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 79) Hiroshima – Nagasaki

Hiroshima was a rather harrowing place to visit. The city itself had developed in to a lively urban center although any information regarding this city would include reference to the atomic bomb dropped here in 6th August 1945. This fact was unfortunately unavoidable.

I wanted to see more of Japan from the air in daylight as my previous flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima was taken at night. The 1 hour flight time meant that I would not need to refuel for this relatively short flight. After fighting some very strong cross winds I knew that the take off would be a little challenging although the Boeing 737 ahead of me on it’s way to Naha Air Force Base did not have any difficulties.

I took off at 13:55 into a sky dusted with a handful of clouds. Just enough clouds to keep the sky interesting without making it difficult to fly. At 180 knots I was flying pretty fast in my small twin propellor plane. The rivers of Hiroshima were very clear below and I could easily get my bearings from above. I could even spot the infamous “Atomic Dome” building still standing from the nuclear bomb which detonated 600 meters above. 2016-8-10_14-8-6-552.jpg

The surrounding islands scattered through the bay looked very pretty indeed and it felt a great shame that this area would only be known for the atom bomb as this beauty would easily be overlooked. There were no clouds further out over the water and it felt good to get the miles passing by quickly below. The only other visible weather seemed to collect over the mountains ahead.

2016-8-10_14-14-16-242.jpg

I saw a strange building as I passed over Oita city and upon referring to Google Maps, I discovered this was the ‘Kyushu Oil Dome’ – a football (Soccer) stadium. The many roads around the city were very well mapped and it was fun to see the tiny cars below. As i flew past Mount Aso, the scale of the cars on the road was even more dramatic.

I took a low fly-by of Kumamoto Airport and it was not long before Nagasaki came in to view from the West, nestled between two mountains. Mount Tara and Mount Unzen. With the mountains protecting Nagasaki and the turquoise coastline, Nagasaki seemed to be another beautiful city forever destined to be known for tragedy. Runway 14 which I was directed to land at was a single strip surrounded by water. A small bridge connected it to another runway built on the mainland.

I thought that Nagasaki would be much like Hiroshima in the way that all information would include reference to the second atomic bomb attack on Japan. Whilst not as infamous as the Hiroshima bombing it was still evident to see what an effect it also had on the people of Japan.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nagasaki Tourism Promotional Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4dI1PsyTF0
A Day in Nagasaki – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnBOnermVnE
HD – EXPLORE NAGASAKI / JAPAN –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aPt9NQIQAU

Battleship Island in Nagasaki, Japan! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9w8APSmaRg

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki – BBC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncq_Wye43TM

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.

2015-2-27_17-58-16-753 copy

2015-2-27_17-58-6-846 copy

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.

2015-2-27_21-10-25-223 copy

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.

2015-2-27_21-40-37-150 copy

2015-2-27_21-33-13-838 copy

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.

2015-2-27_21-41-11-53 copy

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.

2015-2-27_23-6-29-167 copy

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.

Karachi_port_and_harbour_aerialKarachi-v17Jinnah-International-Airport-Karachi-Birdeye-view1447313532_49c4c2218b_bmartin-roemers-karachi-pakistan

KarachiResidents-of-Karachi-protest-against-long-power-cuts-650x520

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