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 49) Bahrain – Jask

I knew that this flight would be a longer journey as I was to double back on myself some what and fly over Dubai once again. With this in mind I requested a fuel truck and filled both tanks to their full capacity of 68 Gallons each. Later in my tour I will be stretching the distances as far as my small plane can handle, and I even have one flight I am yet to see as possible, but I have plenty of time to find a solution yet.

I completed all of the start up procedure, which I have no doubt is vastly shorter in a simulator than it would be in real life, and requested my IFR clearance. Following the taxiways N A Q R and A to Runway 12 Right, I was leaving Bahrain tarmac at 10:20 and entering clear blue sky.

Crossing the turquoise seas between Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, the colour soon took on a deeper navy blue and I could spot a dusting of clouds on the horizon I was due to fly through. I decided to climb a little and clipped the top of the odd cloud whilst picking my way through them. Light turbulence lasted for a good few minutes and I though I would enjoy diving through some of the larger clouds so dropped height to 6,000 ft. As the clouds increased in number and density I was no longer able to see the horizon and was relying on the satellite navigation and my instruments. The odd gap through the clouds allowed me to spot the water below, making sure it was still there. Right on cue I saw the clouds open up to show me a small island with its own runway. I later checked and found that this was Siri Island. As the turbulence grew stronger I climbed back to 10,000 ft and headed for Dubai.

It was nice to see Dubai again. I really enjoyed learning about many of the record breaking structures in Dubai and much of the history of the area. The FlyTampa “Dubai Rebooted” add-on scenery really was fantastic and I am looking forward to my arrival in Hong Kong where I hope to use another add-on pack by FlyTampa.

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Flying over Dubai. Again.

The rest of the flight was due to be an easy leg over the water again until reaching the Iranian shore and my landing destination of Jask. It was far from the easy leg I was expecting.

I received my first ILS instructions at 84 miles away from Jask and whilst I was surprised to receive them so early, I was greatful for the amount of support I had.

I hadn’t seen so many clouds since I was flying through the thunderstorms raging over Entebbe and lake Victoria in Africa. As I was beginning to think how easy it could be to become completely lost in the clouds a few very bright flashes lit up my cockpit and was followed by extremely close thunder. This was about the same time the turbulence decided to kick up again.

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Flying by instrument only, I followed the ILS instructions best I could but upon request to declare that I has sight of the Runway, I was unable to reply positively. I had descended to only 2,000 ft but the cloud, rain and fog made visibility the worst I had ever flown in. (Virtually of course.) I was guided directly to the Runway but could only get a visual as I flew directly over it. By checking the runway number (6) I could establish the opposite heading to fly in (240), before completing a full 180 degree turn and hoping that I would line up with the runway.

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Coming in to land at 500 ft, I took a very low and slow pass over a yacht and could barely make out the start of the runway. The strong crosswind had blown me slightly off course but I was able to correct for this and bring the wheels to the ground to complete the scariest landing I have done on this tour. I was still being buffeted around as I parked up for 13:35. I admit that I didn’t want to spend very long at this tiny airstrip.

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Bandar-e_Anzali (Jask)

Bandar Anzali Photos – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X24PVIn1TM

Bandar Anzali Photos 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K8P3ansT3s

Flight 48) Abu Dhabi – Bahrain

Whilst working late shifts for the past couple of weeks I decided that this flight could be taken of an evening whilst watching the sun set across the Emirate Sands. Checking the fuel levels I was confident that I did not need to refuel before this flight as I had over half tanks full.

Seeing the sun peeking over the terminal building I could see it rapidly getting lower in the sky. It didn’t take long until my aircraft was sitting in a shadow and I was starting my engines.

By writing down the taxi directions I trusted my navigation skills to find the correct taxi ways and entrance to Runway 13. It was another long taxi and even had to stop to avoid a collision with a fire crew.

Awaiting my take off clearance I watched a CRJ700 on final and eventually touch down before rolling onto the runway myself and pushing the throttle open. My wheels were up at 17:10 and I banked to the correct heading, ready to enjoy the setting sun over the waters.

It was clear where the wealth of the United Arab Emirates comes from as I passed over oil platforms not far from the coastline.

As the sun disappeared and the sky became a deeper shade of blue, the clouds took on a orange hue before eventually thinning out to a clear sky. I climbed to 10,000 ft and leveled off. This flight felt like quite a long time in the air although I am sure that it was probably simple because I was so tired myself. Whilst night time flights can be fun to test instrument reading skills, I think it a better idea to do the longer flights during daylight hours.

Once the stars had come out I was impressed to witness 3 shooting stars flash across the sky in front of me. This was the first time I had ever seen shooting stars within the simulator FSX and was surprised that they had been included.

Reaching Bahrain the skies quickly became a lot busier and as I entered my landing pattern I saw 4 other aircraft ahead of me whilst counting other aircraft taking off. Both runways were in full use and once I had landed I was very surprised to find out that the runways themselves are used a lot by taxiing aircraft. This meant a lot of waiting whilst other aircraft were landing and taking off although whilst waiting, I did get to see another set of shooting stars.

I didn’t know much about Bahrain other than the Formula 1 Circuit. So was interested in seeing some of their own architecture. Whilst turning on to my crosswind leg, I saw a very long road which seemed to stretch out over the water. I was puzzled by this until I checked Google Maps and could see that they do indeed have a very long bridge spanning the sea between the islands.

Turning my engines off and parking the aircraft I know that I shall need to refuel before my next flight which will be doubling back on my journey before arriving at Jask.

Bahrain-Airport

Bahrain Airport

NIGHTking fahd causeway bridge

King Faud Causeway

bahrain

Bahrain World Trade CenterBahrain_12_682x400_1254582aBahrain Formula 1 Circuit

Bahrain City Guide & Travel Information – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmREZW80FJQ

Qatar-Bahrain bridge – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DA3LjhY0RY

Bahrain International Airshow 2012 Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMkDBVrupbI

Top Places to visit in Manama, Bahrain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhbOEz_0HiI

Bahrain 2014 F1 Race Edit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i6xsCZJw9U

A Tourist’s Guide to Manama, Bahrain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWCEN55m0G0

“Happy” In Bahrain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTrBlI-64DA