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 78) Tokyo – Hiroshima

Tokyo was a fantastic city to learn about and is certainly on my list of destinations to visit first hand. The culture and technology seems so different from ours within the UK that every aspect of Tokyo life fills me with intrigue. I will be looking to travel to Tokyo for a short visit hopefully within the next couple of years but for now it is time to continue with this around the world tour. Having left Edinburgh and the UK 3 years ago on this virtual tour I have been travelling further and further East around the world. Now that I have quite literally reached the “Far East” I shall be back tracking slightly as I work my way South towards Australia and New Zealand before taking on the huge Pacific Ocean on my way to the USA.

This flight would always have been a sombre one as I would be flying over the city of Hiroshima. It would be impossible not to consider the same flight which took place 71 years ago by the Enola Gay air crew which dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. I was keen to approach this destination in a positive light however as I wanted to know more about this city other than its infamous history.

Previously flying over Japan on my way to Tokyo from Seoul, I was very impressed with the level of detail within the simulator depicting the winding roads which snaked their way through mountains and hugged the shorelines around the island. I thought at the time that this would look extremely pretty at night time as the street lights would string across the landscape so I decided to take the flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima at night.

Sitting virtually in my Beechcraft Baron 58 at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport at 22:20 I listened to the light rain landing on the cockpit windows whilst I switched on the various components and set up my navigation for the flight. I actually felt rather cosy with the rain and the dashboard lighting although that may also be due to the fact that I was warm at home in front of my computer. I let the engines warm up for a few minutes before beginning my taxi route at 22:30.

The landing lights of multiple aircraft could be seen in the distance as they made their way ever closer to the runway before eventually landing. I actually had to wait in line for another 3 aircraft to take off infront of me before I took my turn on the runway. When I was given the take off clearence, I had to move pretty sharpish as there was already another plane on its final descent.

Tokyo was VERY bright below me as I flew over the city and I also passed many other planes in the sky. These were easy to spot due to the night time sky and lighting on the aircraft. There was a scattering of clouds sitting at roughly 7,000 feet which allowed me to see the snow covered peak of Mount Fuji in the distance. I took note of this as I did not want to fly too close in the darkness. Even so, I took the opportunity to fly a loop around the huge volcano before leaving this destination behind me.

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Further from Mount Fuji I passed many more smaller mountains with their own snow covered caps before flying over another large city “Nagoya.” This would be the last I got to see of the night lights of Japan for a while as by 00:23 the clouds had formed a thick blanket at 5,000 feet preventing me from seeing much of the ground at all. The darkness and blanket cloud made the next hour pass increadably slowly but I eventually made it to Hiroshima Airport for 01:21.

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I wanted to take a sight seeing flight over the city of Hiroshima during the day so decided to do this a couple of days later. There were several landmarks included in the software although the most recognisible had to be that of the Atomic Dome. One of the very few buildings which remained standing after the bomb had dropped. The reason that this building specifically remained standing was due to the fact that the bomb detonated directly above, marking the epicenter of the explosion.

Whilst it was re-assuring to see that Hiroshima is once again a thriving city it really was impossible to forget the horrific event which made this city so famous. I watched several documentaries about the fateful day and have to admit that my mind boggles as to how the threat of any country ever using a nuclear bomb could even be a possibility in todays society. I’m certainly a supporter of scrapping the UK’s Trident program and strongly believe that stockpiling of such weaponry is not only a waste of money and resources but also an unnecessary danger for future generations. If only mankind would learn from our own history.

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Hiroshima Today

Welcome to Hiroshima – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_1_ZQiGhcA
Hiroshima City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_3awSTnoqs
WELCOME TO HIROSHIMA! Hiroshima Tour Pt. 1  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgpCQQVmbvc
Hiroshima today, Japan tours 2016 (HD 1080p) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsD5IQb_Ruk
Japan Vlog – Hiroshima – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6A2HU-tw9o

Dome & Peace Garden
Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome 4K – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V-tugvjUYQ
Hiroshima Memorial Museum and Peace Park | Virtual Tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx3RdOyRfL0

Atomic Bombing
Hiroshima – 70 Years after the Bomb  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlMh-uMf3go#t=294.372
The Day They Dropped The Bomb | War Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp9cgm4Dkzg
1946 film shows how the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2rEhYS46EA
Hiroshima: Why the Bomb was Dropped (1995) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-WnLNLe3sk

Flight 51) Konarak – Karachi

This flight to Karachi, Pakistan, would finally take me back on to the official route which Amelia Earhart attempted back in 1937 and I wanted to enjoy a sunrise on this lengthy trip. I took off from Runway 9R after taxing down the runway itself. It must be a quiet airport in order to get away with using the runways as taxiways so often. This was highlighted by the fact that I did not see any other planes land or take off in the time I spent within the simulator.

My wheels raised at 05:35 whilst the sky was only just beginning to lighten. The stars of the Milky Way galaxy were very clear and there was only the slightest hint of darker blue rising from the black on the horizon. Flying east I knew I would be pointing my little plane at this patch of sky for much of the route. Once in the air I decided to stay low and fast and enjoy the sunlight creeping its way over the various dunes and hills across the landscape. These hills were soon becoming larger and forced me to climb a little to ensure I didn’t fly straight into one.

At 2,000 ft there was not a cloud in sight and the sky was turning an amazing colours through pink and orange. The interior of my Beech Baron 58 was decidedly pink from the sun’s soft glow.

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I passed over what I thought was going to be a small settlement which turned out to be a small forest. In the desert sands I am sure this was a life source to many creatures. A large bank of cloud appeared on the horizon and for the whole time I approached, I could see brief flashes of lightening. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride.

The closer I got to the storm front I struggled to decide if I should fly under or over the clouds. I thought it best to stay above the bad weather so climbed as much as I could. Pushing 14,000 ft I knew I wasn’t going to be able to clear the clouds completely and had to take them on directly.

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Engulfed by cloud I couldn’t see a thing. Many flashes of lightning with increasingly loud thunder was rather disorientating. Although I am relieved to only be flying in a simulator, I must admit that this weather was pretty exciting. At times the lightning was very close to my aircraft although I believe that was never actually struck.

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The increasingly heavy turbulence forced me to decrease my altitude until I realized that I could not see the ground for rain and fog. The rain pattering off of the windscreen felt almost cosy in between bursts of thunder which was by now beginning to easy a little. I reached my way point and banked towards my destination of Karachi and watched a rain soaked runway pass by beneath. This was also my cue to attempt to reach some better weather, so I pushed the engine a little to climb out of the rain. Even at 12,000 ft I had not cleared the cloud although I could see the odd patch of blue sky above me.

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The rest of the way was quieter. There were no other aircraft on the radio and the sounds of thunder softened with the distance although I was still aware the storms were raging somewhere behind. By the time I reached Karachi the weather was a lot clearer and I even got to watch a Boeing 747 take off whilst I completed my circuit of the airport. At 08:00 I was close for touch down and the sun was already evaporating the rain water left on the runway. The size of this airport was a welcome sight as I watched an Airbus taxi past me and was greeted by many cargo vehicles busying themselves.

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Another exciting flight down but I am glad to be back on the ground with some nicer weather above. Time to see what Karachi is all about.

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Karachi

Whilst looking for images for Karachi I found many images of the Airport in flames and learnt of a large attack of the airport on 8th June 2014 which left up to 24 dead. I was shocked to discover this and also at how little coverage this would have received in the UK. I also read that there are many other attacks and riots within the city of Karachi making it one of the top 10 most violent cities in the world.

53953be3e55d1 karachi-airport-attack2Attack on Karachi Airport 8 June 2014

Karachi Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN3IXln8PSY

Karachi Airport 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GvJk27qpvM

 Ross Kemp Extreme World (Karachi) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXhdChkzYeE

Karachi, Pakistan, The Other Side Of Town – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvfdsXGVLEg

Vice Guide to Karachi. Pakistan’s Most Violent City (Part 1) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgIl1vmIchA

Reality of Karachi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ckkAKDS2fA

Karachi, City of Joy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfHAu2xLHYs