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

New Aircraft!

I have spent a long time flying around the virtual world whilst undertaking this tour. So far I have logged over 18,000 miles. (That’s over 15,500 nautical miles.)

My small Beech Baron 58 aircraft has been very faithful and of course has required no maintenance. If only I could have said the same thing about my computer.

Now that I have reached one of the major destinations of my journey I have been playing with the idea of upgrading my aircraft to something a little bigger and more powerful. Maybe a small jet powered bird.

Looking online for available add-on aircraft which suited my criteria I was extremely impressed with the Embraer Phenom 100. A small business jet with some very sleek looks.

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I decided to bask in the wealthy atmosphere of Dubai and treat myself to this new aircraft before I had actually landed in Dubai and was looking forward to seeing it sitting on the tarmac at one of the worlds largest and busiest international airports in the world.. Whilst the real life machine would cost a neat sum circa £2.2 Million, my own version from Carenado, was nicely with in my budget.

The Phenom 100 has been recreated with amazing levels of detail and I was especially impressed with the interior lighting. I know that I will enjoy flying this machine at night.

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Further Tech Specs – http://www.embraerexecutivejets.com/en-US/jets/phenom-100E/Pages/technology.aspx  

Whilst taking a look at the Phenom 100 in FSX My machine did take a hit in performance resulting in reduced frame rates. This may be a factor in deciding if I will continue my World Tour using this aircraft. Equally the drop in frame rate performance is no doubt also being affected by the fact that I am currently flying from the FlyTampa Dubai add on software. I am still to decide if I shall remain with the Beech Baron 58 which I have come to know and love or work with the new Phenom 100 until I reach some better frame rates. Of course there is always the option of upgrading my PC to help in this performance drop. I have decided to spend some time in Dubai whilst testing various aircraft and learning much much more about this amazing city.

Jet Aviva Presents Aircraft Review – Phenom 100 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgdd261wZn4

FSX Carenado Embraer Phenom 100 Pt 1 of 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7coNj4lF_to

FSX Carenado Embraer Phenom 100 Pt 2 of 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJWLSaxoBhA

FSX Carenado Embraer Phenom 100 Pt 3 of 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDmdj-Q-Tgo

Carenado Embraer Phenom 100 FSX – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzvKMgSmZEw

Inside the Embraer Phenom 100 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYsh8BfqmM0

JetSuite Phenom 100 Flight from LAX – VNY – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHA7ApDWL6c

$500 Private Jet to Las Vegas – JetSuite Phenom 100 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqYTkv0Qp9g

UK Phenom 100 Review – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nNlM6MOBRY

Flight 46) Seeb International, Muscat – Dubai

The city of Muscat has been full of amazing places which I would very much like to visit first hand. I used Google Earth to travel from Seeb International Airport to the city of Muscat itself and was overwhelmed by the grandeur of many of the buildings. See my previous post for images of some of the architecture and the very impressive Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

As wonderful as the capital of Oman was, I have been looking forward to my next destination of Dubai since leaving the virtual tarmac of my home city of Edinburgh, UK.

Being so keen to reach Dubai I fired up my computer and loaded FSX first thing on the weekend morning. By 9:00 am I was looking out of the windows of my Beech Baron and watching the organised mayhem of aircraft much larger than mine negotiate the taxiways of Seeb International.

I rather enjoyed the bustle of the airport around me as I powered up my Beech Baron 58, started both engines and began my taxi route to runway 26 behind a Beech King Air. After watching the King Air take off I received my own take off clearance and had raised the wheels by 09:19.

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Looking Back at Seeb International

It didn’t take long to reach my 6,000 ft flight level and could see over the sand dunes and rocky hills as they passed below. Only three or four clouds marked the horizon line in front of me and I was surprised to see a single patch of greenery in the expanse of desert. I wasn’t sure if this was accurate or simple a bug in the FSX Software. As the hills continued below me, they grew progressively taller until I was climbing further to clear them at 11,000 ft. The Hajjar mountains broke up the rolling sand deserts and made for a little more interest in the landscape.

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Flying above the Hajjar Mountains

Heading a bearing of 335 degrees, I slowly descended back down to 10,000 ft and the resulting speed gain cut my ETA to 24 minutes to the next way point. With mountains on my left and sea to my right I clipped a single cloud and realized that while Seeb International Airport was incredibly busy, the skies here were rather quiet.

I was keen to see Dubai coming in to view over the horizon as I had treated myself to the fantastic “FlyTampa Dubai” Scenery Add-on Pack which contains a huge area of detailed landmarks including the worlds tallest building, although I was still 109 miles out when I received my ILS landing instructions to follow a bearing of 345 and then 315 and back again. This repetition quickly became irritating and I knew this had to be a glitch with FSX radio communications. All the while I still had not seen Dubai come in to view.

At 10:35 I could make out on the horizon, the giant rising tower that is the Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world! The building was impressive even from a long distance away.

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Dubai comes in to view.

Dubai International Airport appeared very quickly afterwards and I was soon on final to land on runway 30L, the larger of Dubai’s runways.

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Trying not to get distracted by the size and detail of the area I landed smoothly at 10:45 and immediately taxied for a very long way until I reached my parking bay just in front of the Dnata Freight Gate.
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Whilst taxiing I could see so many features in the horizon that I knew I would have to explore again in another short flight and was already looking forward to spending a longer time here than in most of my destinations. As I set my parking break and turned off the engines and avionics I thought to myself that this might be the final time I do this. Not because I want to end my journey, but because in a city as amazing and luxurious as Dubai, it would make sense that if I was to upgrade my aircraft, I should do so in Dubai!

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Fly Tampa Dubai Rebooted

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Dubai Travel Video Guide (25 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlR0Y1dGecE

DUBAI: The Greatest City On Earth (43 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOSci-rWf2Q

Dubai Holidays Destination Guide from Virgin Holidays (7 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkrh3po0KBA

Travel Dubai – The Tourist Attraction (8 Mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9TtbrRBwEc

 The Luxury Life Of Dubai By Piers Morgan – full documentary (58 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbUOaVqBFJQ

Dubai – the rules (3 mins) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spgEppa1BgY