Flight 81) Taipei – Macau

Kicking off 2017 with the 81st flight of the World Tour I was travelling from the Taiwan capital Taipei to the Vegas of the East, Macau! This would allow for some mild gambling and views of spectacular buildings. I was quite looking forward to this destination as I would also get to fly through the FlyTampa Hong Kong scenery once again.

I looked at the flight route using Google Maps and saw that the Macau Runway was actually surrounded by water which always makes it easier for me to spot from the air although I was unsure as to how many of the iconic buildings would be modelled within the FSX software. I plotted a route that took me South along the main length of Taiwan before turning West towards Hong Kong and Macau.

Upon opening FSX itself and loading my aircraft I instantly saw the improvement to the ground buildings and vehicals all around me. Already I felt like the purchase of Orbx Airports HD was a good investment. The weather was pretty grey and over cast and I wondered if the low cloud would spoil any views I would get along the way, as I was keen to see Taipei 101 tower from the sky. By 10:32 I had already started the engines and allowed them to warm up breifly although I was not receiving any radio messages so I had to watch for landing and departing aircraft to determine the active runway. This issue was strange but short lived. Once my radio seemed to be working correctly once again I confirmed my taxi clearence and made my way to Runway 10 with another Beechcraft Baron following behind me.

Once my wheels had left the runway I circled the city trying to spot the buildings I had become familiar with. Of course the iconic Taipei 101 tower stood out, rising above any other buildings in the city although I was also able to see the Royal  Hotel and the Shek Memorial.

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With the sun trying its best to break through the clouds I headed South towards the mountains and climbed so that they would not be of any danger. This forced me into dense cloud however and I did not feel safe with minimal visibility, knowing that the hills below were getting progressively higher. I thought that maybe staying lower and sticking to the valleys would be safer in this situation so I decended enough to maintain a clear view.

After an hour in the air, with the thick cloud finally behind me the scenery was rather spectacular with a lovely clear blue sky above me and pockets of smaller clouds trapped in the valleys below. At 11:36 my only concern became a reality when I reached the end of a valley and had to climb quickly to hop over a rather tall peak. This would have put the heart into the mouth of any pilot doing this flight for real and it was a close enough call even in a simulator. On the other side though was a magnificent drop to an amazing view where I couldn’t resist taking a handful of photos. Once I had all the images I wanted to get, I glanced at the fuel gauge and realised that I did not refuel at Taipei airport. I would need to land again in order to refuel before crossing the stretch of sea back to China. Luckily it was only 5 minutes until I caught the first sight of the sea and was able to request a landing at Makung Airport situated on a small island not far from the mainland. Initally I saw some cloud gathered over the island although this cleared nicely in time for my landing as if to welcome me to this very short stop off.

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30 minutes later and I was full of fuel and back in the open air without cloud to spoil the view.I climbed slowly to a suitable crusing altitude which I was to maintain for the next hour and a half until I reached my next waypoint close to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong seemed misty once more as I also got buffetted around by some turbulence although it was great to see the familiar buildings and detail of this wonderful city once again. I flew straight past the old Kai Tak airport and continued past HK international. Whilst flying over HK International I was surprised by a very large jet on its final approach which over took my much slower Baron. I was even able to watch it land below me.

The weather seemed a lot brighter over Macau as I lined up for Runway 16. I touched down without a bump and was happy to park up next to a cessna 172 where my plane would stay until the next leg of the tour.

Whilst checking out Macua I was surprised to see how the city felt like Lisbon due to the architecture and styling. Of course this was due to the Portuguese colonies which helped establish Macau as a large city. The distinctive tiled flooring was the most noticable aspect for me although even the name of the largest casino hotel is called “The Grand Lisboa Hotel.” Strange how you can travel half way around the world and see the same design features repeated.

 

A319 landing at Macau airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e4LQ2ulXwE
Macau Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbWesmtAIhg

Unique Macau – travelguru.tv – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gq_YAd3HpQ
Macau Travel Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcHpih87Aec
Macau One Day Trip 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAKozVKA9bw
Things to do in Macau Travel Guide & Macanese Street Food – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad5-enfZqcs
Beautiful places in MACAU china -2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxgEa8DZo7g&t=337s
Night of the City – Macau – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAFWci1Cvi8
A Night In Macau  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI2kO4qTi80#t=208.329242
The Grand Lisboa Casino In Macau China 2016 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCsnKT8wXEw

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 51) Konarak – Karachi

This flight to Karachi, Pakistan, would finally take me back on to the official route which Amelia Earhart attempted back in 1937 and I wanted to enjoy a sunrise on this lengthy trip. I took off from Runway 9R after taxing down the runway itself. It must be a quiet airport in order to get away with using the runways as taxiways so often. This was highlighted by the fact that I did not see any other planes land or take off in the time I spent within the simulator.

My wheels raised at 05:35 whilst the sky was only just beginning to lighten. The stars of the Milky Way galaxy were very clear and there was only the slightest hint of darker blue rising from the black on the horizon. Flying east I knew I would be pointing my little plane at this patch of sky for much of the route. Once in the air I decided to stay low and fast and enjoy the sunlight creeping its way over the various dunes and hills across the landscape. These hills were soon becoming larger and forced me to climb a little to ensure I didn’t fly straight into one.

At 2,000 ft there was not a cloud in sight and the sky was turning an amazing colours through pink and orange. The interior of my Beech Baron 58 was decidedly pink from the sun’s soft glow.

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I passed over what I thought was going to be a small settlement which turned out to be a small forest. In the desert sands I am sure this was a life source to many creatures. A large bank of cloud appeared on the horizon and for the whole time I approached, I could see brief flashes of lightening. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride.

The closer I got to the storm front I struggled to decide if I should fly under or over the clouds. I thought it best to stay above the bad weather so climbed as much as I could. Pushing 14,000 ft I knew I wasn’t going to be able to clear the clouds completely and had to take them on directly.

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Engulfed by cloud I couldn’t see a thing. Many flashes of lightning with increasingly loud thunder was rather disorientating. Although I am relieved to only be flying in a simulator, I must admit that this weather was pretty exciting. At times the lightning was very close to my aircraft although I believe that was never actually struck.

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The increasingly heavy turbulence forced me to decrease my altitude until I realized that I could not see the ground for rain and fog. The rain pattering off of the windscreen felt almost cosy in between bursts of thunder which was by now beginning to easy a little. I reached my way point and banked towards my destination of Karachi and watched a rain soaked runway pass by beneath. This was also my cue to attempt to reach some better weather, so I pushed the engine a little to climb out of the rain. Even at 12,000 ft I had not cleared the cloud although I could see the odd patch of blue sky above me.

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The rest of the way was quieter. There were no other aircraft on the radio and the sounds of thunder softened with the distance although I was still aware the storms were raging somewhere behind. By the time I reached Karachi the weather was a lot clearer and I even got to watch a Boeing 747 take off whilst I completed my circuit of the airport. At 08:00 I was close for touch down and the sun was already evaporating the rain water left on the runway. The size of this airport was a welcome sight as I watched an Airbus taxi past me and was greeted by many cargo vehicles busying themselves.

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Another exciting flight down but I am glad to be back on the ground with some nicer weather above. Time to see what Karachi is all about.

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Karachi

Whilst looking for images for Karachi I found many images of the Airport in flames and learnt of a large attack of the airport on 8th June 2014 which left up to 24 dead. I was shocked to discover this and also at how little coverage this would have received in the UK. I also read that there are many other attacks and riots within the city of Karachi making it one of the top 10 most violent cities in the world.

53953be3e55d1 karachi-airport-attack2Attack on Karachi Airport 8 June 2014

Karachi Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN3IXln8PSY

Karachi Airport 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GvJk27qpvM

 Ross Kemp Extreme World (Karachi) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXhdChkzYeE

Karachi, Pakistan, The Other Side Of Town – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvfdsXGVLEg

Vice Guide to Karachi. Pakistan’s Most Violent City (Part 1) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgIl1vmIchA

Reality of Karachi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ckkAKDS2fA

Karachi, City of Joy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfHAu2xLHYs