Flight 56) Mumbai – Karad

I have been completing rather short flights lately which meant that I have not had a need to refuel for quiet a while, although as I fired up my instruments I saw that I was rather low. I requested the fuel truck which eventually came to me 3rd in line and allowed me to fill my tanks again. Whilst waiting I noticed that outside air temperature was up to 25 degrees. At 12:40 I suppose it had reached the warmest part of the day. Once refueled, I taxied to Runway 27 via F1 G B3 and H taxi ways. It could be very easy to get lost in larger airports such as these. I would like to acquire some airport plates which provide directions and instructions for navigating all of these routes however I hear that the official documents cost a lot of money. I waited for the many aircraft ahead of me to reach the runway and leave for their own destinations one by one.

I took off at 13:04, tuned to Mumbai Departure and adopted my squawk code for the flight, 1753. I had to turn back over the city slightly to face the correct heading and once again saw hills ahead of me. It was a relief to be able to see the hills in the distance as most of my flights lately have been shrouded in fog.

The 5,000 ft altimeter mark soon passed by and I was on my way. The air had gotten even warmer as it was now 23 degrees outside. I would like to get used to this weather. Maybe not the fog though. From this height I was able to spot small islands just off the coastline as well as some small mountain peaks behind the hills.

Reaching the first hill that was almost as high as my aircraft, I buzzed 2 small buildings on the very top and found a rather long lake behind. I was about to cut the throttle to take a nice low view of the lake although soon through against that idea as it would have been an even harder climb at the far end of the lake to hop over the opposite mountain. Whilst I was thinking how quiet the radios were I noticed a thin white line as a larger jet liner flew several thousand feet above me.

2015-3-24_9-39-20-1352015-3-24_9-44-16-877Passing over a plateau on the opposite hill I soon dropped slightly to the valley floor and found the river I was to follow. There were many side rivers connecting along the way and had already seen on the map that this would result in a large lake. Spotting many small huts on the edge of the water I enjoyed a slow and low fly by of the lake until I reached the opposite end. I later discovered that this lake was Shivasagar Lake. A man made reservoir as a result of Koyna Dam at the South end of the lake. The Simulator had done a good job on emulating the green vegetation.DSC_3167

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At the end of the lake my flight path meant a 90 degree left turn, which took me down a very open valley with many fields and buildings below. This was also where the main road to Karad lead past the lake. I followed the road to the city and attempted to contact the airport. There was no real conversation to be had with the tower as turned out to be a small air strip with no other taxi ways or aircraft. Declaring my landing intentions was all I could do and made sure to enter a full landing pattern whilst checking wind direction. This was so I could choose the appropriate runway, 10 or 28. After passing over the air field I chose to land on runway 10 and my wheels touched down at 14:08 despite still being close to 2000 ft high.

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Karad Airstrip

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Karad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvxnJL1Evhs

“My Dream City Karad” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG97YBjqJlQ

Photos from Karad City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOQdenvCIVU

Dancing in Karad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC_vI4l3hSQ

India Got Talent – Karad Boys – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Y3An8QUEM

Flight 55) Surat – Mumbai

Once again the think fog I had seen all over India had smothered Surat airport. This time my wheels didn’t even leave the ground. I did my usual start up routine although when contacting Surat tower my take off request was denied due to the weather. I though better of attempting to take off in this weather as well as without permission and I decided to leave it for another day.


At 11:00 the following day I loaded the flight simulator and checked on the weather. Whilst there was a slight haze to the air, the fog was nowhere near as bad as the previous day. I was soon rolling down the  surprisingly short runway 22 and was in the air once again. Immediately flying over the bridge and boats I spotted whilst flying into Surat I completed a full 270 degree turn to loop over the city on my departure. The haze was visible but at least there were no clouds to contend with.

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The landscape stretched out before me and was rather flat with a hint of higher land on the horizon where I was due to be flying to. Whilst approaching the hills a few clouds had formed at 4,000 ft which were easy enough to fly over. At 6 minutes away from the start of the hills I began to descend so that I could enjoy some low flying through the valleys and tree topped hills. Inside the valleys the fog was still lingering and reduced my visibility meaning I couldn’t always see the next hill. I had to stay alert to ensure that I didn’t fly into the side of any hills or clip any trees. I certainly added a sense of excitement to the flight.

By the time I had reached a second ridge line the fog had lifted again to reveal clear blue skies. Once again the birds were enjoying the thermals created by the sunlight now able to heat up the forests below. I noticed the first electricity pylon in a very long time. I can’t say that I had been looking out for them but had only just noticed the lack of them.

The mountains and hills disappeared in the distance and as I reached the last valley and as I hugged the ground as much as I could the ground soon faded away from me and dropped a good couple of thousand feet. The view of the open landscape came as a surprise as I once again found myself flying high without having to climb at all. Now I wasn’t having to navigate my way though the terrain I had time to contact Mumbai Airport and declare my landing intentions. I dropped altitude towards the airport and entered a left turn landing pattern. My small plane flew over the last low hills and rivers before heading out over the sea once again ready to complete my turn on to my final approach.

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There was a lot of radio traffic and I could see that Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was considerably larger than any airport I had visited since Dubai. Once my wheels were on firm ground again I was still ordered to hold my position several times during taxiing to prevent collisions with multiple Boeing 737s, an Airbus A321, and a landing MD-80.

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I enjoy the activity of a busy airport even if it does take 20 minutes to taxi to my parking spot.

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mumbai-population-2013MumbaiMumbai-airport8917613610940977671818702 Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

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The Most Expensive Home In The World

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Mumbai Slums

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Helicopter tour of Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4l1YxoHNos

Mumbai Skyscrapers or Skyline – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9HGEyBh5d0

Mumbai Documentary (the spirited city) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mh_0z4d3yU

The city of dreams – Understand Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghHHlcKOjPs

Mumbai Metro – A Mumbaikar’s Dream Come True! (Full Trip From Andheri To Ghatkopar) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpd3K7Bvspw

Flying to Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H1ix8wdjw4&spfreload=10

Mumbai Street Food – Indian Food Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iumt3LYQJyM

One Day In Mumbai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUUwmYRilVE

Mumbai, India 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxH6qvl47Us

Flight 54) Ahmedabad – Surat

Ahmedabad Airport had livened up since my arrival. Even before I started up own engines I could see and hear many larger jets moving around the taxiways ready to jet off to their far flung destinations. The radio chatter was hard to get a word in although by 12:40 I was receiving my taxi instructions.

I entered the departing queue of aircraft and was soon in the air with wheels up flying over the city making my turn towards my first way point of the flight. This was a rather quiet flight in comparison to the previous recent journeys. Even the soaring birds made this flight feel very relaxing.

As I flew over several larger rivers I was intrigued at the way the muddy river waters changed colour as they met ocean water and how the selection of small boats may not even have noticed being that much closer to the water’s surface.

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The lower I got to the river, the familiar fog thickened and limited my view considerably. I decided to fly a little off route in order to follow the river as I knew that it would eventually lead to Surat anyway. It became a choice between staying low in the fog or flying a little higher and jump from cloud to cloud.

As the river opened out into an estuary I hopped over a couple of smaller islands whilst I contacted Surat Airport. Unfortunately, for the second time I was denied landing clearance due to the low laying fog preventing clear visibility of the runway. This fog really was becoming a hindrance during my time through India.

I quickly set up an IFR route within the simulator and requested an IFR landing which, thankfully I was granted. I dropped to 2,000 ft and the fog engulfed my small plane. Having just about made out the runway with enough time to fight the crosswind and to line up correctly, I soon made a rather rough and bouncy landing. I must admit that this was a long way from being my usual standard of landing.

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Surat Airport0-1403541734  gauravpathsuratvikrambaqg6 surat-by-night Surat City

 

Aerial tour of Surat city – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v96kWOuWack

Surat- The Shining City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gb4BmkP2RY

Surat City Tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTEUGCO5-DQ

41 Things To Do In Surat City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_3bN8W-ZyY

Surat City of Fortune – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJrC3ZmRWXk

Surat City of Pride – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHCCN_XDL6U

Surat Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDPjJO37998

Flight 52) Karachi – Jodhpur

After taking a look at the route on the map to prepare myself for what terrain there may be, I loaded the flight simulator FSX and got myself comfortable for the journey ahead. It doesn’t take me long to turn on the fuel tanks, set the prop and mixture levels before starting the engines. I watched the engine temperature rise and read that the air temperature outside was 15 degrees. Living in Edinburgh UK and having endured the lasting winter, I would certainly welcome a 15 degree warmth first hand.

As I taxied to Runway 25 Left I followed a red and white De Havilland Dash-8 and got a close view of “World Travel 383” – a large Boeing 737, touch down and kick up some tire smoke. Watching the Dash-8 take off I was soon cleared to take off myself and began my flight over the city. There was not much to see as the city was covered in thick fog although this cleared to a clear sky by the time I reached 4,000 ft. From this height I was able to spot the river which I followed upstream towards the mountains and then took a northern detour as I flew low through the valleys.

Reaching my way point, a sharp right hand turn took me east towards Jodhpur as the sun began to set directly behind me. As the sun faded and the horizon took on its familiar purple tones I saw another large river with green fields on either bank. The last of the mountains flattened themselves out and I climbed over a number of lakes before the desert sands returned 15,000 ft below.

Coming in to Jodhpur the sky was now dark and I couldn’t make out many in the way of city lights although I could see a bridge spanning a lake with lights on. I didn’t know if this was accurate to real life Jodhpur. I contacted Jodhpur airport to request landing clearance which was denied. The airport was laying under some more fog which meant that only planes using IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) flight plans were able to land using ILS (Instrument Landing System.)

This complication really had me stumped as I would be unable to land in the foggy conditions. I continued towards the airport by following the lights of a city road until I spotted a light beacon shining through the mist. I took a very slow and very low pass of the airport to attempt to see the wind direction although I was unable to spot a classic orange wind sock at all. I wanted to continue the radio contact to the airport but had no options available. I was on my own. I used the GPS to line up with the runway best I could and successfully made a smooth touch down on Runway 05. It was eerily quiet without any other aircraft or radio contact adding to the grey mists. I parked up and looked forward to the weather clearing.

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Mehrangarh Fort

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Umaid Bhawan Palace

JodhpurIndia

The Blue City

Travelling to India: Jodhpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOsLvkbRFk

Umaid Bhawan Palace & Royal Family Of Jodhpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VPl0Yi4yNU

India Jodhpur – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSqeGaA-wAU

Jodhpur Fort and Thriving Market Place, India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtdB6lHWMBo

Jodhpur , The Blue City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av8oka5p0m0