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 76) Beijing – Seoul

It was 12:30 by the time I had finished setting up the flight simulator software, loaded my plane and requested a fuel truck so I could fill my tanks again. It’s a good job virtual fuel is free! I’d dread to think how much it would cost in fuel to travel around the world with this many stops. Looking to my right I could only be thankful that I was not having to pay to fill the tanks of a Boeing 747.

With another clear sky without a cloud in sight, I was looking forward to this afternoon flight and was soon taking off from runway 36 by 12:50. I took another small detour to fly over Beijing and to get a last look at the Forbidden city before turning to a heading of 120 degrees to take me on a direct path to South Korea as I wanted to make this flight as short as possible. 2016-6-26_12-57-46-204By 13:45 I found myself flying over the coastline of China and the green shade of sea water below which continued far off to the horizon. I paused only the once to take a lap around a very small but pretty island. I meant to check what this island was called but was too busy to do so during the flight. 2016-6-26_16-0-2-185Once I had reached land once again I released that this would have been North Korea. With all the negative information provided by the news about North Korea I was pretty relieved to be in a simulator. Even so I decided to fly as low as possible, buzzing the tops of trees, hills, mountains and even the water of a lake. Eventually the rough terrain gave way to a very wide river which I followed for long enough that I was only 13 miles away from my destination airport of Seoul.

Seoul was a huge city. Much bigger than I had expected. Wanting to land quickly I saw what I could of the city from the air but did not fly any laps. By the time I landed it was 17:17 although this included the extra hour I had lost by crossing the time zone.

Another day I took a gentle flight over the city and found Incheon Airport just off the coast. This was a much larger airport which the simulator had re-produced in detail. I figured it would be nice to land here and refuel before the next leg of the world tour.

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25 Best Things To Do in Seoul, South Korea – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-zrjBpKGiI
Overnight in Seoul, 36 hours in the city  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSKGDNzb4pc
Travel Vlog: Seoul, South Korea | HAUSOFCOLOR  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zd8UjpJmK4
Seoul Vacation Travel Video Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzD5Lk5buVY

Whilst digitally exploring Seoul I learnt that Gangnam was a district within the city, now made known world wide through the PSY song Gangnam Style – Couldn’t leave out the music video now could I?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=9bZkp7q19f0

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 72) Nansang – Hanoi

After finding that there was little information to be found online about Nansang, I was looking forward to reaching Hanoi. Knowing full well that there would be a large amount of history to discover I was eager to get moving.
The night before the flight I took a look at the weather forecast and estimated how long the journey would take. At 590 miles and expecting a 3 hour flight time, this would be another lengthy flight. At 9:30 am I sat in the Beech Baron 58 for a short while listening to the distant thunder and gentle 4 mph wind, whilst setting up the maps I would be following as well as filling the fuel tanks once again.
I didn’t waste much time and was quickly in the air once again and requested “flight following” at 09:51.As far as I could see, the hills were covered in dense forest looking like a creased blanket due to the rolling hills. Thick cloud was forming at around 5,000 ft so I stayed low and chose to skim over the terrain.
It was good to see pockets of life in the occasional villages and towns nestled within the trees. Eventually the rolling hills grew in size are were soon better described as mountains. Upon reaching Mae Hangson airfield I turned to a heading of 130 and continued towards Hanoi. The mountains had pushed my plane higher until my view was obstructed by thick clouds. The lack of visibility made me decide to climb a little further until I could see above the cloud.
My second way point was over another airport, this time “Chang Mai,” and the radios were soon buzzing with activity. I was even able to watch a Learjet land as I flew past. I turned left to a new heading of 100 and hopped over some more hills after passing low over the rather large Chang Mai city. At this point I was advised to tune to Bangkok radio which was even busier than before.
I took a bit of a detour from the safe pink line of my GPS plotted route to check out a lake I saw in the distance. Having fun flying low over the lake I was surprised to see another big town on the far end. This looked like a very beautiful part of the world to live.
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Whilst I am keen to see Bangkok, Thailand will be a destination I shall be stopping at later in my tour but for now I shall continue to work my way up to Japan before I double back on myself slightly before heading south and towards Australia!
The familiar lush green forests continued to pass below me and the sudden appearance of a cliff face intrigued me enough to stray from the GPS path once again. A river below looked very muddy and once I discovered this was Da River. I was more than happy to follow this winding stream of water all the way to Hanoi.
As the forest had become familiar, so too had the weather. This time fog within the mountains made for a creepy atmosphere although I knew that the river water would be the lowest point around, I could stay low, and continue to follow this river in relative safety.
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As the clock showed 13:20 the fog had thinned out and I could once again see the rocky hills surrounding me. I was almost relieved to be contacting Naibai approach with only 23 miles left to fly.
Hanoi city was much larger than I had expected. So much so that I looped around the airport and across much of the city before confirming my landing intentions.
I took my landing very steady indeed as the fog was still lingering below 2,500 feet. The visibility upon landing was pretty poor and I felt bad when I heard 2 other aircraft were told to “fly around.” This meant that I had prevented them from landing and that they had to take another go at it. By 13:48 I had landed and was taxiing to my parking spot.
Time to learn about all that Hanoi has to offer!

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HA NOI, Vietnam Travel Guide, Ha Noi’s Old Quarter { Fascinating Destination} 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr-ksAUy2c0

HA NOI, Vietnam Travel Guide, Ha Noi’s Old Quarter { Fascinating Destination} 2 –
The Old Quarter in HaNoi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTm_J4wcjAU
Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Tour (Including Food Market) (With Facts/Figures) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfDyPM6Vxt8
36 Hours in Hanoi, Vietnam | The New York Times – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7ENbAp92QY
HANOI – VIETNAM / A TRAVEL GUIDE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmlgDhua1rM
International Street Foods Hanoi Vietnam Full Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuJJ7LL-Mgs
Traveling Vietnam: Hanoi to Halong Bay – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDDRT8WGGjM
TOP THINGS TO DO IN HANOI, Vietnam in 1 day – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paaV3RQP_Q4

 

Flight 71) Mandalay – Nansang

The distance between Mandalay and Nansang is a lot shorter than the majority of my flights recently and as such this was due to be a short flight so I figured I could squeeze it in one morning before I started my day job.
The weather was cloudy but the temperature gauge indicated a warm 22 degrees. I’d love to feel a 22 degree day at the moment because Edinburgh, UK has been struggling to get above 5 degrees recently.
As I taxied from my parking space I saw a couple of dramatic lightening flashes which made me a little nervous about flying into such weather. By 9:40 I had received my take off clearence and was leaving the safety of the Mandalay tarmac.
Reaching 2,400 feet I was above the worst of the fog and entered some very heavy turbulence. I suppose this was to be expected having just watched the approaching storm.
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Between the clouds I could see pockets of blue sky above. The turbulence and heavy winds were blowing me off course quite a bit and I noticed my eye darting to the fuel levels pretty often as I was sitting at 1/4 of a tank. This would be more than enough to get me to Namsang.
As the clouds eventually dissapated I saw the hills below and dropped altitude enough to see them up close. The rolling thunder in the distance seemed to echo through the valley. My landing instructions were given to me over the radio as I was still over the hills and it wasn’t until I had cleared them completely that the heavy turbulence subsided. It was much easier to control the small aircraft in the cleaner air.
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Once again I found myself back in the fog and clouds and had to rely on some instrument flying. I found it pretty fun balancing the gauges whilst following the varous instructions coming through the radio. Finally lining up with runway 17, I admit that it took a little longer that I would have liked to spot the runway and saw that there were no buildings to help mark it’s location. I’m sure this is likely to be the simulator restrictions as I would dread to think that the real location is without ANY buildings at all.
The runway was lovely and long and without any pressure to get my wheels down quickly, I did bounce my landing slightly. I clearly need some more practice to get back into this virtual flying game. Parking up on the grass at the end of the runway I could still hear thunder rumbling in the distance but I was glad to be back on terra firma.
I couldn’t find too much information about the township of Nansang (or Namsang). At only 20,000 inhabitants I suppose this was one of the smaller destinations on my tour.
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Undiscovered Myanmar: Seven Cities and Three Weeks in Burma – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLYOGITcn34
One Week in Myanmar – Bagan, Inle Lake, Yangon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-isgplZXqxU