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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Mount Everest

The challange of landing my small Beech Baron at the world’s most dangerous runway certainly filled me with excitment but I must admit that the relief felt upon landing safely was holding me at this location for much longer than it should have. I suppose I was reluctant to send my plane rattling downhill towards a 2000 ft drop into a valley. I chose to spend a fair amount of time exploring the extremely well trodden pathways from Lukla to Everest base camps.
Using Google Earth I was very pleased to see that someone with stronger legs than mine has taken 360 degree photos all the way along these paths incorporating “street view” features, all whilst above 9,000 ft. The paths were small and damp with a handful of man-made bridges crossing icy river waters. The shacks and lodges along the route seemed to be the true definition of cosy. I could very easily imagine numbers of people making new friends and sharing many a warming drink before taking on the massive adventure of climbing Mount Everest.
Earlier into my around the world tour, I flew to Mt. Kilimanjaro and after watching several videos from those who have scaled this peak, I would very much love to complete this challenge first hand. For some reason I do not share the same passion or desire to climb Everest. It may be due to my stronge dislike for the cold. I was much happier to be able to fly around this iconic mountain virtually and appreciate its massive size from the warmth and comfort of my leather chair.
Working up the courage to leave theI took a long flight North from Lukla and found my way to the tallest peak I could find. It was safe to say that Everest was rather easy to find although it was as slow struggle to gain the altitude needed to clear some of the ridges as I flew around.
2015-11-14_15-10-8-33 copy.jpg
2015-11-14_14-39-25-669 copy.jpg
2015-11-14_14-59-17-849 copy
When considering the next leg of my tour, I knew that I would need to start with a lot more fuel on board. I was less than confident taking off from Lukla with full tanks of fuel. This would only make my plane heavier and more likely to dive off of the end of the runway. I figured it would be much safer to return to Kathmandu and complete the full journey to Dhaka from Kathmandu. With the little fuel I had left after navigating my way around Mount Everest itself I took a final low flight through the valleys eventually reaching the basin surrounding Kathmandu.
Another spectacular part of this around the world tour was over but I was eager to move on to see what else the world has to offer. Next stop, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
mikko_01662015-11-15_12-45-36-552 copyMount-Everest-free-wallpapersMount-Everest-in-Everest-Movie-2015Mount_Everest_Summit_11
Mount Everest and its geological story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KRTfKZfIp0
Climbing MT Everest with a Mountain on My Back The Sherpa’s Story BBC full documentary 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlAiU5fIaKY
National Geographic Live! – The Call of Everest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=megSEXmV0nQ
Everest – Getting to the Top – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFkC7Cd9-IE

Flight 22) Entebbe – Kilimanjaro

Taking off from Entebbe and heading out over Lake Victoria, the thunder storms were in the distance to the north still raging. The lake looked beautiful as I flew east towards Kilimanjaro. I have heard of many people trekking up Kilimanjaro and thought this would be a fantastic thing to do myself. So much so that I would easy add this to my personal bucket list.

As I travelled over the planes of Africa I tried to keep an eye peeled for any animal life roaming below. Although the simulator does allow for wild animals, unfortunately I didn’t see a thing. The majority of the terrain during the flight was pretty flat, all except for 2 large peaks rising from the African floor. One being mounts Kilimanjaro and the other, Mount Meru. I took my plane up to Kilimanjaro and spent an extra hour circling the summit in an attempt to gain altitude. My Beech Baron 58 simply wasn’t up to the task and although getting pretty close and doing 3 complete laps, I never managed to get the summit below my wings. In honesty this just added to the impressive nature of such a large mountain of 19,341 ft above sea level.

Simply to get my own view from the top of a “mountain” I climbed the Pentland Hills in Edinburgh as way to bring a little bit more reality to the trip. At 1900 ft, this excursion cannot even be compared to Kilimanjaro 5 day trek.

After watching videos online of other people who have reached the summit, I have only increased my desire to climb Kilimanjaro myself. If anybody wishes to sponsor me, I jump at the chance to arrange this and make sure the any funds go to an extremely worthy cause.

 Image

Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro, to the roof of Africa Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqIimgMK8Wc

Kilimanjaro, to the roof of Africa Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuzyTBfr5bw

Kilimanjaro, to the roof of Africa Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JtEXpXIyhg

Highly recommended – Jessica Smith’s Video diary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpgmK4KWgpY

Student Adventures, Kilimanjaro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRCLAI6xSK8