Exploring the world in the Beechcraft Bonanza

Leg 128, Levokumskoye, Russia, via Ukraine to Tiraspol, Moldova

DAY12_28.PLN (10.6 KB)

Today I rectified something that was bugging me for a long time. I missed Moldova (by a hair) on my tour through Europe, too focused on reaching Dracula’s castle in Romania. Thus I made an exception and crossed my old path today in the Ukraine to get to Tiraspol, Moldova.

It looked like today’s flight was going to be rather uneventful, down to a rather boring progression of not very detailed flat terrain with cloud shaped patches for entertainment. However after a couple hours it turned into the most demanding and challenging flight yet. Low cloud cover started to appear and as soon as I make my first landing through it, the plane was completely iced up.

The ice lasted until halfway through the Ukraine while 38 knots winds picked up to make landing even more difficult. Add in the fact that nearly all runways were very short and quite narrow, I have to admit there were a couple pretty rough touch downs, missed approaches and once running off the end of the runway not able to stop in time. (So excited I made a perfectly smooth landing in virtual vision with icing and heavy wind, I initially forgot to brake haha. Couple plane lengths into the field :/)

In the end the ice was replaced with rain, completely blocking out the moonlight with clouds hanging down to the ground. Zero visibility, drone cam no use. I had to skip two stops since they did not have runway data in the G1000. Not runway lights at the rest either, not that it would have mattered much. Exhausting flight but tons of fun. Tomorrow I’ll see what Moldova looks like. I’m there but have not seen a pixel of the terrain yet!

12-28 Levokumskoye ULEK 3:45 AM
12-28 Astrakhan URWA 4:42 AM
12-28 Privolzhskiy Air Base USTK 4:47 AM
12-28 Ashuluk Airfield UTAB 5:10 AM
12-28 Akhtubinsk Air Base UAKI 5:41 AM
12-28 Kapustin Yar Airfield UZNN 5:58 AM
12-28 Srednyaya Akhtuba Airfield USRE 6:13 AM Faded runway
12-28 Gumrak URWW 6:24 AM
12-28 Kletskaya ULLD 6:46 AM Faded runway
12-28 Serafimovich URWS Skip, can’t locate, faded airstrip
12-28 Veshenskaya URRW 7:15 AM
12-28 Buturlinovka Air Base UBUU 7:42 AM
12-28 Bobrov UBOB 8:01 AM 3 attempts to land, short runway
12-28 Podkletnoye UUOQ 8:19 AM 2 attempts faded runway, landed in field next to marker
12-28 51°36’23.46"N 39°25’58.64"E 8:25 AM CTD on approach
12-28 Podkletnoye UUOQ 8:32 AM
12-28 Pridacha UUOD 8:39 AM
12-28 Chertovitskoye UUOO 8:46 AM
12-28 Stary Oskol UUOS 9:10 AM
12-28 Belgorod UUOB 9:36 AM
12-28 Krasnokuts’k UKNB 10:06 AM Virtual vision landing, go around, short runway, icing, high winds
12-28 Kotel’va UKMT 10:16 AM Virtual vision landing, short runway, icing, high cross winds, not pretty
12-28 Velyka Bahachka UKVK 10:35 AM Drone cam landing, short ‘runway’, poor textures
12-28 Chyhyryn UPKL 10:54 AM Virtual vision landing, short runway
12-28 Chervonaya Sloboda UPHU 11:04 AM Virtual vision landing, short runway
12-28 Smila UKSM 11:14 AM Virtual vision landing, drone cam approach
12-28 Yurkivka UKYU 11:26 AM Virtual vision landing, rough touchdown
12-28 Holovanivs’k UKHV Skip, overcast too dark, no runway data
12-28 Anan’iv Airstrip UKAV Skip, raining too dark, no runway data
12-28 Frunzivka Airstrip UKFR 12:16 PM Virtual vision landing
12-28 Tiraspol LUTR 12:33 PM Virtual vision landing

Flight time 8:41 28 stops

First hour, nothing to see, until just before Astrakhan

Pretty wet there

Astrakhan on the Volga river in Southern Russia

Known for the Astrakhan Kremlin, an expansive fortress built in the 16th century

With the Ascencion cathedral next to it on the right

On the way to Kapustin Yar you can visit some of the rocket launch sites

Burya launch site above

There’s very little information to be found, only some very old pictures

Close to Kapustin Yar (East), maybe another launch site or a base of some kind

Kapustin Yar Air field, slightly North of town

The launch site was established in 1946 initially using tech from defeated Germany

Volgograd International Airport (called Gumrak in game)

Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, was the site of WWII’s Battle of Stalingrad

“To Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” at Mamayev Kurgan, memorial park with giant statues

You probably saw the low hanging clouds at Volgograd, this is what it did to my plane

At Kletskaya, hard to spot runway made worse by the ice fog

I really need a working window defroster, at least the prop de-ice system works

Can’t see much of the ground below, but pretty nonetheless

Approaching Vashenskaya, some snow on the ground

Vashenskaya, runway spotted

Pretty cold outside

Venskaya is home to a statue of Grigory and Aksinya

Grigory and Aksinya are principal characters of the epic novel And Quiet Flows the Don by Russian writer Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov. It consists of 4 volumes written from 1925 to 1940. It depicts the lives and struggles of Don Cossacks during the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and Russian Civil War.

It was turned into a movie which came out in 1957 / 1958

Back in the air on the way to Buturlinovka Air Base

Nearly full moon, almost at the opposite side of the sun

I don’t know how the game decides which fields get snow cover but it looks good

At Leschanoe, green grassy fields take longest to accumulate snow

To Bobrov, the ice might be getting a bit less heavy

Yep, looking a bit better

Except I’m going through the clouds again to land in Bobrov

This was the toughest ‘airport’ today, missed approach number two, so little visibility

Made it, right before the sunset

Higher up the sun is still visible while on approach to Podkletnoye

Last glimpse of the sun while climbing back out of Podkletnoye

Voronezh on the Voronezh River

Under the same icy fog I’ve been dealing with half the flight

Pamyatnik Voinskoy Slavy, Monument to Military Glory

Pamyatnik Belomu Bimu, monument to the setter called White Bim Black Ear

It’s from a story about a white dog with a black ear, by Gavriil Troepolsky

Belyy Bim Chernoe ukho, 1977, directed by Stanislav Rostotskiy

Chertovitskoye, dark, ice, runway lights!!!

Approaching Stary Oskol

Stary Oskol on the Oskol River

Next to the city is Stoilensky Iron ore open pit mine

There is a second pit to the right

Belgorod, landing in luxury again, last time though. The rest was challenging to say the least.

Belgorod is home to the Muzey-Diorama, depicting the battle of Kursk, July and August 1943

Numerous WWII tanks and artillery can be viewed outside

Approaching Krasnokuts’k. The ice is starting to let up, however a 38 knot wind picked up

Ominous skies ahead at Yares’ky

Chyhyryn Airport, one of the short runways around the Ukraine

Castle mountain Chyhyryn (also spelled Chigirin)

One of the monuments of Ukrainian culture, at the site where warden Vishnevetsky build a castle in 1598 to protect the city from Tatar raiding parties. The monument is about the history of the Ukrainian Cossacks.

Approaching Yurkivka between a layer of clouds and fog

Then it started raining and visibility reduced to this, at Frunzivka

Flying out of Frunzivka

This is all I saw of Moldova so far, the runway at Tiraspol

Tiraspol is the capital of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Pridnestrovie)

Tiraspol is home to many monuments and statues, including Victory park and a memorial to Aviators

Monument to Alexander Suvorov on the left, founder of the city and considered one of the greatest military commanders in Russian history. Tank monument next to St George the Victorious Chapel in the middle. All three along 25th October street which houses many more monuments.

Monument to the liberators of the city on the right, honoring those that defended the city in 1941 and those that liberated the city in 1944.

Tomorrow to the capital of Moldova, Chișinău

Leg 129, Tiraspol, Moldova, via Romania, Ukraine and Belarus to Segezha, Russia

DAY12_29.PLN (7.2 KB)

I thought yesterday was bad, today I literally got blown off the runway. Again up to 48 knot winds, battling icing in a snow storm. I skipped a stop again. The runway was visible but there was just no way to land on a short narrow runway with the cross wind and iced up plane. Luckily there was a wide open field where I got blown off the runway, no way to keep the plane straight, a small miracle I managed to keep it level and back in the air. I did cover a lot of ground with that 46 knot (mostly) tail wind, going 20% faster than normal.

12-29 Tiraspol LUTR 3:00 AM
12-29 Chisinau Intl LUKK 3:13 AM
12-29 Iasi LRIA 4:33 AM
12-29 Balti City LUBA 3:46 AM Runway?
12-29 Balti Intl LUBL 4:00 AM
12-29 Khmelnytskyi UK62 4:21 AM
12-29 Lidavo Airstrip UKZD 4:43 AM Short runway, high winds
12-29 Rivne UKLR 4:47 AM 45 knot wind, reaching 229 GS
51°54’37.54"N 25°54’27.80"E 5:14 AM CTD on final, stuttered and disappeared, restart
12-19 Last know position 5:21 AM
12-29 Horad Pinsk UMHD 5:26 AM
12-29 Asnyezhytsy UMAS 5:36 AM Go around, unclear field runway, stormy weather
12-29 Bykhaw UMBH (Already been to Minsk) 6:34 AM up to 48 knot tailwind
12-29 Andreapol Air Base UANN 7:38 AM Should have died on take off :confused:
12-29 Borovichi ULNB 8:21 AM
12-29 Khvoynaya UKHY Skip, short narrow runway, bad cross wind, icing, no viz, impossible
12-29 Cherepovets ULWC 9:16 AM
12-29 Vytegra ULWR 9:55 AM
12-29 Pudozh ULPA 10:10 AM
12-29 Shal’skiy USHY 10:25 AM
12-29 Segezha ULPS 10:56 AM

Flight time 7:49 18 stops

First up, Chișinău, the capital of Eastern Europe’s Republic of Moldova

Chișinău International Airport

Here you can see the monument of Stephen the Great (1433-1504) in Stephen The Great Central Park

On the right a sculpture found inside the Alexander Pushkin Museum. Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.

Chișinău Memorial Complex “Eternity”

Dedicated to the soldiers of the Soviet Union who died in the battles against the German-Romanian troops in WWII.

Approaching Iași, Romania. Some clouds in sight.

Iași, a university city in eastern Romania

Palace of Culture on the left and in the middle on the screenshot above

A view inside the 16th century Metropolitan Cathedral Iasi on the right, the largest historical Orthodox church in Romania.

Khmelnytskyi (Proskuriv before 1955) in Western Ukraine

A big storm is brewing

Approaching Rivne with 45 knot winds pushing me up to 229 knots ground speed

Nearing the border to Belarus, weather radar is solid red

Horad Pinsk Airport, Belarus. The game crashed right before getting here. I restarted from the last known coordinates, which started me high up in the air icing the plane, doh!

Approaching Osnezhitsy, a small break in the clouds

On to Bykhaw through heavy rain and winds ranging from 18 knots on the ground to 45 knots at 3,000 ft

Trying to get a glimpse of the terrain, the rain is too heavy

Trying to climb above the clouds has the predicted results

Yet I manage to find a gap between cloud layers

The sun is still around

Back down to land at Andreapol Air Base, Russia, bad idea

I drove back to the middle of the runway for the picture. I already got blown off the side on landing, no amount of rudder and nose wheel could keep it straight. Luckily there is an empty field next to the runway.

The snow is blowing sideways

Trying to take off like this, very very bad idea

I got blown off the runway again while speeding up, yet somehow managed to keep the plane level while gaining just enough speed to avoid the trees while getting air born. The plane was not happy with me, beeping loudly while trying to flip over.

After getting it firmly pointed into the wind, gaining altitude became much easier

The game needs a de-icing truck!

Eerie sunset on the way to Borovichi

Passing Valday on Lake Valdayskoye

Very dark already on arrival in Borovichi. Luckily a good runway pointed in the right direction.

I skipped the next airport though at Khvoynaya. Too short, narrow and in the wrong direction. I tried 2 approaches but it was clear I was never going to get it on the ground in one piece with an 18 knot crosswind in an iced up plane in the dark. Diverted to Cherepovets instead.

Crossing the Kobozha River

Near Merozha, the weather seems to calm down a bit

Cherepovets Airport, I’ve been here before

Crossing my route to head further North

Lake Beloye. The storm is done, however the high winds still push me well over 200 knots ground speed.

Near Startsevo, loving the moonlit winter scenes

Vytegra, along the shores of the Vytegra River on the Volga–Baltic Waterway

Here you can visit a B440 ( Foxtrot class) Submarine which were in use from 1958 to 1987

It’s in the screenshot above, the thin black shape at the bottom left

Near Ozero (Lake) Kamenitskoye

And final stop for today, Segezha on the western shore of Lake Vygozero

The plan for tomorrow is to reach Murmansk in the North-West corner of Russia


Amazing! For now I centered on the Països Catalans.
Well done, inspiring.
I have to do this trip just to check if Scala Dei Monastery, Miravet Castel and Morella are well represented.
Then we have Salses, Girona, Sagunt, Valencia, Alacant… until Guardamar.
:star_struck: :star_struck: :star_struck: :star_struck:

Been following your trip almost daily since the beginning. Not only are the screenshots very good, I also find your writing interesting and informative.

One question: Are you using one of the Bonanza mods or just the stock/Asobo?

I’m using the Stock Bonanza, which had a big boost in the latest patch. I mapped the performance of the Bonanza here with comparison to the update.

I have damage turned off, not in it for ultra realism, plus it takes 7 minutes to reload the game. I usually let the plane fly on while moving the drone around for a screenshot, to snap back to the plane later. My co-pilot handles ATC (which I ignore) and often end up diving towards a runway unannounced, landing with throttle at zero, using the flaps as air brakes. A bit of stunt flying is always fun.

My time tables are very tight for these legs. It’s all stop 'n go. Right before the plane comes to a halt, the throttle is back to full again, brakes released as soon as the plane comes to a halt. I now land with the parking brake already set, very bad for the tires, yet ultra short stopping distance, no need to turn around! I have a list prepared where to go to next so it’s simply finding the right code in the nearest airport list for directions. Re-fueling is done by menu, no time wasted waiting for a fuel truck.

For me it’s about finding the runway and getting a soft touch down, the part before and after are less important. Between airports autopilot does the work while I look around or while I check google maps to find interesting places on the next leg.

It’s still very time consuming, the world is huge! Updating the maps and posting the leg easily takes another 90 minutes in the evening. It’s all fun though, reading about the places I’ve been to and finding the things that stand out in cities. I’m also not always at the PC (laptop) on long legs. For example I’ve done groceries while the plane is on auto pilot.

My route ahead has been updated to Kazakhstan, nicking a corner of China and then Kyrgyzstan. I know absolutely nothing of these countries, excited to see what’s there. Plus the mountain ranges in Kyrgyzstan look like they’re going to be a lot of fun to fly through! Hopefully the weather cooperates. Live time and weather are the cornerstone of my trip. Non negotiable. It’s so awesome to realize the sun that just went down in the game is coming up outside, same moon. It really ‘grounds’ the experience.

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Leg 130, Segezha to Syktyvkar, Russia

DAY12_30.PLN (5.9 KB)

It’s about time to switch to flying in the evening/night instead of night/early morning. Today I didn’t see the sun at all. I’m far North and the trip started out in stormy overcast weather. By the time it cleared up the sun was already gone. New years day, new time schedule.

12-30 Segezha ULPS 3:08 AM
12-30 Kem’ UKEA 3:41 AM
12-30 Afrikanda UAFR 4:58 AM
12-30 Monchegorsk Air Base UMOE 5:23 AM
12-30 Murmansk ULMM 5:45 AM Lenin Icebreaker
12-30 Severomorsk-1 Naval Air Base ULAK 5:53 AM
12-30 Shoyna ULBO 7:25 AM
12-30 Chizha UKAE 7:44 AM
12-30 Koyda UKAN 8:07 AM
12-30 65°59’14.08"N 42°07’27.58"E 8:21 AM CTD while accessing Steam, Steam crashed as well, restart
12-30 Last known position 8:28 AM
12-30 65°24’12.31"N 41°27’10.55"E 8:43 AM CTD flying through bad weather, restart
12-30 Last known position 8:50 AM
12-30 Talagi ULAA 9:15 AM
12-30 Novodvinsk UOOD 9:25 AM Virtual vision landing
12-30 Karpogory ULAP 10:21 AM Drone cam landing
12-30 Yemva UUYM 11:40 AM Drone cam landing
12-30 Syktyvkar UUYY 12:02 PM Runway lights!
12-30 Syktyvkar Southwest USYY 12:09 PM Virtual vision landing CTD on End Flight

Flight time 8:47 14 stops

Departing from Kem’, storm ongoing, no visibility from 100 ft up

It’s thick soup, illuminated by the low Northern sun

This is all I can see on the way to Afrikanda

Luckily it clears up a bit, some visibility in between cloud layers now and then

Thinning out slowly, I’m getting away from the storm, blue skies!

Afrikanda airport, beyond the Arctic circle

Monchegorsk Air Base, icy runway (doesn’t seem to affect braking efficiency)

Fist I thought the sun was peeking through, it’s the full moon coming up

Murmansk Airport, so cold

Murmansk at the end of a deep bay off the Barents Sea

Looking the other way, no sun sighting today

Sights in Murmansk include Скульптура Ждущая. Памятник женщине, ждущей своего моряка on the left, meaning Sculpture Waiting. Monument to a woman waiting for her sailor. Very appropriate.

On the right, Alyosha, 35m concrete statue to commemorate Soviet fighters in WWII.

K-141 Kursk, an Oscar II-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine which sank in the Barents Sea on August 12th 2000 after a faulty Torpedo exploded during an exercise

The cabin is now a Memorial to seamen-submariners who died in peacetime

Lenin Atomic Icebreaker

At its launch in 1957 the icebreaker NS Lenin was both the world’s first nuclear-powered surface ship and the first nuclear-powered civilian vessel. It served from 1959 to 1987, now a museum.

On to Shoyna. It takes a long time to get dark here after not really getting light in the first place.

Crossing the Barents Sea, no ice, which is actually correct

Still no ice over the White Sea, there should be some along the shore at least

Approaching Koyda, cozy inside

I’m not showing pictures of the terrain here, it’s a mess. There is no real coverage this far North and the sim doesn’t know what to do. Here’s an example near Koyda

Messy terrain

The game also crashed twice between Koyda and Talagi. I’ve had crashes before in areas where data coverage is a mess.

Heading back South also means heading back into the bad weather

Talagi spotted, thanks for the runway lights!

Arkhangelsk also known in English as Archangel

It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina near its exit into the White Sea

Home to Pamyatnik V.i. Leninu (Monument to Lenin V.I.), giant statue

Monument “Cruiserweight British tank Mark V” and Northern Convoy Monument

Memorial to the participants of the Arctic Convoys. In remembrance of the arrival of the first allied Arctic Convoy, Operation Dervish, during World War II.

Another crazy landing at Karpogory with the help of the drone’s boosted exposure

Lining up according to Google maps with road lighting as references and the ‘runway’ shall appear

For take off in an iced up plane I backed up all the way to the end, almost in the bushes

I still barely made it out, de-icing option would be nice for take offs

A break in the weather while flying over the Loptiyuga River

Yemva on the Vym river, frozen over

The runway is buried under snow, I think I’m on it

Syktuvkar, the capital of the Komi Republic, Russia. It was previously known as Ust-Sysolsk

Syktuvar Southwest Airport, last stop for today

To Kazakstan tomorrow.

This is a region I have always wanted to check out and will be doing so eventually. I’ve been flying around Magadan lately and that’s a pretty unique area.

Very interesting to read. Thank you!

Nice! I’ll get to Eastern Russia in a few months, Russia covers 11 time zones! I’m roughly taking on the world one or two time zones at a time.

Leg 131, Syktyvkar, Russia via a bit of Kazakhstan to Orsk, Russia

DAY12_31.PLN (6.2 KB)

This will be the last flight at night for a long time, it’s time to switch my local flight schedule. I did see some of the sun today but it was long gone before the sun came up locally. I’m flying about 10 time zones away from where I live. Sunsetfor my destination today is 5:09 pm, GMT+5. I’m at GMT-5, thus in my time frame the sun sets at 7:09 am. The good news is, that the sun will be up at 11:10 PM my time, which will only get earlier since I’m still 51 degrees North. The days will get longer until June 21st and I’ll be heading further South as well.

12-31 Syktyvkar Southwest USYY 3:04 AM
12-31 Pobedilovo USKK 4:15 AM
12-31 Christopol UWKI 5:30 AM
12-31 Nurlat UNUU 5:51 AM
12-31 Novosyolki UNOM 6:10 AM
12-31 Podstepki UPOT 6:23 AM
12-31 Kurumoch UWWW 6:38 AM
12-31 Rozhdestveno Airfield UROZ 6:45 AM Runway?
12-31 Samara Kryazh Air Base USAB 6:50 AM
12-31 Uralsk UARR 7:35 AM
12-31 Orenburg AB UORE 8:26 AM Virtual vision landing
12-31 Orenburg UWOO 8:34 AM Runway lights
12-31 Airport URUA 9:12 AM Drone cam landing
12-31 Orsk UORS 9:28 AM
12-31 Gudron Airfield UORR 9:32 AM
12-31 Orsk UWOR 9:37 AM

Flight time 6:33 15 stops

Another cold start, with low hanging clouds. Only now and then offering a glimpse of the terrain below. Here while crossing Reka (River) Bystitsa

Much further along already between Pobedilovo and Christopol, Reka Vyatka

Christopol on the Kama river

I don’t know if it’s intentional that the river banks have no snow (water mask) but is realistic with the water level receding when it starts to freeze. A common site in my backyard, living on the Grand River (Southwestern Ontario) myself. (Although maybe not the scale as seen above)

Christopol is home to the Boris Pasternak museum

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (1890-1960) was a Russian Empire and Soviet poet, novelist, and literary translator. He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1958 and is the author of the well known Dr. Zhivago among other great literary works.

Dr.Zhivago 1965 movie by David Lean, starring Omar Sharif

One of the epic movies I need to watch again sometime, just like Lawrence of Arabia

Flying on towards Nurlat

The landscape below around Nurlat

I was quite into winter photography after I moved to Canada. Sunlight plus snow and ice creates magical scenes. I’ve damaged a couple expensive Canon lenses by taking them out in -20c weather.

How fast the climate changes. The river hardly freezes over anymore and no more local ice rink for the past couple years. It still gets cold, but only for a couple days until the weather swings around again, creating more of a mess instead of beautiful winter scenes. No more charcoal sounding snow chunks when kicked across the street. No more diamond like sparkling snow in the morning sun. Also no more crazy neighbor walking on the river (You never know where the weak spots are with flowing water underneath, do not ever walk on a frozen river)

Sorry, I’m rambling. Just looking at the boring brown mess outside, thinking back to 10 years ago

Filmed from my attic in Januari 2010. The eagles still come around at least :slight_smile:

Nurlat on the Kondurcha River, a bit less snow here

Icing seems to be getting less as well on the way to Novosyolki

Novosyolki is still covered under deep snow, the runway included

Nearby, Polygon Avtovaz Sosnovka just North-East of Tashelka

Several race tracks inside a huge banked loop for summer and winter fun

Sokskoye Kar’yeroupravleniye on the river Volga (Sokskoe Quarry)

Samara nearby, on the river Volga and river Samara

Stalin’s WWII bunker can be found here, now a subterranean museum

View of Samara with Ploshchad’ Slavy (Glory square) on the right

Also here, Iversky Womens monastery

On to Uralsk while the sun goes down (7 AM my time)

Crossing the Kazakhstan border

Approaching Uralsk. Sunsets last deliciously long up North

Uralsk, formerly known as Yaitsk, at the confluence of the Ural and Chagan rivers

As it is located on the western bank of the Ural river, it is considered geographically in Europe

On the way to Orenburg the sun disappears (Still dark locally)

Approaching Orenburg, waiting for the full moon to rise

Orenburg Airbase, max exposure

Moon rise over Orenburg

From 1938 to 1957, it bore the name Chkalov Oblast in honor of Valery Chkalov

Chkalov monument

Valery Pavlovich Chkalov (1904-1938) was a test pilot awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

In 1936 and 1937, he participated in several ultra long flights, including a 63-hour flight from Moscow, Soviet Union to Vancouver, Washington, United States via the North Pole in a Tupolev ANT-25 airplane (18–20 June 1937), a non-stop distance of 4,758 nautical miles. The flight pioneered the polar air route from Europe to the American Pacific Coast.

He was planning the world’s first non-stop flight around the planet before he died on 15 December 1938 while piloting a prototype of the Polikarpov I-180 fighter.

Flying on to Airport (ARUA), landing strip without a name

It’s between Burebay, Arkaim and Makan

Final stop today at Orsk on the Ural river

Which features a statue of Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) A Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, public and political figure, as well as folklorist and ethnographer whose literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature

A popular and successful last name. When I googled the name, Valentina Shevchenko (Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian professional mixed martial artist) and Andriy Shevchenko (Ukrainian former professional football player, former politician, and current football manager) popped up. It took a few tries to get a match to the statue.

Next time I’ll be flying in full sun again with the sunrise instead of sunsets.

It took me a while to realise but aren’t you also Sven from GT Planet? The dude who rather loves the Nurburgring? :grinning:

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Beautiful topic Sven, are you gonna do Western Hemisphere tour as well ? US+South América ?

Yep. I’m pretty taxed out gaming this week lol. I’m currently racing on the N24 in my Ghibli themed Lexus, while updating my route from last night in between races.

I also enjoyed Elite Dangerous at the time and did a tour of the Galaxy there


This tour is much longer though. It ‘only’ took 64 days to explore the Galaxy. Earth is a lot more varied!

Yes, eventually. After completing Asia and Oceania including the pacific islands and Hawaii. From South America I’ll see if I have any options to visit Antarctica as well. I might have to land on an airport that’s not (yet) listed in the game like at Svalbard. Anyway that’s all still months away.

I switched to flying in the evening and night, already feeling some jet lag lol. Shifting my routine 6 hours ahead, instead of getting up at 3 AM, going to bed at 5 AM.

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Leg 132, Orsk, Russia, via Kazakhstan to Kantubek, Vozrozhdeniya Island, Uzbekistan

DAY01_01.PLN (4.9 KB)

New year, new routine. Sunrises instead of sunsets for the next few months.

12-31 Orsk UWOR 10:30 PM
12-31 Martuk UAMT 10:56 PM
12-31 Aktyubinsk UATT 11:08 PM
12-31 Temir UATQ 11:31 PM
01-01 Gurvey Northeast UAAU 12:53 AM
01-01 Atyrau UATG 1:01 AM
01-01 Qaraton UAQT 1:32 AM
01-01 Buzachi UATU 2:10 AM
01-01 Aktau UATE 2:43 AM
01-01 Beyneu UABY 3:51 AM
01-01 Ostrov Vozrozhdeniya Southwest UTMY 4:54 AM
01-01 Ostrov Vozrozhdeniya UTMO 4:59 AM

Flight time 6:29 11 stops

Kazakhstan is lacking detail in many area in the sim. The country is also mostly flat, low population density, not all that much to see. Long distances between locations as well which came out rather well with the new years programs on. The Caspian sea continues to show cracks. Perhaps the different height levels are because the Sea is shrinking and coastal area have more recent height data than the middle.

Osk Departure half an hour before dawn

First flight is to Martuk

Cold, frigid morning with plenty ice fog in the air

Aktyubinsk (aka Aktobe) on the Ilek River

Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church with Nurgasyr Regional Central Mosque behind on the left

Abul Khair Khan monument on the right. Abul Khair Khan (1693–1748) was leader of the Kazakh Little jüz and helped the country against Dzungar forces.

Sunrise over Kazakhstan

The moon is still out as well

I can see the moon here locally as well, same moon, different position

Bayganin, I’m leaving the now behind

Near Makat, some kind mining, oil or gas I guess

Atyrau, known until 1991 as Guryev on the Ural river at the edge of the Caspian Sea

Atyrau is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling both sides of the Ural river

Flying over the Caspian Sea

It is only about 16 ft deep here and is estimated to fall dry in 75 years

Aktau on the Eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, formerly known as Shevchenko (until 1991)

The current name means White mountain, likely referring to the exposed cliffs

Finally some color in the landscape on the way to Beyneu

Near Shetpe

And close to Ondy

Arm of the Caspian Sea that has fallen dry already

Beyneu, oil town in Western Kazakhstan

The Aral Sea further East

Which is quickly disappearing after the Amu Darya river in the south and the Syr Darya river in the east were diverted from feeding the Aral Sea to irrigate the desert

Vozrozhdeniya Island, one of the deadliest places on Earth

Kantubek, ghost town since 1991 when it was quickly abandoned after the USSR collapsed

Until 1991 biological weapons tests were conducted here

Leg 133, Vozrozhdeniya Island, Uzbekistan, via Kazakhstan to Omsk, Russia

DAY01_02.PLN (4.5 KB)

Kazakhstan is big and mostly flat and empty. Not a whole lot to see from the air, not many places to visit either with 6 people per sq km. I still found one interesting place before heading back into Russia for a bit and the capital of Kazakhstan is awesome.

01-01 Ostrov Vozrozhdeniya UTMO 10:00 PM
01-01 Krainiy UATJ 10:56 PM
01-01 Zhosaly UAZO 11:10 PM Faded runway
01-02 Zhezkazgan UAKD 12:18 AM
01-02 50°01’19.23"N 66°59’28.88"E 1:01 AM CTD
CTD over snowy terrain, too long in drone camera? Cockpit was not rendering anymore, restart
01-02 Last known position 1:08 AM
01-02 Arkaylyk South UAAL 1:13 AM Unclear runway, not sure what I landed on
01-02 Arkalyk North UAUR 1:17 AM
01-02 Shortandy UASJ 2:06 AM Unclear runway, might be a road
01-02 Astana UACC 2:28 AM Nur-Sultan Capital
01-02 Maryanovka Airfield ULYY 3:49 AM
01-02 Tsentralny UNOO 4:02 AM
01-02 Omsk East Z25X 4:07 AM

Flight time 6:07 10 stops

This was about the most interesting sight for the first 2 hours

And some mining / drilling sites. Flat and brown is the running theme

Heading North-East the snow is starting to come back

A canyon below with an unnamed river, no info to be found

Bauxite mining around Arkalyk

Arkalyk, was the center of Torgay Region, which was abolished in 1997

Describes as a city of miners, however the bauxite mines are almost depleted

Historically Arkalyk was a center for the Soviet space program

Cosmonauts would land on the huge central Kazakh steppe and come back to Arkalyk before heading to the Baikonur

Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan on the Ishim river

Lots of amazing sights here, including the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, pyramid

Nur Astana Mosque on the right

The Sphere, museum of the future

Expo 2017 Astana

Khan Satyr Entertainment center, largest tent in the world

Baiterek tower on the right

Departing from Astana aiport, icy runways

Ice does have an effect, full throttle will make the plane slide with the parking brake on. It doesn’t do that on clear runways.

Low hanging clouds appear on the way to Maryanovka

Maryanovka below

Approaching Omsk, the cloud cover thickens with more snow on the ground

It’s still a bit odd that all the roads get snow first / longest

Omsk on the Irtysh river

Back in Russia

Railway monument on the Trans Siberian railway

9,289 kilometers long, from Moscow to Vladivostok, the longest railway-line in the world.

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Leg 134, Omsk, Russia, via Kazakhstan to Barnaul, Russia

DAY01_03.PLN (6.1 KB)

Last night’s flight was a magical winter wonderland tour. Lovely mountains with multiple layers of clouds in the low Northern sun. It was cold, -36F ground temperature!

01-02 Omsk East Z25X 9:25 PM
01-02 Tatarsk ZEG5 9:56 PM
01-02 Chany XNOR 10:12 PM
01-02 Kupino UKUP 10:26 PM
01-02 Slavgorod Severniy Air Base USLL 11:01 PM
01-02 Pavlodar UASP 11:27 PM
01-03 Kurchatov Airfield UAKC 12:07 AM Semipaltinsk, nuclear test site
01-03 Semipalatinsk UASS 12:46 AM
01-03 Ust-Kamenogorsk UASK 1:23 AM
01-03 Zubovsk UAMA 1:55 AM
01-03 Ust-Koksa UNBU 2:24 AM
01-03 Elekmona UNCX 3:07 AM Runway?
01-03 Gorno-Altaisk UNBG 3:15 AM
01-03 Biysk UNBI 3:30 AM
01-03 Lesnoy Airfield USAN 3:56 AM
01-03 Barnaul UNBB 4:05 AM

Flight time 6:40 15 stops

Cold early morning at Tatarsk, a little East from Omsk

On the way to Slavgorod, clouds appear on the horizon. They will be trouble later

Slavgorod Severniy Air Base in Altai Krai, Russia

Altai is a Russian republic in southern Siberia around the Altai Mountains

Reaching the clouds on the way to Pavlodar

The moon is getting smaller, still very visible

Pavlodar, Kazakhstan, along the Irtysh river. Note the ground temperature

At 3,000 ft it warms up to -18F

To Kurchatov, still some icing despite it being far below zero. Just on the windows though

Kurchatov, named after Soviet nuclear physicist Igor Kurchatov

The town was once the center of operations for the adjoining Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site

Lake Chagan, created by nuclear tests. Hard to find, eerie place in the fog.

Semipalatinsk test site

Landing in Semey, until 2007 known as Semipalatinsk and in 1917–1920 as Alash-kala

I decide to get above the cloud cover on the way to Ust-Kamenogorsk

Only a few small glimpses of the ground below

Until it cleared up close to Ust-Kamenogorsk

Magical winter scenes ensued

Breathtaking to fly through

Ust-Kamenogorsk, warming up, a balmy -25F / -32c

Cold weather makes beautiful scenes

Near Targusun

Zubovsk, ‘warmer’ up higher, still in the clouds, more icing as a result

On to Ust-Koksa

Near Marolovodka

Ust’-Koksa where the Kosa river joins the Katun river

Elekmona in a nice little valley further down the Katun river. Ice on the river!

Tough climbing out of the valley with all this ice on my plane

Gorno-Altaisk, a break in the clouds over the airpot

Leaving the mountains behind on the way North to Biysk

Biysk on the Biya river, not far from the confluence with the Katun river to then become the Ob river

Final stop today, Barnaul, Russia, along a partly frozen Ob river

Great job on the winter scenes Asobo, looks really good

Leg 135, Barnaul, Alta Krai to Kyzyl, Tuva Republic, Russia

DAY01_04.PLN (8.1 KB)

Awesome sunrise today, more winter wonderland before ending up in clouds from ground level to 12K ft or higher. There were still a few breaks in the clouds yet the mountains remained mostly invisible.

01-03 Barnaul UNBB 8:27 PM
01-03 Berdsk Airfield UBED 8:56 PM
01-03 ObGES Airfield UKRN 9:02 PM Runway?
01-03 Tolmachevo UNNT 9:10 PM
01-03 Novosibirsk North UNCC 9:16 PM
01-03 Mochische Airfield UMOC 9:22 PM
01-03 Kedrovka ZCT5 9:58 PM
01-03 Kemerovo Severny UKEM 10:07 PM
01-03 Kemerovo UNEE 10:12 PM
01-03 Prokopyevsk Southeast UNWW 10:42 PM
01-03 Sharypovo UNKO 11:26 PM
01-03 Nazarovo UNAZ 11:45 PM
01-04 Yemelyanovo UNKL 12:09 AM
01-04 Cheremshanka UNKM 12:12 AM
01-04 Solnechniy Airfield USOO 12:19 AM
01-04 Kuznetsovo Airfield UBER 12:29 AM Runway?
01-04 Novoselovo UBOA 1:09 AM
01-04 Anash UBOD 1:20 AM Runway??
01-04 Krasnoturansk UKRK 1:36 AM
01-04 Abakan UNAA 1:53 AM
01-04 Shushenskoye UNAU 2:07 AM
01-04 Kyzyl UNKY 3:12 AM

Flight time 6:45 21 stops

Starting early, already at Berdsk before dawn, where the Berd river flows into the Ob river

Novosibirsk, just North on the Ob river.

Sunrise on the way to Kedrovka

Kedrovka in between pink fluffy clouds

Kedrovka Airport, chilly foggy morning

Kamerovo on the frozen river Tom

Kamerovo Severny ‘Airport’ or rather frozen field

A proper airport on the South side of the city

On the way to Prokopyevsk, only an occasional glimpse of the terrain below

The snow covered ground seems to glow in the low Northern sun


Prokopyevsk, about as clear as it got today

Ust’-Naryk, a glimpse of the forest below

Belogorsk on the eastern spurs of the Kuznetsk Alatau mountain range

The large open pit mine at Belogorsk remains hidden

Crossing the Beresh river

Nazarovo airport, it’s getting darker

Krasnoyarsk on the Yenisei river in Siberia

Without the snow it would be really dark here, so cloudy

Winter and summer at Krasnoyarsk

Krasnoyarsk seems to be a very laid back city

Home to the Vasily Surikov Estate

Vasily Ivanovich Surikov (1848-1916) was a Russian Realist history painter. He is well known nowadays through the use of many of his works as illustrations.

A world traveler, illustrating what he sees along the way, I like him

I’ve actually seen his work before on this trip. In 1877 he was commissioned to paint murals for the Catherdral of ■■■■■■ the Savior in Moscow.

A glimpse of the Yenisei river, so wide I can’t even see both sides at the same time in this fog

Abakan, at the confluence of the Yenisei and Abakan Rivers

Two wide sprawling rivers, catching a glimpse of one of them

Gora Lyubvi, meaning Mountain of love

Memorial complex dedicated to the wars of different eras with great views of the city

ГАУК РХ Khakass National Museum of Local Lore named after LR Kyzlasov

Abakan also features a monument to Ivan Yarygan (1948-1997), the famous heavyweight freestyle wrestler

Golden Grand Prix Ivan Yarygin 2020, a United World Wrestling rankings freestyle wrestling international tournament, which was held in Krasnoyarsk between the 23rd and 26th of January 2020. A month before the pandemic shut everything down.

Mostly cloudy the rest of the way, couple breaks near Khrebet Baldyrgannyg mountain peak

The peak remains hidden, yet some snowy mountain tops were visible

Looking back to the mountains over the Turan river

Kyzyl, the capital of the Tuva Republic, Russia on the Yenisei river

The name means red or crimson in Tuvan

Kyzyl was previously known as Belotsarsk (until 1918), Khem-Beldyr (until 1926)

Some amazing art works on the river bank

Part of Obelisk Tsentr Azii

Marking the (once thought) geographical center of Asia

Hopefully the weather will be a bit better tomorrow (or rather today) to see a bit more of the mountains while heading into Mongolia on the way to Kyrgyzstan

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Leg 136, Kyzyl, Tuva Republic, Russia via Mongolia and Kazakhstan to Ürümqi, Xinjiang, China

DAY01_05.PLN (5.4 KB)

I made an unscheduled stop today. Frozen lake Kanas looked to inviting to pass up landing on it. It was broken up in the middle yet completely flat and solid more to the ends. Easy fun landing.

01-04 Kyzyl UNKY 8:10 PM
01-04 Ulaangom ZMUG 8:57 PM
01-04 Ulgii ZMUL 9:38 PM video
01-04 Khovd ZMKD 10:13 PM
01-04 Bulgan Sum ZMBS 11:02 PM
01-04 Altay Air Base ZAWW 11:59 PM
01-05 Kanas ZWKN 12:18 AM
CTD not long after departure, restart
01-05 Kanas ZWKN 12:30 AM
01-05 48°52’48.11"N 87°7’45.96"E 12:59 AM Landed on frozen lake Kanas
01-05 Zaysan UASE 1:47 AM
01-05 Karamay ZWKM 2:36 AM Water from Hinge reservoir 204 miles away
01-05 Shihezi Airfield ZSHI 3:05 AM
01-05 Wulumuqi Air Base ZYUS 3:23 AM
01-05 Diwopu ZWWW 3:30 AM
01-05 Urumqi South Air Base ZYAG 3:41 AM

Flight time 7:39 13 stops

Flying out at dawn over Tandy-Uula Ridge

The sunrise was blocked by distant clouds, over lake Uvs

Ulaangom, the capital of Uvs Province in Mongolia, located on the slopes of the Kharkhiraa mountain

They have some very cute cattle here

Harhiraa Uul mountain peak, 9,715 ft high

Quite the view in the early morning

Stunning place to visit

Ulgii, the capital of the Bayan-Ölgii Aimag of Mongolia

This area is home to the eagle hunters

Wide open terrain near Dund-Us, perfect for eagle hunting

Khovd on the Buyant river

Tradidtional Mongolian yurts in the background, aka Ger, portable, circular dwellings

Wide screen angle to get both sun and moon in the same shot

Munkhkhairkhan National Park

Near Bulgan Gol National Park, back over the plains

Qinghezhen, Qinggil County, Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang, China

Xi Lekaren, Ertix Hi river

Taiga Corridor feeding lake Kanas

Laka Kanas and Taiga Corridor in summer

Currently it looks more like this

Perfect surface to land on

Just make sure to lift off before the edge

Very nice place to visit

The canyon on the way out

Via Xinjiang Kanas National Geopark

Zaysan, Kazakhstan

A good look at how the game handles snow transitions

Karamay, a prefecture-level city in the north of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Jiulongton (九龙潭) water arriving in the city from the Hinge reservoir over 200 miles away

Jiulongton on the left, the end of a 200+ mile long aquaduct through the mountains

This city seems to be a tourist destination, featuring Word Devil City (世界魔鬼城) amusement park

Heiyoushan Park (黑油山公园) monument to the oil found here, right on the surface

Radical change in scenery over Dengjiaqucun, Shawan County

I imagine it’s not really that green there right now

Shihezi Airport, landing in icy fog

Ürümqi, or Urumchi, abbreviated Wushi, formerly known as Tihwa, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport

View of the city and Xinjiang Ancient Ecological Park on the right

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum, featuring the local history and culture

There is so much more to see of China, but I’m just nicking the North-West corner for now. Back West tomorrow to Kyrgyzstan.

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Leg 137, Ürümqi, Xinjiang, China, via Kazakhstan to Kazarman, Kyrgyzstan

DAY01_06.PLN (5.9 KB)

Some steep mountain flying in this leg. I’m very glad the Bonanza got the power boost last update, this leg would have been two legs without it. Awesome mountains in this region.

01-05 Urumqi South Air Base ZYAG 8:00 PM
01-05 Xinyuan Nalati ZWNL 9:04 PM
01-05 Yining ZWYN 9:37 PM Building at end of runway
01-05 Sarkand UASR 10:16 PM
01-05 Balkhash UAAH 11:26 PM
01-05 Cambala UASI 11:52 PM
01-06 Jeppesen Avia Club UABN 12:49 AM
01-06 Iliysk North UAKP 1:07 AM
01-06 Zhetygen UAKS 1:16 AM
01-06 Almaty UAAA 1:35 AM
01-06 Tyup UATY 2:15 AM
01-06 Karakol UCFP 2:24 AM
01-06 Tamga UAKA 2:48 AM
01-06 Naryn UANA 3:29 AM
01-06 Kazarman UAFZ 4:03 AM

Flight time 8:03 14 stops

Starting before dawn again, with a steep climb to 16,000 ft over Taipuqi Kewuzeng river

Topping out at 16,500 ft to get over the mountain range

The sun is starting to light up the mountain tops at Ke Erdala

Ka’er A’erhan Bulakesi river below

Kax river flowing out the mountains crossing the Duku Highway nearby

Near A Susayi over the Duku Highway (G217) crossing the Tianshan Mountains

Considered China’s most beautiful highway following the route of the Wusu Ancient Road

Over the Basile Gensayi river

Near Keqike Bulakesi

Near Dunmazhazhen, Ghulja, Ili, Xinjiang

Yining county, also transliterated from Uyghur as Gulja County, along the Ili river

Lake Sayram, high up in the mountains

Wenquan county, also transliterated from Mongolian as Arixang County, on the border with Kazakhstan

Flying into Sarkand district, Kazakhstan

Priozersk, closed city on lake Balkhash

It serves as the administrative center of Sary Shagan anti-ballistic missile testing site

Lake Balkhash, huge lake in South Western Kazakhstan.

Time flies, half the moon gone again already

The South East shore of lake Balkhash has forests

The Ile river delta provides plenty fertile ground

Jappesen Avia Club along the Ile river

Iliysk, Ile river canyon near Kapchagay

Chertov palets along the canyon and a view of the Kazakh steppe in bloom

Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis, set in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains

It served as the country’s capital until 1997 and remains Kazakhstan’s trading and cultural hub

Zenkov’s cathedral, wooden Ukrainian-baroque Russian Orthodox cathedral

Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan

You can walk through the museum in Google street view

Almaty Airport, ready to take on the next mountain range

Straight up the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains

Over Ile-Alatau National Park

Flying towards Pik Talgar, 16,335 ft, highest peak of the Trans-Ili Alatau

Shymbulak ski resort, with over 7 miles of trails, in the other direction

More of Pik Talgar

Spectacular crossing into Kyrgyzstan

Tuyup, Kyrgyzstan, on the East end of lake Issyk Kul, North side

The lake and Karakol’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, a little South of Tuyup

Tamga, about halfway along lake Issyk Kul

Across the next mountain range to Naryn

Khrebet Kuylyutau mountain peak in the distance, 17,326 ft

Kakshaal-Too ridge

Naryn river


Looking back on approach to Kazarman

Kazarman, village and capital of Toguz-Toro District, Jalal-Abad Region

One source says that “this poor dust-blown settlement in northern Jalal-Abad Region has something of the sinister reputation of a tough mining town down on its luck”

The Makmal open-pit gold mine just to the south no longer provides employment opportunities. The town is largely cut off in winter when the roads are closed by snow.

They have an airport at least! Further West tomorrow via the capital of Kyrgyzstan

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