The 80th Flight!

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

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

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

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

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

OFFICIAL ROUTE MAP

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

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

Flight 75) Shanghai – Beijing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flight 64) Chennai – Hyderabad

I enjoyed my rather short time visiting Chennai and whilst I would be content skipping this as an actual holiday destination, I certainly learnt a lot about the area. I also got to see how big Chennai are into Cricket! The city’s cricket grounds were very impressive and I got to watch the end of a very close match featuring the Chennai Rhinos cricket team.

Chennai Rhinos Vs Mumbai Heros – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HwUku9_J5s

Covering more ground in this flight I would be continue to head north on my way to New Delhi although would be ending this flight at Hyderabad.

I fired up the engines as the clock showed 18:20 and ensured that I would be able to reach Hyderabad easily on 3/4s of fuel. I wasn’t worried about that at all and began taxiing out from between 2 larger jets on either side of my small Beech Baron.
I took off from Runway 7 which was the opposite way to my arrival. Seems that the wind can change direction fairly often in Chennai. That being said, the take off was pretty tricky due to a heavy cross wind. Getting airborne I soon found myself flying through thick fog yet again. If I am taking one thing about India from this around the world tour, is that it is extremely foggy.

I climbed higher to rise above the fog and immediately found myself within large amounts of cloud. The majority of the landscape was rather flat but I still felt strong turbulence as I flew through the thermals and wind changes caused by the few ridges and hills as I flew closer to pretty large river which flowed into/out of a larger lake. I should have looked on the map to check the name of this lake but I was preoccupied with flying the aircraft through the rough air.

 

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I saw 1 lonely looking boat on the lake before climbing higher on my way to Hyderabad. Once I saw my GPS advising that Hyderabad was 10 minutes away, I called in my landing intentions and once again I had my request denied due to the thick fog hanging over the city. This time I was a little more prepared however and new that there was a second military landing strip north of the city which I would be able to land at providing visibility wasn’t too bad.

 

Flying the extra 5 minutes I was able to spot Hakimpet landing strip and completed a full circle before touching down safely on runway 27.

I was a little disappointed to not make it to my planned destination although the following evening, I checked the weather which was much clearer so decided to make the 5 minute hop to Hyderabad as I had originally intended.

 

Charminar

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Hasan Sagar Lake  Chowmahalla-Palace-PicturesCHOWMAHALLA-6-1140x900

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Golconda Fort

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Hyderabad International Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y29ITqecQFo

Amazing Hyderabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=491HMSj9xGE

Hyderabad: City that Breaths Life – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDcXdyjsAos

Hyderabad- City of Many – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiwYHk-A34g

Golconda Fort – Historical Monument of Hyderabad, INDIA – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87GaQvYNVsA

Golconda Fort, Hyderbad, Andhra Pradesh India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZciUB5SxreI

 Chowmahalla Palace , Hyderabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6nDwxuBWag

 

 

Flight 63) Jaffna, Sri Lanka – Chennai, India

In this leg of my Around The World Tour I would be returning to India once again as I work my way from Sri Lanka, North to New Delhi. It has been rather difficult to find the time needed to make another flight recently, let alone to write-up the blog, find images of the areas I cover and search for good videos to visualize these destinations in any way other than from the virtual air.

As I cleared a late evening in my diary I was able to squeeze in the next trip but only as a night-time flight. The local time in Jaffna was 03:45 when I finally finished plotting the route and checking the fuel levels. Even at this time of night the out-door air temperature on the tarmac was reading 29 degrees. Apparently this should be pretty accurate as the weather is downloaded via the internet every 15 minutes.2015-6-20_23-10-10-349 copy
The airport seemed rather quiet at this time in the morning as there were no other aircraft around despite double and triple checking as I crossed the runway during my lengthy taxi route. There was the slightest hint of sunlight trying to break past the horizon, toning the dark sky.
I took off promptly and soon saw the dark void of black seas below me and my world became a very dark place. For the second time on my around the world tour I caught sight of 2 shooting stars before reaching the Indian shore in little over 12 minutes. It was pretty hard to be sure of where the shore line was in the dark.
At 7,000 ft I was flying between 2 layers of cloud feeling much like a cloud sandwich. To gain a little more speed I descended towards the first large city I was to pass over and flew as low as I dared. The familiar fog was hanging low beneath 2,500 ft and there was a glow of city lights as I sped past at only 300 ft at full throttle. I’m sure this would not have been recommended on a real flight.
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Over the next 15 mins I gradually arose to 8,000 ft again and I kept an eye out for the Nagapttinam river outlet. The rising sun was beginning to make things easier to spot, but not by much. It was nice to know the sun was on its way though. I continued to follow the shore line north and reaching 11,000 ft I was engulfed by thickening clouds.
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I called in my landing intentions and was instructed to fly a left downwind pattern to land on Runway 25. So I cut back the throttle and glided towards the airport. The sky turned many shares of purple, pink and deep blues as the sun rose, which was very pretty. As I got closer I could see some other aircraft lights coming in to land and took my position in the queue. I came back in land having flown over the waters again and was followed a Cessna Caravan and another larger jet liner. World Travel 9322 had to “go around” for a second attempt so not to crash into the landing Cessna. I, on the other hand was slow enough to allow time for the Cessna to leave the runway and ensuring not to clip any masts of the boats of shore, I landed successfully to end my 63rd flight! I passed the Cessna Caravan on my way to my parking spot and made the engines silent at 5:40 am. Just as the sun was coming up further and turning the sky the familiar blue.
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   Chennai Railway Station

Flight Landing to Chennai Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK28psxMN3I

Chennai City in HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUIX-JJVsh4

Driving Around Chennai City, India – 2014 HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0Gb1LmKH1k

On the Ground- Chennai India – Short film – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqUPKtGmPus

Chennai on Being Chennaikaran – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU3zRuKGAQE

World’s Most Crowded Place – Ranganathan Street in Chennai, India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwD1n7N7EAg

TOP TEN PLACES TO VISIT IN CHENNAI – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMw6xRi44-c