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 77) Seoul – Tokyo

Upon my arrival at Incheon Airport, just outside of Seoul, I took the opportunity to fill my fuel tanks. This saved some time this morning as I entered a fully fueled waiting Beech Baron on a rather chilly 14 degree day. A Large “Orbit” jet taxied away from me during my initial checks and set up. Orbital are a fictional airline that enhabit the FSX simulator.

I was due to set off for Tokyo at 09:00 and with a flight time of 3 hours 26 minutes I was expected to arrive in time for lunch. I would be very interested in visiting Toyko first hand to sample the variety of foods on offer. The Baron 58’s twin engines were started at 08:52 and shortly after received my clearence for taxi and eventually take off. I had to wait for 2 larger boeing jets to land before me and I could already see further planes queuing in the sky behind them. In the middle of a lot of radio traffic I heard my take off clearence come through at 09:15. A little delay wasn’t too much to worry about.

The first 30 minutes of the flight was full of consistant radio traffic and I was swapping from channel to channel very quickly all whilst climbing to my designated altitude of 10,000 ft. I felt that this was rather too high although I was keen to keep the rate of fuel down as much as possible.

The first view of the ocean came at 10:10 as I approached Pohang. By 10:16 I was flying over the water although I could not see any sign of Japanese land on the horizon. The sky over the water soon developed clouds which prevented me from seeing the horizon at all. Still, the GPS advised of 32 minutes until I reached the following shore.

By 10:45 I though I had seen glimpses of land ahead and at 11:00 I made radio contact with Tokyo Center. I was beginning to get more excited about this destination as I would consider this to be a bucket list travel destination in real life. I decided to drop altitude to get a better look at Japan’s terrain although the odd cloud did it’s best to spoil the view.

Flying over Japan I was impressed at the quality of the mapping in this part of the world. The roads seemed to have much more detail to them than the majorty of the world I have already covered. Europe, Africa, India, and the most part of Asia so far had not been as detailed as Japan. I though the lighting from the roads would be great to see at night.

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The detailed landscape below peaked my interest so I opened the Maps application on my phone and followed my route as I went. I covered many interesting sites such as Koyamaike Park, Tottari City and Tasima Airport near Toyooka. I flew over some very cozy coastlines and wanted to see more of these small towns. Yosono and Miyazu certainly looked pretty.

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Toyooka Bay

By mid-day I had crossed another time zone so had to recalibrate my clocks all the while still flying over “Obama City” and a large lake call Biwa with Mt. Ibuki

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Mount Ibuki

 As impressive as this 1,377 meter tall mountain was, I was still looking forward to seeing Mount Fuji. I could see the hills getting higher and turning into more and more mountain capturing clouds inbetween their peaks. The taller summits were covered in snow although Mt. Fuji was by far the largest.

Mt Fuji stands at 3,776 meters which works out to be 12,388 feet. This was almost as high as my aircraft so I decided to climb just enough to be able to see the distinctive creator at the very top of the volcano. I passed by the south side of the volcano and was tempted to do a full loop although being pressed for time I decided to continue to Tokyo and I knew I will be passing back this way in a few days time.

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Mount Fuji

Mt Fuji – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPBbccjw1rQ
24 Hours on Mt. Fuji – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1uqNsj2Ubw#t=757.853812
Climbing Mount Fuji | 8 Hours of Hell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtt583ruGAI
Mt. Fuji Japan – GoPro HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qttyhOSPOJM

I finally reached solid ground at 14:16 (13:16 when allowing for the time zone difference.) having waited for 12 other aircraft to land and depart. Tokyo is obviously a VERY busy airport. Just what I had expected to find in this amazing city.

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Tokyo – Japan 2016 4K – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aANLWsATis8
Tokyo Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS-hFKC_RKI
Tokyo Travel Guide 2016  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxfoIb26NQs
Tokyo night drive 4K SONY 2016  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l4MyDUi8Rc
Tokyo’s Best Cherry Blossom Spot: Meguro River – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAVmCUmCuR8
Tokyo Capsule Hotel Experience ★ ONLY in JAPAN #26 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0-oNv51j9o
Japan / Tokyo (WOW Amazing!!!) Part 1  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvZod-Zr8jE
Japan Travel Guide 2016 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lnyda3ei4o
Beautiful Kyoto: The Most Amazing Autumn Momiji Leaves in Kyoto  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV_YXad978k

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 48) Abu Dhabi – Bahrain

Whilst working late shifts for the past couple of weeks I decided that this flight could be taken of an evening whilst watching the sun set across the Emirate Sands. Checking the fuel levels I was confident that I did not need to refuel before this flight as I had over half tanks full.

Seeing the sun peeking over the terminal building I could see it rapidly getting lower in the sky. It didn’t take long until my aircraft was sitting in a shadow and I was starting my engines.

By writing down the taxi directions I trusted my navigation skills to find the correct taxi ways and entrance to Runway 13. It was another long taxi and even had to stop to avoid a collision with a fire crew.

Awaiting my take off clearance I watched a CRJ700 on final and eventually touch down before rolling onto the runway myself and pushing the throttle open. My wheels were up at 17:10 and I banked to the correct heading, ready to enjoy the setting sun over the waters.

It was clear where the wealth of the United Arab Emirates comes from as I passed over oil platforms not far from the coastline.

As the sun disappeared and the sky became a deeper shade of blue, the clouds took on a orange hue before eventually thinning out to a clear sky. I climbed to 10,000 ft and leveled off. This flight felt like quite a long time in the air although I am sure that it was probably simple because I was so tired myself. Whilst night time flights can be fun to test instrument reading skills, I think it a better idea to do the longer flights during daylight hours.

Once the stars had come out I was impressed to witness 3 shooting stars flash across the sky in front of me. This was the first time I had ever seen shooting stars within the simulator FSX and was surprised that they had been included.

Reaching Bahrain the skies quickly became a lot busier and as I entered my landing pattern I saw 4 other aircraft ahead of me whilst counting other aircraft taking off. Both runways were in full use and once I had landed I was very surprised to find out that the runways themselves are used a lot by taxiing aircraft. This meant a lot of waiting whilst other aircraft were landing and taking off although whilst waiting, I did get to see another set of shooting stars.

I didn’t know much about Bahrain other than the Formula 1 Circuit. So was interested in seeing some of their own architecture. Whilst turning on to my crosswind leg, I saw a very long road which seemed to stretch out over the water. I was puzzled by this until I checked Google Maps and could see that they do indeed have a very long bridge spanning the sea between the islands.

Turning my engines off and parking the aircraft I know that I shall need to refuel before my next flight which will be doubling back on my journey before arriving at Jask.

Bahrain-Airport

Bahrain Airport

NIGHTking fahd causeway bridge

King Faud Causeway

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Bahrain World Trade CenterBahrain_12_682x400_1254582aBahrain Formula 1 Circuit

Bahrain City Guide & Travel Information – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmREZW80FJQ

Qatar-Bahrain bridge – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DA3LjhY0RY

Bahrain International Airshow 2012 Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMkDBVrupbI

Top Places to visit in Manama, Bahrain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhbOEz_0HiI

Bahrain 2014 F1 Race Edit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i6xsCZJw9U

A Tourist’s Guide to Manama, Bahrain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWCEN55m0G0

“Happy” In Bahrain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTrBlI-64DA

Flight 47) Dubai – Abu Dhabi

I started this flight by taking a few minutes to familiarize myself with my new aircraft and understand the new layout of the radio stack. Being a new version of the same plane I have already completed 18,000+ miles in, I was pretty confident I knew the majority of the controls.

Sitting in Gate F-14 of the world’s largest airport I was right to presume that I had a long way to taxi to reach the active runway. The airport was extremely lively with large jetliners touching down and many ground crews driving around the terminal buildings.

With my new plane I have also assigned myself a new Call Sign. “World Travel 80F.” The “F” standing for Flights as I was originally to complete the entire trip in 80 flights. I have since learned that with all of my detours to see additional destinations, my 80th flight will only have taken me half way around the world.

I requested my taxi clearance at roughly 10:00 and began my lengthy taxi journey to Runway 30L via K Z Z4 K K17. Trying to write down the instruction and radio frequencies proved to be very tricky. I’m going to need more practice at that. Previously I have simply been re reading the radio text within the simulator.

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I dutifully awaited my takeoff clearance and proceeded to roll down the runway. A Boeing MD-80  was also taking of from Runway 30R and looked huge in comparison to my little light aircraft. I took a glance back at the massive terminal buildings and was pleased that I had watched much of the TV show “Ultimate Airport Dubai” which provided a fantastic, detailed insight to the operation of this huge airport.

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It wasn’t long before I was flying over the city taking my final looks at the iconic buildings here such as the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, Atlantis Hotel resort and “The World.” A project of man made islands mapping out the world.
image Burj Khalifa
2015-2-12_10-39-23-215 Burj Al Arab
image Atlantis Resort
image The World Project

I am pretty confident that this will be the shortest flight on this World Tour. By the time I had left Dubai behind, it was already time to consider my landing pattern. I skimmed the coast line and saw many islands dotting the shore and as I turned inland towards Abu Dhabi International I was surprised to see how far away from the city this airport was. I had previously checked Google Maps and was pleased to know that I would be flying directly over Yas Marina F1 Circuit and Ferrari World. Being a big fan of Formula 1, I enjoyed seeing the 2014 Championship be settled at this track. See the video link below.

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Abu Dhabi International Airport

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Yas Marina Circuit & Ferrari World

Abu Dhabi may not be on the same level of extravagance as its neighboring city Dubai although it does still boast some spectacular architecture. It will be exciting to watch this part of the world develop even further through-out the next few decades.


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Yas Hotel

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

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Abu Dhabi Golf Course

Inside Abu Dhabi International Airport Etihad Airways *HD* – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8qirEjrEwY

Early Morning Approach & Landing Rwy 31L Abu Dhabi Airport – Cockpit View – https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=ji1eDqydc5E

2013 Formula1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMXNqkXvkoI

F1 Abu Dhabi 2014 Race Edit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqGJ_vPZw90

Ferrari’s Alonso and Massa ride world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World – https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=ijuQwnfBBZw

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi 2012 (full HD) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBigggu8GKk

Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WqinOY5yVw

Abu Dhabi Travel Video Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT8x5wa04F0

Beautiful Abu Dhabi Top 5 Attractions City Tour *HD* – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuEOVr-HvGY

Flight 46) Seeb International, Muscat – Dubai

The city of Muscat has been full of amazing places which I would very much like to visit first hand. I used Google Earth to travel from Seeb International Airport to the city of Muscat itself and was overwhelmed by the grandeur of many of the buildings. See my previous post for images of some of the architecture and the very impressive Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

As wonderful as the capital of Oman was, I have been looking forward to my next destination of Dubai since leaving the virtual tarmac of my home city of Edinburgh, UK.

Being so keen to reach Dubai I fired up my computer and loaded FSX first thing on the weekend morning. By 9:00 am I was looking out of the windows of my Beech Baron and watching the organised mayhem of aircraft much larger than mine negotiate the taxiways of Seeb International.

I rather enjoyed the bustle of the airport around me as I powered up my Beech Baron 58, started both engines and began my taxi route to runway 26 behind a Beech King Air. After watching the King Air take off I received my own take off clearance and had raised the wheels by 09:19.

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Looking Back at Seeb International

It didn’t take long to reach my 6,000 ft flight level and could see over the sand dunes and rocky hills as they passed below. Only three or four clouds marked the horizon line in front of me and I was surprised to see a single patch of greenery in the expanse of desert. I wasn’t sure if this was accurate or simple a bug in the FSX Software. As the hills continued below me, they grew progressively taller until I was climbing further to clear them at 11,000 ft. The Hajjar mountains broke up the rolling sand deserts and made for a little more interest in the landscape.

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Flying above the Hajjar Mountains

Heading a bearing of 335 degrees, I slowly descended back down to 10,000 ft and the resulting speed gain cut my ETA to 24 minutes to the next way point. With mountains on my left and sea to my right I clipped a single cloud and realized that while Seeb International Airport was incredibly busy, the skies here were rather quiet.

I was keen to see Dubai coming in to view over the horizon as I had treated myself to the fantastic “FlyTampa Dubai” Scenery Add-on Pack which contains a huge area of detailed landmarks including the worlds tallest building, although I was still 109 miles out when I received my ILS landing instructions to follow a bearing of 345 and then 315 and back again. This repetition quickly became irritating and I knew this had to be a glitch with FSX radio communications. All the while I still had not seen Dubai come in to view.

At 10:35 I could make out on the horizon, the giant rising tower that is the Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world! The building was impressive even from a long distance away.

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Dubai comes in to view.

Dubai International Airport appeared very quickly afterwards and I was soon on final to land on runway 30L, the larger of Dubai’s runways.

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Trying not to get distracted by the size and detail of the area I landed smoothly at 10:45 and immediately taxied for a very long way until I reached my parking bay just in front of the Dnata Freight Gate.
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Whilst taxiing I could see so many features in the horizon that I knew I would have to explore again in another short flight and was already looking forward to spending a longer time here than in most of my destinations. As I set my parking break and turned off the engines and avionics I thought to myself that this might be the final time I do this. Not because I want to end my journey, but because in a city as amazing and luxurious as Dubai, it would make sense that if I was to upgrade my aircraft, I should do so in Dubai!

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Fly Tampa Dubai Rebooted

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Dubai Travel Video Guide (25 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlR0Y1dGecE

DUBAI: The Greatest City On Earth (43 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOSci-rWf2Q

Dubai Holidays Destination Guide from Virgin Holidays (7 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkrh3po0KBA

Travel Dubai – The Tourist Attraction (8 Mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9TtbrRBwEc

 The Luxury Life Of Dubai By Piers Morgan – full documentary (58 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbUOaVqBFJQ

Dubai – the rules (3 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spgEppa1BgY