This has been a great trip! I’ve been having a marathon catch-up session over the past 2-3 days and finally finished. Can’t wait to see the next installment.
Leg 58 - Staraya, Russa, Russia (ULNR Staraya Russa Airport) to Istanbul, Turky (LTFM Istanbul Airport)
This leg: 1,305Nm, 4:43 flying time
Total so far: 64,326Nm, 246:28 flying time
Today’s flight is taking us on a tour of Eastern European capitals. Heading East initially to Riga in Latvia, then South to Kaunus in Lithuania, then on to Minsk in Belarus, Kyiv in Ukraine (with a fly past of Chernobyl on the way) and then South to Istanbul.
To keep us going today, we are stocking up with Mushroom Julienne - made with thinly sliced mushrooms, cheese, sour cream and cream and broiled/grilled for a crusty top, served in a bread crust. Should be good
So let’s get going then - pretty coudy and overcast in Staraya this morning
Heading East now over very flat countryside towards Riga
Passing Aluksnes ezers
Approaching and flying over Riga
Heading South now towards Kaunus - still very flat countryside here and still very overcast weather
Heading into thicker weather now
Crossing Kaunus now, but hard to see much through the low cloud
Heading further South again towards Minsk and passing over Vilnius
Very cloudy over Minsk - can’t see anything really - can just make out Minsk airport
Further South now towards Kyiv and Chernobyl - but if the clouds don’t clear, we are not going to see too much of it
But the weather is looking like it might be about to clear a little
Flying close by Chernobyl - but best not get too close! Can just see the dome built over the reactor through the mist
Heading on to Kyiv and following the wide Dnieper River - but the fog is getting worse if anything
Well Kyiv is over there somewhere - we flew right over it but could see nothing through the clouds
Straight run South to the shores of the Black Sea - more very flat country - no hills in this part of the world at all, but maybe the weather is improving
Over the strangely green Sasyk Lagoon, just before the Black Sea
And finally the Black Sea itself and we at last break free of the clouds and into beautiful sunshine
Fair bit of wind now as we head in to Istanbul aiport
Definitely crabbing into the wind here
And down. Next we are heading South towards Africa…with a little detour around the Middle East! Should be fun!
59 - Istanbul, Turky (LTFM Istanbul Airport) - Kuwait City, Kuwait (OKBK Kuwait Airport)
This leg: 1,227Nm, 4:59 flying time
Total so far: 65,553Nm, 251:27 flying time
For today’s trip, we are heading South West to Kuwait - going for a pretty straight flight, but taking a few little detours along the way for some sit seeing. We’ll start with a quick fly over Istanbul itself, then head to Ankara, capital of Turkey, on to Baghdad, then on to the Ziggurat of Ur and finally the Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait before landing in Kuwait City.
On the food front, we’re picking up some Turkish pide with marinated artichokes, broccoli and cheese. Pide is a boat-shaped Turkish take on a flatbread or pizza. These look really nice!
Weather this morning in Turkey is very nice indeed, which is a nice change to some of the misty weather over the last couple of flights. So let’s get going.
Here’s Istanbul - and the Justice Palace, Dolmabahase Palace and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque are some key sites for us to take in as we fly over Istanbul
Heading West now towards Ankara, and first passing over Izmit - and some spectacular scenery over the rugged hills of Turkey
Passing Ankara now, turning towards the South as we fly over Esenboga, Ankara’s airport
Passing West alongside the Kizilirimark River
Ahead to our left is Erclyes Dagi - 12,800 feet tall with some amazing canyons in the foothills here
More dramatic cliffs, plateaus, trenches and valleys here in Western Turkey
We climb up to 25,000ft to get a good look around - amazing scenery
We’ve crossed into Syria now, and are back down at 5,000 feet to get a better look - Lake Assad ahead of us here and away to our right - much flatter and more desert like
Approaching Baghdad, the Euphrates River and crossing Habbaniyah Lake
Here is the Dur-Kurugalzu Ziggurat in Baghdad
Heading further South towards the Ziggurat of Ur
And now West again to our final destination, the Al Hamra Tower and Kuwait City
Approaching Kuwait Bay and Kuwait City
Now to circle around for the landing
Nice trip, and the latest 184.108.40.206 patch is working beautifully. Next stop - Africa
Leg 60 - Kuwait City, Kuwait (OKBK Kuwait Airport) to Socotra, Yemen (OYSQ Moori Airport)
This leg: 1,430Nm, 5:15 flying time
Total so far: 66,983Nm, 256:42 flying time
Today we are heading East and then South to Yemen, but taking the opportunity to fly over some of the key cities in the Middle East - Bahrain, Doha, Dubai and Muscat. We are then heading to Africa, stopping on the small Yemeni island of Socotra before heading to mainland Africa on a future flight.
Today’s food order is Machboos, the national dish of Kuwait. This is slow cooked basmati rice with a variety of spices (such as cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, pepper, and ginger) and mutton or chicken and sometimes vegetables
Let’s get going and see what the weather looks like in Kuwait this morning - nice view at the airport with Kuwait City in the background
And heading South West towards Bahrain over some Kuwaiti oil fields
Heading out over the Persian Gulf - we will follow the coast of the Gulf South West to Bahrain
Now on to Doha in Qatar - pretty much barren desert here
On our way to Abu Dhabi and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and back over the Persian Gulf again
Turning North with our next stop is Dubai
So we really need to do a bit of a fly by of Dubai and the Burj Khalifa in particular - just necessary
Nice. Now back to the flight plan before someone gets upset with us - and off to Muscat in Oman - and out over the Gulf of Oman on the way and across deserts and mountains
Now a straight run South across Oman and Yemen to the Yemeni island of Socotra
And out over the Arabian Sea
Here is Socotra - unfortunately with some low cloud
First sight of the runway - visibility is fortunately OK
Nicely lined up
What lovely sunset landing
Onwards to Africa next!
Leg 61 - Socotra, Yemen (OYSQ Moori Airport) to Entebbe, Uganda (HUEN Entebbe Airport)
This leg: 1,502Nm, 4:39 flying time
Total so far: 68,485Nm, 261:21 flying time
Today we are heading into Africa proper, and taking a pretty straight line from Yemen to Entebbe in Uganda. This is at the edge of our range, so we are going for a pretty straight line for our route. Our approach to Entebbe will be from over Lake Victoria.
On the food side of things, today we are stocking up with the traditional Yemeni dish of Shakshouka, which is a delicious combination of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.
So time to get going, and just a few clouds about tis morning in Socotra - otherwise looks like nice weather for the flight
Taking off to the North East, we start a gentle 180 degree turn to take us back to heading South West towards Africa
Socotra is a small, barren islands, but still looks beautiful from the air
Out over the Gulf of Aden on our way to Somalia
Somalia looks amazing from the air - barren, rocky desert with incredible patterns and colours
Crossing into Etheopia with the view no less spectacular albeit starting to get into a bit of cloud now
Cloudy over Kenya, so unfortunately can’t see too much
At last the cloud is beginning to break up so we can get a bit of a view as to what’s going on
Nearing Lake Victoria and crossing into Uganda
Turning to the North to circle around and over Kampala to line up with the runway
Lined up on final approach
Next to head further South towards South Africa
Leg 62 - Entebbe, Uganda (HUEN Entebbe Airport) to Makokola Retreat, Malawi (FWCM Club Makokola Airstrip)
This leg: 1,318Nm, 5:06 flying time
Total so far: 69,803Nm, 266:27 flying time
Today we are flying further South through Africa and into Malawi, but taking a bit of a detour through Kenya. So we are first heading East to Nairobi, then on to the East Coast of Africa to Mombasa and then South to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania before heading back South West and inland again to Karonga (Malawi) on Lake Malawi. We’ll then travel the length of Lake Malawi to the Makokola Retreat in Malawi.
To fuel us all up for the flight, we are having mandazi which is similar to a donut minus the hole and is a fried bread that is sweetened with coconut milk and shaped into circles or triangles. A Ugandan delicacy.
So some good weather this morning in Uganda as we prepare to depart from Entebbe
Lovely views over Lake Victoria as we leave Entebbe - although with thickening cloud as we continue towards Nairobi
Here’s Mfangano Island, at the far side of the Lake - and the Lake here is a beautiful green colour
Heading across Kenya towards Nairobi and passing Mount Suswa Conservancy
Approaching Nairobi we are heading into some thicker cloud - so unfortunately we can’t see much
On our way to the Coast - to Mombasa - and we finally start to emerge from the clouds
Although it looks like more cloud is on the way at the coast
Well, Mombasa is down there somewhere…at the end of the rainbow? Definitely raining down there over Port Reitz and Kilindini Port
Following the coastline South towards Dar Es Salaam - but the clouds ahead looking pretty ominous
Thick cloud all the way to Dar Es Salaam - and so turning to the South West and heading back inland towards Malawi and hopefully some better weather
But still lots of thick cloud - although maybe starting to clear as we approach Lake Malawi
At the edge of Lake Malawi, and some serious hills and slopes here
On the other side of the Lake now, and turning to the South over Karonga Airstrip
Heading South over Lake Malawi
Turning now to line up with the runway at our destination, Makokola Airstrip
Lining up for final approach
And down and parked
Where next? Further South I think, towards the Southern tip of Africa…
Leg 63 - Makokola Retreat, Malawi (FWCM Club Makokola Airstrip) to Mauritius (FIMP Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport)
This leg: 1,376Nm, 5:28 flying time
Total so far: 71,179Nm, 271:53 flying time
Well, remember I said we were heading South next? OK, so I lied. I’ve never been to Mauritius, and we are not that far away from it here…so why not? Plus we get a chance to fly over Madagascar in the process. So we are going pretty much straight East today, flying low altitude airways on a straight line to Mauritius with a couple of exceptions. First we are going to fly over Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, and then we will take a little detour to Reunion Island, part of France. Finally we will land at the awesomely named Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius. Turns out that Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam served as the island’s first Chief Minister, Prime Minister and Governor-General.
Today’s food order is Chambo with Nsima - Chambo is the most popular and best-known fish found in Lake Malawi and here is served grilled with nsima (a stiff porridge). Supposed to be delicious, so we will see!
So let’s get going, and it’s a lovely day with just some light cloud here in Malawi.
Heading East now, crossing into Mozambique as we leave the Eastern shore of Lake Malawi
Some really interesting hills popping up from the plains below us
Getting a little cloudier as we approach the coast of Mozambique
Heading out over the Mozambique Channel and the next stop is Madagascar - and some cloud ahead
Really interesting scenery in Madagascar - I think I expected more apparent jungle, but it looks more like barren scrubland
Some heavier clouds and rain ahead of us maybe
Looks like we’ve managed to keep clear of the weather
Approaching the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo
Flying over Antananarivo
Heading out over the Indian Ocean towards Reunion
Nearing Reunion, and a bit of cloud
At Reunion, we are going to fly over Saint-Denis and Saint-Clotilde, the major urban areas on the island
Turning to head on our final leg towards Mauritius
First site of Mauritius
Turning to line up for final approach
It’s going to be a stunning sunset approach and landing - wow!
What a stunning sunset landing. Sometimes this sim is jaw dropping
Leg 64 - Mauritius (FIMP Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport) to Maputo, Mozambique (FQMA Maputo Airport)
This leg: 1,437Nm, 5:19 flying time
Total so far: 72,616Nm, 277:12 flying time
Today we are getting back on track by heading back to Africa. We’re going to take a straight line, high altitude flight from Mauritius to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. We’ll be flying over the top of Reunion Island again, although that will likely be far below us, and then over Madagascar again, before finally crossing the Mozambique channel, East to West this time, and landing in Maputo.
So what Mauritian delicacy can we find today? How about Bol Renverse? In English this translates to ‘Upside Down Bowl’ and is a rice-based dish, served with a stir-fry sauce, similar to chop suey. The thick sauce is made with soy sauce, oyster sauce and sautéed with a variety of vegetables, usually Bok Choi (Chinese cabbage), mushrooms and carrots. Chicken, shrimp, or thin strips of meat is then added to the chop suey, though chicken is the standard choice and finally an egg over easy tops the dish.
So let’s get going, then and see what the weather has in store for us in Mauritius this morning. Well we didn’t expect heavy rain and thunderstorms!
Turning West and climbing out of the heavy clouds and up over Reunion Island - better view of the vocanic nature of the island from this altitude
Heading to Madagscar at 32,000 feet
Approaching the coast of Madagascar - thick clouds making it hard to see anything from high up here - just some little glimpses through the could of the green lands below
But as we cross the heart of Madagascar, the clouds clear to reveal an amazing landscape below
There ahead is the West coast of Madagascar. The snaking river on the left is the Onilahy River, whilst on the right it looks like a dry gorge, but is actually a deep casm with the Fiherenana River flowing through it. Bteween them, on the coast itself, is the town of Toliara
And back out over the ocean heading towards Mozambique and approaching the East coast of Africa
Descending to start our approach pattern - just a few clouds about - flying past Maputo, so we can circle back around for the airport
Heading right over the top of the city now and past the airport that we are about to turn around and land at
Turning on to final approach
Cool. Enjoyed that - great views of Madagascar from 32,000 feet.
Leg 65 - Maputo, Mozambique (FQMA Maputo Airport) to Langebaanweg, South Africa (FALW Langebaanweg Airport)
This leg: 1,064Nm, 4:24 flying time
Total so far: 73,680Nm, 281:36 flying time
Today we are flying from Mozambique to Langebaaweg, a town just West of Cape Town in South Africa. On the way we are detouring over Pretoria and Johannesburg before flying straight across the middle of South Africa to Cape Town. There we will fly over the Cape of Good Hope itself where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll then head a few miles West to Langebaanweg.
So let’s get going - a bit cloudy and overcast here in Maputo this morning
Heading South West on the departure track before we’ll turn West towards Pretoria and straight into thick cloud
Finally, a little break in the cloud as we skim low over the higher ground to the West of Maputo on our way tp Pretoria - still lots of cloud and rain about
The weather has really cleared up a bit as we approach Pretoria
And on to the nearby Johannesburg
A long straight run now right across the heart of South Africa to Cape Town
Following alongside the Vaal River
Enormous areas of cultivated land here and then vast areas of scrub land
Approaching Cape Town over the mountains and rugged terrain to the North
Cape Town ahead with Table Mountain visible in the distance
Heading out over False Bay to the Cape of Good Hope with the Cape Peninsula on our left
Heading further West now towards Langebaaweg
Seems that Langebaaweg is quite a small place!
So circling around now to line up for runway 20L
Nice flight. Next, we start our journey up the West coast of Africa.
Leg 66 - South Africa (FALW Langebaanweg Airport) to Benguela, Angola (FNBG 17th of November Airport)
This leg: 1,314Nm, 5:10 flying time
Total so far: 74,994Nm, 286:46 flying time
Today we are heading up the West Coast of Africa, and I’ve decided to try to follow the coastline as much as possible using local airports as waypoints. So we’ve got a lot of waypoints! Our itinerary is then:
- Langebaanweg (FALW)
- Doringbaai Airstrip (FAVJ)
- Papendotp Airport (FAVQ)
- Hondeeklip Bay Airstrip (FAGE)
- Kleinsee (FAKZ)
- Port Nolloth Airport (FAQJ)
- Oranjemund (FYOG)
- Luderitz (FYLZ)
- Meod Bay Landing Site (FYMB)
- Walvis Bay (FYWB
- Swakopmund (FYSM)
- Terrace Bay Airport (FYTE)
- Opuwo Airport (FYPM)
- Opuwo Airport (FYPN)
- Namibe Airport (FNNM)
- Namibe (FNMO)
- Benguela (FNBG)
Lots to see hopefully on the way. We’ll keep it nice and low - about 4500 feet - and see how it goes. It’s interesting that there are some lengthy coastal areas without any kind of runway or even navigation aid, but our route is going to stay pretty close to the coast all the way. The furthest inland we will be is on our way to Namibe Aiport.
So let’s see what the weather has in store for us today in South Africa. Well it’s a beautiful sunny day here.
Heading North now, out over the Atlantic towards Doringbaai Airstrip and Papendotp Airport that are very close together and the mouth of the Olifants River
On to Hondeeklip Bay Airstrip - looks like a mining area
Kleinsee is just a little further up the coast, and still in pretty barren countryside and pretty flat really
Port Nolloth Airport is next up
On to our next wyapoint, Oranjemund - the mouth of the Orange River
Luderitz is next up, with some amazing sand dunes here
Meob Bay Landing Site is our next waypoint further along the coast with more stunning sand dunes on the way
Heading a little bit away from the coast and onwards to Walvis Bay…and more sand dunes!
And North again towards Swakopmund
Next stop Terrace Bay Airport
And on to the “first” Opuwo Airport
And the “second” Opuwo Airport
Our second last waypoint is Namibe Airport
And our last stop, Namibe
And finally on to Benguela, flying over the airport before making our left turns to approach from the West over the ocean
On our final approach, landing and parked up
Our next trip will continue our journey North through Africa
Leg 67 - Benguela, Angola (FNBG 17th of November Airport) to Bangui, Central African Republic (FEFF M’Poko Airport)
This leg: 1,094Nm, 4:17 flying time
Total so far: 76,088Nm, 291:03 flying time
Today we are heading North into central Africa - literally as we are going to Bangui in Central African Republic. On the way, we are flying over Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, and then we are flying roughly along the path of the River Congo, passing over Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of Congo, then on to Impfondo, right on the border between the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo and finally on to Bangui in Central African Republic.
So let’s get going. Nice day in Angola today, with a few clouds about and not much wind
Heading North now, out over the Atlantic
Back over dry land and it’s time to head inland now all the way from here
The lush green around the Longa River as it snakes towards the coast
Coming up to Kinshasa
And across the Congo River to Brazzaville
Miles and miles of rainforest below us, with the Congo River meandering inbetween
Approaching Mbandaka and the cloud is thickening and there are flashes of lightning in the air and a lot of low cloud and rain
North towards Impfondo, and the Congo is vast here…and so many trees!
Impfondo is on the Ubangi River - still a big river, but just a small tributory of the Congo - can just about see Impfondo through the cloud - just
Heading North now to out destination, Bangui, following the Ubangi for a short way
And back into thick cloud - hoping this clears before we get to Bangui
Approaching Bangui through the cloud and on to final approach
And down and parked