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 80!) Nagasaki – Taipei

The 80th flight would be another long haul over a large expanse of sea so I was expecting the journey to be rather uneventful. This was not to be the exciting ending to the world tour that I could have had on the 80th flight had I stuck to the original route.

Beginning this leg of the tour at 09:00 I loaded up the flight simulator FSX and opened the flight plan I had prepared earlier. In order to make the distance over the sea I was eager to ensure that I have enough fuel so requested a fuel truck from Nagasaki airport. Being third in line meant that I didn’t have to wait too long before my tanks were full and I was ready to depart. I followed another jet all the way from my parking spot to the runway.

There were rather strong side winds coming down from the surrounding mountains and heading out to the sea which set my plane at a strange angle during take off. This didn’t cause any problems though. I left Japan behind me as I crossed over many smaller islands although each of them had their own substantial mountains or high hills which I had to contend with. It was a shame to be leaving behind this amazing country and very different culture to my own. I will certainly be making a real life visit to Japan to see its wonders first hand.

After flying South for roughly 25 minutes I took more of a Westerly heading to fly towards Taiwan. It seemed strange to be heading West as I have been travelling East all the way from the UK other than the occasional Northern or Southern detours. I climbed to 10,000 feet to get better fuel economy from my plane and saw a heard a few rumbles of thunder. The weather outside appeared to be pleasent so I was a little unsure as to where the sound of thunder was coming from. There must have been a mixture of cold and warm air though as I soon passed through a very bumpy patch of sky which dropped me down to 7,500 feet.

The stretch of sea seemed to last for ages although eventually the shores of Taiwan come into view maked by a large mountain. Lingering clouds blocked much of the view to the ground below so I decided to circle the city to get my bairings. The airport I had originally considered was Songshan airport which is located right in the heart of Taipei itself although the larger Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was more appealing as a place to land. By 13:50 I had touched down on Runway 6 and safely taxied to my parking spot.

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I didn’t really have any prior knowledge of expectations of Taiwan. I can only say that I know of the large production output as in the UK we do have many electronic goods which are manufactured within this country. It would be interesting to find out more about this place.

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Taipei Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XeDkwAfako
Why Taipei Is the Best City (Exploring Taiwan)  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDM3oj83zMY
The Taipei Budget Travel Guide  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on3NyVwxgoM
Best Things to do in Taipei – Overnight City Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_nCj1X_Hhw
What to Eat and Do in Taipei, Taiwan (NOC Travel Guide!) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XzlkgI-j50
3 Days in Taipei | Jenny Zhou  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEd_5pwZrgY
Taipei 101 Travel Guide  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt83a5azuY4
14 BEST THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI TAIWAN | Top Taipei Attractions  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iXCN4UVAfI#t=343.519119

Taiwan Vacation Travel Video Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkx5sqexl84

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

Sight Seeing To Ha Long Bay

Whilst visiting the lovely city of Hanoi, I was eager to check out the nearby shoreline and the iconic “Ha long Bay” which I had seen many times in images and film but never really knew exactly where this place was.
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Halong Bay consists of around 2,000 variously sized islands rising out of the sea, carved by 500 million years of erosion, although I much prefer the ancient legend which tells of a family of dragons sent to protect and defend the Vietnamese people against Chinese invaders. Whilst fighting the dragons spat out jewels which then turned into islands, forming a great barrier against the invaders. Once the fighting had been won, the dragons chose to settle here and the remaining islands were created by the violently whipping tails of the dragon children.

I was astounded to learn that many families live their entire lives on small boats and rafts within these islands never settling on dry land. Floating fishing villages can include markets and schools and everything needed to provide for a small community.

I wanted a smaller light aircraft which would be better suited to sight seeing than that of my regular Beech Baron 58. After a bit of research I opted for the Cessna Skylane C180 by A2A Simulations. This is a fantastic recreation it’s real life counter part and the attention to detail is hugely impressive; Even down the the engine maintantence and pre-flight walk around. I can certainly recommend A2A aircraft to any flight sim enthusiasts looking to get a whole new level of realism from their experience.

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ACCU-SIM C182 SKYLANE FIRST IMPRESSIONS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUF4GIzujy8
A2A Accu-Sim Skylane 18 Minute First Look – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw4gWmXwD-I
A2A Cessna 182 Skylane Full review – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gD3wzJZGPo

After a very brief test with the new Cessna Skylane, I was soon taxiing behind a CRJ700 and took off to start my morning sight seeing tour of Halong Bay.
It was a slow cruise of 120 knots at 5,500 feet and it was rather relaxing watching the river snake its way towards the sea. I could see the turquoise colours of the ocean in the distance but the river, breaking off into many streams and esturies was much murkier inland.
Reaching Halong bay I was hugely disappointed by the lack of details captured by the FSX default scenery. This just confirmed to me even more that Halong bay is such an amazing place that I really would have to see if first hand to truely appreciate it.
I spent a while in the air to enjoy the new Cessna Skylane and was soon dropping through the clouds to make my landing back at Hanoi International Airport. I was relieved to find out after 3 hours of flight time, the aircraft was still in a great condition as according to the hanger’s aircraft notes.

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Hanoi – Halong Bay — Voyage to the land of junks and sampans (Documentary, Discovery, History) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx3-JfGgAQE
VIETNAM Travel Diary (Hanoi & Halong Bay!) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTwOk8Snt9c
Hello Vietnam: Vinh Long, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An | HAUSOFCOLOR – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MutE9-JcWj0
Travelling Halong bay weather 2015 | Vietnam travel guide 2016 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX-8QKcFmAE
Travel Halong Bay Vietnam – Impressions [HD] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l3fNoEfCgY
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – Journey with Jamie Logan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGy5zRjC-N0

Flight 44) Salalah – Masirah

Salalah has been a refreshing change from the remote locations I have been growing accustomed to. I was surprised to see that Salalah is a larger city which includes the Hilton hotel and resorts which only wealth can generate. I didn’t get the impression there was a huge amount of wealth available in Salalah but of course it is all comparable to my previous destinations.

I started FSX and created my flight plan in the game software provided. I made sure that I would fly over the few interesting bits of terrain whilst not over the ocean. Gaining IFR clearance, I taxied towards the runway. I enjoyed holding at the entrance to runway 25 whilst a MD-80 with call-sign SOAR61 landed and cleared the runway. By 11:50 I was rolling down the tarmac and about to leave Salalah behind me.

There had been many beautiful locations around Salalah which I hadn’t ever heard about before. I was surprised to hear what a large destination it was. Coincidentally I watched the movie “Captain Philips” during my stop in Salalah and noticed that this was the port in which his ship sailed from. Its funny how it is possible to spend a life not being aware of something, and then upon discovering something it is noticed in a variety of places.

Taking a final look at Salalah over my left shoulder I climbed slowly at 300 feet per minute and trimmed the aircraft for speed rather than rate of climb. Just before leaving land I got to fly over a small canyon directly beneath my first way point. I had done well at planning my course.The next part of the journey was over sea once again and I could see smaller islands just off of the coast.

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It was just past 12:17 when I reached my next way point with another 1 hour 22 minutes to go. I really am enjoying the way most islands seem to be bordered by a small band of turquoise sea. I climbed higher and pushed though some turbulence as I crossed the opposite shore line. Over the radio I heard that SOAR 61 had left Salalah and was back in the air. I did’t get to hear where it was heading to this time.

Requesting 4,000 ft from 8,000 ft I was able to descend and increase my speed. I soon received ILS instructions at 76 miles out from my destination. I chose instead to fly over the island of Masirah to see what it had to offer. I was very surprised at how deserted the majority of the island was. I saw only a handful of buildings closer to the north end of the island close to the airfield. When I landed on runway 25 and taxied to my parking spot, there was a distinct lack of movement. No other aircraft or airfield traffic made this place feel exceedingly lonely.

 

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BAE Hawk Mk103 Mk203 over Masirah Oman – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV9TSoe1lqc 

Trip To Oman masirah Island – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azqZ6toiUp0

2nd time on Masirah Island, Oman – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8Hn1jQMCwI

Oman / Masirah Island – a filmed Kiteboarding documentation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DpzeGABFhc