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 04) Marseilles – Sion

Definitely a highlight of the trip so far! Leaving the sunny south of France and crossing over the snow capped Alps made for some amazing scenery. Seeing it from the air was very impressive, even on a simulator. Struggling to push my plane above the mountains I chose to hug valleys where I could. Making sure I had all the aircraft’s heating elements turned on, such as pitot heaters, so all my instruments would work correctly, I hooked a 90 degree turn around Mount Blanc. This took me into a tight valley which would eventually lead to Sion. It felt so remote and cut off inside all those high peaked mountains. My small aircraft managed the famously tight approach without a problem. When I was advised by air traffic control to “go around” I had to navigate a rather tight turn with in the valley but at least that meant I got to check out some more scenery.

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Mt Blanc, Switzerland

A Sion Landing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16P8tZX6MPg

A Drive Around Sion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAOLwb8jkws

Day out in Sion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acb48jLwR3Y

Looking around images on Google earth I really liked a couple of old buildings on some of the smaller hills to the North East of the runway.

“The Valère basilica, also called Valère castle, is a fortified church. It is situated on a hill and faces the Château de Tourbillon, located on the opposite hill.

The church (Notre-Dame de Valère) was built during the 12th and 13th centuries and obtained the rank of minor basilica at the time of the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1984.

The organ on the west side of the Valère basilica, believed to have been built in 1435, is one of the oldest in the world. Its pipes are arranged to form a rough outline of a church; the larger pipes form two towers, and the smaller ones create a triangular church roof.”

-Wikipedia

Check out Google Earth for some great 360 degree photos from inside the church.

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The Valère basilica

Before leaving I did get to watch a rather fun air display over the airport. Here’s the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtWRp283yNg