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 14) Palermo – Athens

I have been looking forward to this flight for a while. Athens is a place that I would love to visit myself as the amount of history and influence that this city has had on the world is legendary. I was especially excited about seeing the Parthenon.

The long flight allowed me to check out the islands north of Sicily, take a jump over Italy again and over the sea towards Greece. Without knowing the layout of Athens at all I took a couple of circuits over the city to get some familiarity before landing. I flew anti clockwise around the city, skirting the mountains to the east and flying low over the city to spot Acropolis Hill. I found it pretty tricky to spot as the city is so large but caught eye of it and took an extra lap to view it before heading for the airport.

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Parthenon

Great 3D Tour of The Parthenon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQPbGYR1jgs

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Acropolis Hill, Athens

Get your Parthen On!!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFz7rky_APc

Love & Hate Athens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHBZiCWr7w4

Tour of Athens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqpYKTDrFw0

Athens Flea Market: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIhyhUKhqMw

Flying over Greece. Athens @ 50:00: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhVMd8iXHMo

Flight 13) Naples – Palermo

After taking off from Naples airport I was soon climbing high to match the 4202 ft Mount Vesuvius volcano best known for its massive eruption in 79AD and destroying Pompeii. As I flew over, I wondered how mighty the eruption must have been to throw up such a large amount of rock and ash to cover multiple cities almost instantly. There are molds taken from the ash which clearly show people as they hide and died. Scary stuff.

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Mount Vesuvius

Using my IPhone and its maps I tracked my route south east along the length of Italy counting the cities and rivers below. Reaching Scalea I could see across to the opposite shore of Italy. I hadn’t been aware that Italy got that narrow in parts.

Continuing my flight to the “toes” of Italy I was interested in the many islands which dotted the ocean ahead of me. I knew that I would be flying over these islands on my next flight so went to explore some more of Sicily instead. Whilst crossing the short stretch of water between Italy and Sicily I noticed another huge mountain rising above the horizon much further to the south. The weather was still as good as it had been so I took a rather lengthy detour to take a look. I climbed in my small Beech Baron to match the 3329 ft summit of this mountain before seeing on the map that it was actually Mount Etna. Once again I learnt some more geography. This flight has been rather volcanic.

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Mount Etna

ITN news on Mount Etna: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrVthtLdfxM

I ended my flight by landing at Punta Raisi airport on the north coast of Sicily just west of Palermo. The runway nestled into a small corner of land made for a cosy stopping point after the strong side winds coming in from the sea making the landing rather tricky.

Landing at Punta Raisi Airport: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdVNvqd5Ovg

Palermo. City of contrasts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=outF3RJuJS0

Sicily HD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGg5V4Zk4fg