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 44) Salalah – Masirah

Salalah has been a refreshing change from the remote locations I have been growing accustomed to. I was surprised to see that Salalah is a larger city which includes the Hilton hotel and resorts which only wealth can generate. I didn’t get the impression there was a huge amount of wealth available in Salalah but of course it is all comparable to my previous destinations.

I started FSX and created my flight plan in the game software provided. I made sure that I would fly over the few interesting bits of terrain whilst not over the ocean. Gaining IFR clearance, I taxied towards the runway. I enjoyed holding at the entrance to runway 25 whilst a MD-80 with call-sign SOAR61 landed and cleared the runway. By 11:50 I was rolling down the tarmac and about to leave Salalah behind me.

There had been many beautiful locations around Salalah which I hadn’t ever heard about before. I was surprised to hear what a large destination it was. Coincidentally I watched the movie “Captain Philips” during my stop in Salalah and noticed that this was the port in which his ship sailed from. Its funny how it is possible to spend a life not being aware of something, and then upon discovering something it is noticed in a variety of places.

Taking a final look at Salalah over my left shoulder I climbed slowly at 300 feet per minute and trimmed the aircraft for speed rather than rate of climb. Just before leaving land I got to fly over a small canyon directly beneath my first way point. I had done well at planning my course.The next part of the journey was over sea once again and I could see smaller islands just off of the coast.

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It was just past 12:17 when I reached my next way point with another 1 hour 22 minutes to go. I really am enjoying the way most islands seem to be bordered by a small band of turquoise sea. I climbed higher and pushed though some turbulence as I crossed the opposite shore line. Over the radio I heard that SOAR 61 had left Salalah and was back in the air. I did’t get to hear where it was heading to this time.

Requesting 4,000 ft from 8,000 ft I was able to descend and increase my speed. I soon received ILS instructions at 76 miles out from my destination. I chose instead to fly over the island of Masirah to see what it had to offer. I was very surprised at how deserted the majority of the island was. I saw only a handful of buildings closer to the north end of the island close to the airfield. When I landed on runway 25 and taxied to my parking spot, there was a distinct lack of movement. No other aircraft or airfield traffic made this place feel exceedingly lonely.

 

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BAE Hawk Mk103 Mk203 over Masirah Oman – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV9TSoe1lqc 

Trip To Oman masirah Island – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azqZ6toiUp0

2nd time on Masirah Island, Oman – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8Hn1jQMCwI

Oman / Masirah Island – a filmed Kiteboarding documentation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DpzeGABFhc

Flight 43) Moori – Salalah

After such a long time on the ground due to non-working PC I was itching to get at the controls and take to the skies once again. The island of Socotra held many strange and wonderful things but I knew there were more things to discover throughout the rest of my journey.

As it has been so long since I flew, as mentioned in my previous post, I thought it a good idea to take a small flight around the island to familiarize myself with the controls, handling and also to get an idea of scale of the island I had been stranded on for the past 9 months.

I set up the Beech Baron with my EZDock Camera configuration before adjusting the weight and fuel settings. Once I was happy the simulator had loaded the correct weather and I had finely tuned the graphical settings to get the very best from both REX and my machine, I requested taxi and take off clearance and soon took to the sky.

Taking off to the North meant that I was quickly met with bright shades of blue and turquoise as the shore line passed below. Turning a full 270 degrees to my left I circled the airport and headed for the hills on the Eastern half of the island. From my parking spot at the airport I could see the mountains in the distance and this was my first time seeing them from the air. I continued to head east until I reached the furthest shore finished with a small pointed hill. I turned back and following the South coast I was soon close to the airport again. Having already taken a very close look at the Western side of the island when I had to make my emergency landing, I decided I would rather land back at the airport.

There are not many airports that I will land at twice on this tour so Moori could be classed as a special point in this adventure.

A couple of days later and I was eager to move on from Socotra and continue to my next stop of Salalah, Oman. There was not going to be a lot to look at on this flight as it was almost entirely over water. Even so, I wanted to enjoy the view so made sure I flew during daylight hours.

I took off from Moori Airport at 10:25 and simply flew north over the water for just over an hour. At 11:35 I caught my first sight of new land. At 50 miles out I heard my call sign “Pacifica 112” over the radio advising of my ILS instructions for landing. As I drew ever nearer to land I could see large cliffs and sand dunes in the right side of my windscreen. I dropped altitude from 10,000ft to 6,000ft and hit some rather heavy turbulence coming off the shore line. As I banked left more turquoise water passed below and as I leveled out again I was following a range of hills towards the airport.

I was soon back on firm ground and taxiing to my new parking spot. I hoped that I would not be spending such a long time between flights this time.

Whilst turning off my engines and instruments a rather large passenger jet started its own engines and taxied towards the runway. It was nice to be among real civilization again.

 

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Salalah Highlights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xibjy_3y0M
National Geographic Channel: World Traveller, Salalah & Musandam – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTIO85lDjAY
Salalah 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_qwnlN8X9M
Photography from Salalah – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1mJe_uT4qE