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 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

Flight 45) Masirah – Seeb International, Muscat

Masirah appeared to be a very remote place to visit. I found that there are many trips taken to Masirah Island although I was eager to move on to parts of the world with a little more population as I gear up to my arrival in Dubai!

Whilst I knew I was to be flying over desert and sea, without a lot to see, I wanted to enjoy the challenge of a night time flight so set off rather late. Taking off from the runway at 8:50 pm I looked over my shoulder at the island below and could make out the main road which runs a complete loop around the island. Still, there were not many buildings or lights to see from the air.

I continued to fly north over the Arabian Sea and soon passed over the shore line at 6,000 ft. The brief but heavy turbulence notified me that I was over warm land again and I turned to a heading of 030. It was nice to see the odd cloud speckled through out the dark navy sky. It was equally nice to be flying above them as I climbed to 8,000 ft and continued to 10,000 ft. The dark sky allowed me to enjoy a different kind of view as my eyes were drawn to the brighter parts of the sky and I realized I was looking at Earth’s view of the Milkyway from my left window.

I was tuned to Muscat center and was surprised at how little radio chatter there was as at 9:20 I heard the only other aircraft in the sky, a Bombardier. I decided to gain some speed and requested a decent to 6,000ft. To really enjoy the challenge of night time flying I stuck to flying by instruments only. By the time I looked out of the windows once again I could see the opposite shore line coming into view on the horizon, dark shapes describing mountains to my left with a lot of desert floor below.

By 9:36 I had reached my second way point and received my landing instructions from Seeb International airport for runway 26. It wasn’t for another 15 mins of flight before I saw the lights of Muscat City come in to view and I saw another aircraft in the sky.

My first approach was missed as I failed to hear my landing clearance being given over the radio so I entered a downwind left landing pattern and looped over the city. Even the simulator FSX made Muscat appear to be a substantial location.

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Muscat City FSX

As I lined up for runway 26 I could see the airport was buzzing with aircraft and ground vehicles.  Just whilst taxiing to my parking spot I watched 4 aircraft leave Seeb International Airport and take to the night’s sky.

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Time to see what Muscat City has to offer.

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Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Muscat 02 Muscat 07 Al Jalali Fortroyal-opera-house-muscat19521814_600x400 The front of the Sultan's Palace.

Landing OOMS Muscat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7saH-nDyMc
National Geographic Channel: World Traveller – Muscat & Nizwa – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wFZMcIbg3c
Muscat capital of Oman – Unravel Travel TV – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZZAnxAmg_w
Muscat City Tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op1ZHk_qoG8
Oman Muscat 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp8SCdTBu9w
Amazing Oman Muscat, Nizwa – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ufi-z_fgJ4
Oman Travel Guide and Tourism 2014 ( Full Video HD)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjVD1izlwNQ