, without any detours or waypoints. The only landmark that I knew to look out for along the way would be a large lake I would pass directly over.

I opened the flight simulator at 15.05 and took my time to check the aircraft, the controls, the weights and fuels as it had been a while since I had last flew. I did all of this whilst the engines were running and slowing warming. After topping up the fuel tanks I taxied to Runway 32 via taxiways D A B which were very easy to find on the simple airfield. With a short check in with the tower I received my take off clearance and took to the sky.

The clear blue sky was inviting and as I gently climbed the vast green landscape grew in all directions. I turned to a heading of 158 which I would be holding the entire flight and watched the small rivers wind themselves through the trees and brush below. Travelling at 160 kts my GPS suggested a flight time of 1 hour 45 minutes which was a lot quicker than the information provided by SkyVector, an online flight planning tool.

Having left Katherine behind me I soon found I had issues with my radio. Whilst I was still able to communicate in the simulator, I didn’t have any voice audio so decided to cancel flight tracking with the ATC and only contact Tennant airfield once i wanted to land. This made for a very quiet flight.

A number of dust patches passed by below which broke up the the green landscape and provided the more familiar red “brush” I had been expecting to see over Australia from the air. A closer inspection showed many animal tracks although I wasn’t lucky enough to seen any living creatures from my plane. Following my journey on a map I realised that I was flying over Sturt Plateau.


This pattern of greenery and red brush was only interrupted by the lake I had been expecting. “Lake Woods Conservation Covenant.” The lake was much larger than the smaller bodies of water which peppered the terrain and it was nice to get a glint of mid afternoon sunlight off the still waters of the lake and sporadic highlights from the many surrounding rivers feeding it. It was 16:30 when I flew over.


On the far side of Lake Woods some cloud was gathering straight ahead and I knew I would be flying into them. With this in mind I dropped from 10,000 ft to 3,500 ft and watched the clouds quickly form into an impressive wall. I had just thought to myself that this was the sign of a storm front when a single burst of lightening illuminated my cockpit. I listened for the thunder but didn’t hear any over the drone of the engines. It was sod’s law it was going to be stormy over Tennant Creek whilst the rest of the flight had been so clear.


Being low I was easily able to spot Tennant Creek and it’s airfield well in advance. I took a single lap of the town and announced my landing intentions for runway 29 to the unmanned radio channel. The light touchdown was surprisingly smooth considering the gathering storm happening around me although at least it had not began to rain. I parked between 2 Beechcraft KingAir with Australian livery and watched the clouds darken before ending the simulator.

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Living in the Barkly Region – Tennant Creek – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQoox3NyFvQ

Tennant Creek NT Australia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIQtXQbpt2o

Driving Through Tennant Creek and down the Stuart Hwy NT Australia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EogKRM6cjCs

Dance at Tennant Creek – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytIUGDRaxKQ

Flight 96) Darwin YPDN – Katherine YPTN

I had really enjoyed my first taste of Australia. Quite literally in fact as I was able to find a relatively local Australian themed resturant which sold Kangaroo steak. I found the meat to be pretty tough although I don’t know if that was the Kangaroo or the chef’s ability leaving something to be desired. Still, it was an experience entirely driven from this tour. Maybe I’ll find some other Australian food as I continue through the country.

After being away from the Around The World tour for so long, it was finally time to get back into the swing of things again and plan the next leg. I used SkyVector to look at the route. This is an online map showing airways, airports and other aviation navigation details. Simply enter the departing and arriving airports along with any other waypoints and the site generates a full “NavLog” for the journey. This navlog advised of a distance of 153.4 nauticle miles which would take roughly 1 hour 39 minutes. I was also able to look at the details of the Katherine YPTN Airport. This is actually a military airfield but it was good to know the runway lengths and directions as well as the radio frequencies. I wondered how acurate the flight sim would be when it came to details such as this.

REX SkyForce is an addon piece of software which provides ennhancments across the board for the simulator. Most notibly weather. The clouds, sky colours, lighting, weather effects are all tweekable although it is the real time live weather updates that are imported to the sim which is my favorite part. If there is a thunderstorm over Darwin when I am due to take off in real life, there will be a thunderstorm in the simulator too. Wind direction, temperature, air pressure is all loaded in and effects the performance of the aircraft accordingly. It truly adds to the immersiveness and adds that extra element of planning. – http://rexsimulations.com/skyforce.html

Here in the UK we are entering the autumn months and the weather has noticable taken a turn. On the other side of the world the weather was improving and I was pleased to see that Darwin had clear skies with a light wind of 11 nmph heading South East. This would give me a helping hand as I would be travelling the same direction. That will cut some time off the flight.

07:00 local time (Local for Darwin) and I was once again back in the Carenado Beechcraft Baron 58, making adjustments to the familiar cockpit. Barometric pressure – 29.94 Check. Heading bug correctly aligned – Check. GPS and Radio systems all correctly configured and tuned – Check. Along with the full pre-flight check lists completed.

The tower provided my route along the taxiways to Runway 29 so I knew I would be taking off to the West. Precicely due west would be 27 for the 270 degrees on the compass. North would be 00 or 36, East 09, South 18 etc etc. As I crossed the runway as part of the taxi route I noticed that the wind sock was pretty much dead. Not a lot of breeze to disturb it at ground level despite the advised 11 nmph wind advised. By 07:16 I was ready to leave the City of Darwin, climb into the sky once again and take on the rest of this adventure.

The city passed by below as I climbed a little. I wanted to see what I could of Darwin before continuing. The city appeared to be very lush and green although this soon gave way to expanses of brushland and forest. I was suprised to see the low sun glistening from the large number of rivers snaking their way through the terrain as well.

By 07:38 light clouds were appearing ahead although I knew they would not be a concern. The ground stretched out below and I considered it to be very flat until I dropped lower for a closer look at some of the rivers. On closer inspection the terrain was full of rolling hills. Not very high but very condensed. I found a main road and followed this over the hills and wasn;t too worried about following the purple GPS route line perfectly as I knew I would make decent time due to the tail wind anyway.

The rivers widened as I got closer to Katherine and I saw a large area of drier, dusty ground. I was later to learn that this was Nitmiluk National Park. A large nature reserve with spectacular river canyons cutting through rock. I would certainly look more into this when I had landed.2019-10-4_23-44-43-631

Katherine is situated on the Katherine river whilst the Tindal Military field YPTN is located outside, a little SE from the main population. I made my way in for a left downwind circuit of the runway lining up with runway 32 at 08:22 and my wheels touching down smoothly only 6 minutes later. I took a wrong turn during the taxi route to general aviation parking. I will have to do more research on each airport and see if I can find the taxiway labels as well. I was parked up by 08:35 and immediately took to Google and Youtube to find out more about this rather remote looking place.

I was amazed by Nitmiluk Nation Park. It’s Croc filled rivers, large red rock cliffs and spectacular waterfalls would certainly be something to enjoy first hand. I was impressed to learn about the Jawoyn Aboriginal rock artwork.

“Nitmiluk is the Jawoyn name for Katherine Gorge. It is pronounced Nit-me-look, and literally means Cicada Place. The name was given by Nabilil, important figure of the Creation Time. As he travelled through the country he came to the Gorge where he hears the song of the Cicada, “Nit, Nit, Nit!” The Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park and Jawoyn Association logo is a painting by a deceased traditional owner of Nitmiluk. It depicts Bolung (the rainbow serpent), Nitmi (the cicada), mussels, fish and rocks. By tradition, Bolung still inhabits the deep pools of the second Gorge at Nitmiluk and care must be taken not to disturb him.”

Source – https://www.nitmiluktours.com.au/about-us/jawoyn-people

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The Katherine Hot springs also seemed to be a popular destination. Looking at the clear waters and idyllic scenery, I can see why.

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I also found a great Aboriginal Art center along Gorge Road leading north from Katherine which featured some amazing traditional arts and didgeridoos for sale. I would love to have been able to get one of these as a souvenir. Check out their site: https://topdidj.com/

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Life In Katherine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydZVg7NgL5o

Top 15 Experiences Katherine NT – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_dlb3sns5A

Katherine Outback Experience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=95&v=6sqJef5pVFg

Katherine Gorge, Edith Falls, Hot Springs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDRiqWQ1QKY


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 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

Flight 90) Singapore WSSS – Jakarta WIII

Once again it had been some time since the previous flight due to the amount of bad weather hitting Singapore this time of year. Active Sky 2016 is certainly bringing a higher level of realism to this tour although I wish that I had been using this add on software long before now. Still, I was looking forward to taking on the weather in the skies between Singapore and Jakarta as well as crossing the water.

At 496.2 nautical miles (571 miles) this was back to the sort of distances I enjoy. The miles go by pretty quickly and I feel like I am making good progress on the tour. The estimated journey time was 2 hours 30 minutes so I made myself a warm drink and sat down at the computer just before 10:30, ready for the flight. First things first, I checked the weights I had set up on the plane. I felt like I had maybe gained a few extra pounds myself since I last flew so wanted to make sure that I was keeping things accurate. Weighing myself I clocked in at exactly 160lbs and entered this into the pilot’s position of the small Beech Baron G58. I usually allow for another 100lbs of luggage and provisions in the storage areas. I have done this ever since I ran out of fuel over the island of Socotra. Using 50lbs of “luggage” weight, I was able to top up my fuel and just about make it to the next airport.

10 minutes later I was ready to start the lengthy taxi route from my parking spot to runway 2C. In this case the “C” stands for “Center” indicating that there are 3 runways pointing in the same direction. It must be an increadibly busy airport! During the time it took for me to taxi I watched clouds gather above as multiple aircraft arrived and departed. I only had to wait for one landing Airbus A321 before I was given my own take off clearence.

Just after 11:00 I retracted my landing gear and watched the city of Singapore pass by below me. I looked out for the many tall buildings but could not see the 3 towers joined with a swimming pool at the top that I had come to recognise instantly. I suppose that this building did not exist when the FSX flight simulator was first released. The huge cruise ships below certainly made me think of the huge number of tourists who get to visit such an amazing place. One day I may make it. Flying further south I left the bustle of Singapore behind and pursued the open seas in front of me as they turned through increasingly darker shades of blue. With nothing else visable on the horizon I knew this would be a long flight. 2017-5-1_21-45-12-124.jpg


Once I hit 13,500 feet I noticed how clear the weather was, even with Active Sky 16 importing live weather information. Unfortunately weather did not stay this clear for long though as I soon saw a cloud bank below which blocked any view of landscape below. I was able to see the occasional glimps of sea though which seemed to change shade each time I looked.

At 14:51 I contacted Jakarta (WIII) to request a full stop landing although due to the heavy cloud and fog the airport was IFR landing only. This of course meant that my own VFR landing was denied. I contacted an alternative airport to request a VFR landing but this request was also denied. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) allows aircraft to line up to runways as well as entering a glideslope automatically through the use of radio systems. Visual Flight Rules (VFR) is all about being able to maintain sight with the runway. In these weather conditions I can fully understand why VFR landings would be far too dangerous. 2017-5-2_0-10-25-144

At 3,000 feet I had zero visiblity and knew there was no chance of a VFR landing anywhere despite my increasing desire to feel the firmness of the ground as soon as possible. I quickly set up a direct IFR flight plan which would mean that the airport’s tower would provide me with the relivant headings and directions to land safely. Combining the directions provided and the display on my GPS system I was able to line up pretty well despite not being able to see the runway lights until the very last minute. Another Airbus A321 was also attempting to land at the same time as me and as I heard its loud engines pass me by I also heard a radio message to the Airbus advising that it “goes around” to take another attempt at the landing. My own touch down was good considering the weather and poor visibility and I was pleased to reach my parking spot infront of gate “Charlie 5.” Shortly after the same Airbus which was attempting to land parked up next to me.

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Jakarta Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia (4K) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwkLdqUOrxE
Come With Us (Jakarta) | Eden Ang – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5BXkN-NBBk
JAKARTA, Indonesia Highlights | Travel Vlog – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdvtFAezEk8
I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS JAKARTA – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC2ybrOpl4M&t=318s
A Tourist’s Guide to Jakarta, Indonesia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtxm1f5-8lw
Discover Indonesia: Jakarta – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HniDsWXVJ4
Travel With Me : Jakarta, Indonesia | What I eat episode – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blpb2dQQCTI