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.

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

Flight 89) Kuala Lumpur WMKK – Singapore WSSS

During my university years I studied 3D Modelling & Animation which consisted of many hours building various objects within virtual 3D software. One of the first projects I was given was to build a virtual copy of the Patronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Whilst researching the fine details of this building I developed some deeper appreciation of the architecture. Whilst Kuala Lumpur is not at the top of my destination bucket list, I would still very much enjoy visiting this city first hand and get to see the famous Petronas Towers close up.

Due to the rough weather of what I imagine must be monsoon season, I was unable to fly out of Kuala Lumpur for a number of weeks. Each time I would load the FSX simulator and check the weather through Active Sky, the weather enhancement addon, I would find the winds too strong for my small Baron G58. On one occasion I registered an IFR route so that I could gain permission to take off. The rain and lightening was daunting but wasn’t going to stop me from trying. I pointed the plane down the length of runway 14R and got into the air pretty quickly, only to find that the winds were incredibly strong and it would certainly not be possible to continue to fly safely. Making a very risky circuit of the airport, I was able to bring the plane back to earth. The tour would have to wait another day.

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Over the following week I continued to check the weather forecast online as this was quicker than loading FSX each time. There was a short break in the bad weather which gave me enough time to take to the skies and reach my next destination of Singapore. So I opened the flight simulator and my Carenado Beechcraft Baron 58 to see patches of blue sky trying to peak through the heavy clouds above. At 10:00 it was raining and the airport surface shined with standing water lit occasionally by lightening flashes from the horizons.

This time I was very hesitant whilst taking off. I appreciated the additional flaps I used which allowed me to climb whilst maintaining much slower speeds in order to get above this bad weather. I was worried by the amount of stall warnings I was hearing whilst being buffeted around by the weather. It only took me several minutes of slow steady climbing to reach an altitude of 3,500 feet with the majority of the bad weather below my wings. I still wanted to climb higher though to get as far away from the storms as possible. By 10:30 I was pushing 10,000 feet. The thunder still rumbled from below but up here the air was much calmer and I was able to calm down somewhat.

When I was able to see the ground I could see that the terrain was pretty flat along the shore line and stretched to Muar and The Muar River. At 10:50 I could see another large storm front ahead of me and just as the rain began to hit the windscreen the thunder  kicked up once again. This time I could pick out 4 or 5 different sources of lightening in all directions. I really was in the middle of a pretty intense storm.

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I did my best to pick my way through the clouds whilst trying to get as much height as possible. shortly after 11:00 my plane was shaking violently and I was expecting to fall out of the sky at any moment. The bumpy ride continued as I reached 14,000 feet pushing the small plane to its limits. If I was ever in this situation for real, I could safely say my hands would be sweating somewhat!

By the time I had reached Singapore I was extremely grateful to see that the storms were a good distance behind and I was able to catch a view of the Singapore skyline. My landing path took me out over some of the smaller islands as I lined up to land on Runway 2L. The lingering clouds made it pretty difficult to spot the runway and I as I came into land I was still passing through cloud. Despite the poor visibility I was able to touch down perfectly. I guess the additional stress fine tuned my abilities. Once I had parked and turned both engines off, I was able to listen to the distant thunder. It is strange how comforting the rumbles can be with distance to soften the sound. I can’t say the loud thunder claps I heard mid-flight were in anyway relaxing.

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Landing at Singapore Airport (Changi) Airline Pilot Cockpit View – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0UQK5KyyLY
Singapore Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_q3BdrFsLI
10 Top Tourist Attractions in Singapore – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF3aXCdAt4o
Singapore in Time-Lapse Flow Motion  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYzdrbGBh8k
Singapore 4k Aerial Drone Photography 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyuOFWCOV_M
The Night of Singapore – Marina Bay drone video in 4K – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVH6–x5VL4
Three Days In Singapore- (4K Timelapse) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f-aExAWsOs
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Singapore – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ndLbqHsm8
Ultra Singapore 2016 (Official 4K Aftermovie) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZp6paQmCN0