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 61) Kadhdhoo, South Maldives – Ratmalana, Sri Lanka

I had enjoyed surrounding myself with images from the beautiful Maldive Islands and have spent a lot of time looking into holiday packages which I would love to book myself on. The time had come for me to stop wishing I was there and move on wards with my around the world tour and put the tranquil shores and white beaches behind. The next stage of my journey would take me to Sri Lanka. I have to admit that I didn’t really have much of a mental picture of what I expected Sri Lanka to be like so I was looking forward to seeing this larger island on the southern tip of India.

Kadhdhoo airfield was very quiet and I had seemed to have gotten lucky with the weather whilst I saw the strong sun shining down on the runway. After checking the fuel levels and setting the weight to allow for a few “souvenirs” on board, I fired up both engines, taxied the very short distance to the runway before taking off a little after 10:15 am.

The flight would be over the large expanse of sea and would provide little in the way of scenery so I set the plane into a gradual climb eventually reaching 10,000 ft and headed north to return to Malé. The sky was wonderfully clear and this was the best weather I had experienced in all my time flying around the Maldives. The smaller islands dotted the ocean below me and I could easily recognize the city of Malé and the international airport. The many sea planes and small boats were the give away. Changing direction I flew North East towards Sri Lanka for what seemed like a very long time. The colour of the sea had turned into a much darker blue and I knew the waters would be much deeper out here.

One of two clouds began to form on the horizon marking the signs of land ahead. Closer still and I began to make out smaller mountains though a haze of mist. Was I to have to contend with more fog? It was a relief to be back over land once again and wasn’t long before I found my destination airport “Ratmalana.”

It looked as though Ramalana was just as warm as the Maldives and possibly had even more to offer. Time to take a tour of Sri Lanka!

22_boeing_772_app_cmb 64341677_touristselephantasigiriya021211_afp Anuradhapura3 SL_0282_IT1 Sri Lanka Gentemple16 Dec 2010 - photo P

Weligama, South coast, Sri Lanka, 1995."Fishermen along the southern coast of Sri Lanka cast their lines in the traditional way atop poles so they can work in shallow water without disturbing the fish." - George Eastman HouseThe theatrical stage would not offer a finer gesture, nor a more equisite doubling between the near and the far, than does this picture. McCurry captures the beauty of a cultural tradition and with it a natural choreography. This image also preserves a practice now essentially lost to technology, having all but disappeared in the intervening years since the photograph was made. -Anthony Bannon Magnum Photos, NYC5948; MCS1995006K200, Phaidon, 55, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic
Weligama, South coast, Sri Lanka, 1995.”Fishermen along the southern coast of Sri Lanka cast their lines in the traditional way atop poles so they can work in shallow water without disturbing the fish.” – George Eastman HouseThe theatrical stage would not offer a finer gesture, nor a more equisite doubling between the near and the far, than does this picture. McCurry captures the beauty of a cultural tradition and with it a natural choreography. This image also preserves a practice now essentially lost to technology, having all but disappeared in the intervening years since the photograph was made. -Anthony Bannon
Magnum Photos, NYC5948; MCS1995006K200, Phaidon, 55, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic

An Island Paradise | Sri Lanka – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpZI2oGPsio

SRI LANKA 2015 – 16 Days of Paradise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUJQpdQ45HI

Exploring Sri Lanka – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ4oB9n5RGc

Sri Lanka World’s Most Beautiful Island – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTaWFOhOuBI

Kamila & Adrian, Mr. Drone 2015 | Sri Lanka HONEYMOON – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28WXY1CsEVI

Sri Lankan Traditional Music – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGbmb9Dg9g0

The Beautiful Maldives

I have enjoyed covering many miles since my departure from Dubai. The route has taken me further around the United Arab Emirates before flying South down the Western Coast of India although I have enjoyed the past week immersing myself in videos and photos of the beautiful islands of the Maldives. I just wish I could immerse myself in the blazing sun, white sands and crystal clear waters first hand. It has most definitely become one of my must see destinations within my lifetime.

With out leaving the Maldives for the past couple of weeks, I have not yet written my next flight blog entry. Instead I have decided to include some videos and photos I have collected before I leave the islands for the final time. Enjoy.

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Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

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Paradise Island Resort Maldives – Villa Hotels – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JyEhQSue44

Welcome to Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-toQZUBdrEs

Mr & Mrs Sinclair Honeymoon – Lily Beach, Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8uWqrE-rCI

Maldives 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo-_rXGDHDc

Kuredu Island Resort @ Maldives (January 2014) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGe99cCS9lw

Kuredu, Maldives 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0FNpUGGMfI

Malediven 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0V-UCp04EA

Maldives Sun Island 2011 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk1RUZDn-DA

?onrad maldives rangali island 2009 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0guryDATgro

Maldives – A trip to Paradise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-j6hGSaqb0

Maldives 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRzR_gi0Kq0

Maldives – A Video Diary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0G_2tiivxE

Billabong surf trip: Maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhNfV4JLmhI

MALDIVES Chillout – 2 Weeks in Paradise [1080p HD] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tWUr2ccUA

MALDIVES RELAX VIDEO. NATURE & HOTELS [HD] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed3Zbh60h8s

Maldives November 2013: snorkeling, sunset in maldives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB3_dsVYrdw
Maldives 2013: Sunset in Maldives, Gangehi Island Resort – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5g7SJ4EjmY

Kuredu 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XcqVm2uuFo

Welcome To The Maldives (Vlog #129) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZSeo4p46hY

Maldives Holidays 2013 June Malediven Kuramathi Resort HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRhp7dGfMjk

10 days in the Maldives, 2013. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-YUfLyYLOY

During my stay in the Maldives I was interested in checking out a few of the islands seeing as there were so many to explore. I was shocked to discover that one of the islands is commonly known as “Trash Island” due to the fact that all of the waste from the holiday resorts is shipped to this single island where the large majority of which is burnt. The single occupant of the island is responsible for the burning and management of all of the rubbish. What a life to live whilst surround by such beauty. See the video below:

Alison’s Adventures Maldives “One Person’s Trash Is Another Woman’s Bikini” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62q9GE-_8oM

 

FLIGHT 60 AND A HALF) Hop to Kadhdhoo – South Maldives

Keen to head to the southern islands I took my small plane back up in to the skies for an short 35-40 minute flight to the island of Kadhdhoo which was one of the few which featured a dry land runway. The speckled clouds  gave a small amount of interest to the skies whilst it was difficult to spot many islands below. Knowing that there are hundreds of islands in real life, I was exceedingly disappointed by the standard FSX scenery.

The weather had calmed down since my arrival and this was the first time I was flying over the Maldives without the sound of thunder rattling my small plane. Once landed I parked next to a smaller Moony Bravo which then decided to taxi and take off. Maybe it was something I said? I looked on the map and read a little more about this airfield and learnt that it was actually home of the Maldives Airforce. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of a military strength on what appears to be such a calm and relaxing corner of the world.

Flight 46) Seeb International, Muscat – Dubai

The city of Muscat has been full of amazing places which I would very much like to visit first hand. I used Google Earth to travel from Seeb International Airport to the city of Muscat itself and was overwhelmed by the grandeur of many of the buildings. See my previous post for images of some of the architecture and the very impressive Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

As wonderful as the capital of Oman was, I have been looking forward to my next destination of Dubai since leaving the virtual tarmac of my home city of Edinburgh, UK.

Being so keen to reach Dubai I fired up my computer and loaded FSX first thing on the weekend morning. By 9:00 am I was looking out of the windows of my Beech Baron and watching the organised mayhem of aircraft much larger than mine negotiate the taxiways of Seeb International.

I rather enjoyed the bustle of the airport around me as I powered up my Beech Baron 58, started both engines and began my taxi route to runway 26 behind a Beech King Air. After watching the King Air take off I received my own take off clearance and had raised the wheels by 09:19.

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Looking Back at Seeb International

It didn’t take long to reach my 6,000 ft flight level and could see over the sand dunes and rocky hills as they passed below. Only three or four clouds marked the horizon line in front of me and I was surprised to see a single patch of greenery in the expanse of desert. I wasn’t sure if this was accurate or simple a bug in the FSX Software. As the hills continued below me, they grew progressively taller until I was climbing further to clear them at 11,000 ft. The Hajjar mountains broke up the rolling sand deserts and made for a little more interest in the landscape.

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Flying above the Hajjar Mountains

Heading a bearing of 335 degrees, I slowly descended back down to 10,000 ft and the resulting speed gain cut my ETA to 24 minutes to the next way point. With mountains on my left and sea to my right I clipped a single cloud and realized that while Seeb International Airport was incredibly busy, the skies here were rather quiet.

I was keen to see Dubai coming in to view over the horizon as I had treated myself to the fantastic “FlyTampa Dubai” Scenery Add-on Pack which contains a huge area of detailed landmarks including the worlds tallest building, although I was still 109 miles out when I received my ILS landing instructions to follow a bearing of 345 and then 315 and back again. This repetition quickly became irritating and I knew this had to be a glitch with FSX radio communications. All the while I still had not seen Dubai come in to view.

At 10:35 I could make out on the horizon, the giant rising tower that is the Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world! The building was impressive even from a long distance away.

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Dubai comes in to view.

Dubai International Airport appeared very quickly afterwards and I was soon on final to land on runway 30L, the larger of Dubai’s runways.

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Trying not to get distracted by the size and detail of the area I landed smoothly at 10:45 and immediately taxied for a very long way until I reached my parking bay just in front of the Dnata Freight Gate.
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Whilst taxiing I could see so many features in the horizon that I knew I would have to explore again in another short flight and was already looking forward to spending a longer time here than in most of my destinations. As I set my parking break and turned off the engines and avionics I thought to myself that this might be the final time I do this. Not because I want to end my journey, but because in a city as amazing and luxurious as Dubai, it would make sense that if I was to upgrade my aircraft, I should do so in Dubai!

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Fly Tampa Dubai Rebooted

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Dubai Travel Video Guide (25 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlR0Y1dGecE

DUBAI: The Greatest City On Earth (43 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOSci-rWf2Q

Dubai Holidays Destination Guide from Virgin Holidays (7 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkrh3po0KBA

Travel Dubai – The Tourist Attraction (8 Mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9TtbrRBwEc

 The Luxury Life Of Dubai By Piers Morgan – full documentary (58 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbUOaVqBFJQ

Dubai – the rules (3 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spgEppa1BgY