Around the World – Update 7

My position as of this posting is WAMM (Manado, Indonesia)
I’ve traveled a total of 27,709 nm
I’ve burned a total of 2,448 gallons of fuel
I’ve flown a total of 152.25 hours
My next destination is Philippines

The day begins with what hopefully will be a long day of island hopping from the Australian mainland to New Zealand.  Getting from Australia to New Zealand in one leg is just not doable in my Mooney as the distance is over 1000 nm.  At first glance I really didn’t think it was doable until I began looking into the islands which are located just to the west and north of New Zealand.

The comfortable range in my Carenado Mooney is approx. 6oo nm.  With a good strong tail-wind I can stretch that, but it starts to get outside my comfort level.  When flying over populated areas in Europe I did push this as I had many backup locations to land to refuel.  But flying across open water, especially shark infested waters, I’m not willing to take those chances.  :-)

Thankfully, there are two islands which are heavily used in the real-world for smaller GA aircraft to fly between Australia and New Zealand.  The first is Lord Howe Island and YLHI airport.  The airport is 462 nm from Sydney and will be the first leg.  From YLHI, it is still over 700 nm to NZ.  So I will depart YLHI and head northeast to Norfolk Island and YSNF.  This leg is approx. 486 nm and will position me for a third leg of 460 nm to NZKT and the northern most airport in New Zealand, Kaitaia Airport.

This trip has been so much fun.  As I’ve stated before, I’m really not sure what I enjoy the most….the flying or the planning.  Perhaps the answer is equal parts of both.   As I mentioned in my introduction blog post about my plans to complete an around the world flight, for much of my simming time in the past 10-12 years, it has been done in jets.   Flying fast and high, you see the flight sim world differently. 

Now there is nothing wrong with flying heavy jets.  I’m looking forward to when I return home and can resume flying some of my favs including the Boeing 747, 777, MD-80 and Fokker 100.  But I love flying low and slow and plan to intermix the two a lot more than I have in the past.  Until then I will continue my Around the World Adventure and continue sharing my updates with those of you who read my blog.

On final into Lord Howe Island Airport

Final approach into Norfolk Island.

On final into Kaitaia, New Zealand. A long day of island hopping comes to an end.

Today was a long day of flying covering over 1400 nm in a little over 9 hours.  It was great to do the two island hops to get from Australia to New Zealand.  I will spend a few days flying south down through New Zealand.  I’m looking forward to it.

Well the journey continues.  The next few flying segments will take me down through New Zealand.  I departed NZKT and headed for Wellington (NZWN).  This is the 45th leg of my around the world journey.  From Wellington I flew down to Wanaka and NZWF.  I decided to visit Wanaka from some screenshots I saw of the airport on The Flight Simulator Network.  I will depart Wanaka and head back north to the north coast of New Zealand and begin another series of island hopping flight legs.  I will re-visit Norfolk Island and then continue heading north hopping from one island to another up to Papua New Guinea.

The day of more island hopping has arrived.  I departed NZWR in Whangarei, New Zealand for Norfolk Island Airport YSNF.  Of the almost 50 flight legs completed and an approx. 20 or so to go, YSNF will be the only airport I will have visited twice in my trip (other than my home airport of KAPA).  Unfortunately there’s just no other way.

After re-fueling and grabbing a bite to eat, I departed Norfolk Island for a new destination of Noumea, on New Caledonia NWWW.  The island has a rich history which includes Captain Cookand much more.  I’ve really enjoyed reading about all the destinations I’ve visited along the way and sharing as much as possible with each of you.

As my journey begins to wind down, I’m already thinking about the next Around the World flight I want to do.  What I’m thinking about now is doing a flight that somewhat traces the coastline of all the continents.  As an example, I would depart the west coast of the US and fly south into South America, then down to Antarctica and back up the east coast of South America and up to some island hopping across the Caribbean then up along the eastern seaboard of the US etc.  The adventure would take me along some of the same destinations as this adventure, but also many others. 

The decisions that lay in front of me for this new adventure is when and what type of aircraft.  No decisions have been made but I am leaning towards upgrading the Mooney for a twin engine prop model. 

Continuing on my journey today of island hopping through the south pacific, I departed NWWW for NVVV and Port Vila, Vanuatu.  This was a shorter leg compared to the previous two for today but designed to position me for a long first leg tomorrow to fly up to Guadalcanal Island.

As today begins it also marks one month of my journey.  I departed KAPA on September 30 and hopefully today I’ll make it to Papua New Guinea.  It’s been a tough “up hill” climb from southern New Zealand and I’m very close to the equator.  Unfortunately the “up hill” climb will continue, but I’m having so much fun.

I departed early Saturday morning from Port Vila headed on a long leg to Honiara International Airport, AGGH on Guadalcanal Island.  Guadalcanal is also rich in history and played an important role in WWII.  After grabbing lunch and re-fueling the Mooney, I departed AGGH for WGL in Wanigela, Papua New Guinea.  WGL is located on the southeastern coast of PNG and is a small grass strip.  I will stop for the night here and resume my flight up through the heart of PNG tomorrow.

The day started bright and early.  The weather is just simply gorgeous today.  The past few days I’ve had thick cloud cover with a ceiling of 5,000 – 6,000 feet and cloud tops extending through 8 and 9K.  But today the clouds (what little there are) are light and visibility is great.  My journey today will take me up through the heart of Papua New Guinea.  I installed the PNG mesh scenery for FSX from OZx.  This is beautiful freeware scenery for this region and I’m enjoying flying over it. 

I departed WGL for AYMH located in Mount Hagen, PNG.  Much of my journey for today will be in a northwest direction up through PNG towards Borneo then turning north to the Philippines.  While I haven’t set many goals for this trip, I would like to be north of the equator by the end of today.   While I’ve enjoyed the virtual spring like weather of flying south of the equator, I’m ready to return back to fall conditions.

AYMH was a little more tricky than most airports I’ve visited along the trip.  Like Kathmandu, it also reminded me of some of the airports in the Rocky Mountains.  The airport is at an altitude of 5361 with peaks around it topping out around 8,500 or so.  I was pleased the visibility was clear.  I fueled and quickly departed.  I needed to circle the airfield a few times while gaining altitude to be sure I’d clear the mountains to the northwest.  This put me en route to WABI in Nabire, Indonesia.  Taking on fuel, I departed for WAMM in Manado, Indonesia.  I’m officially north of the equator.  Yea!!!

I plan to take a few days off from flying.  When I resume, I’ll depart WAMM and head north to the Philippines, Taiwan then mainland China.  I’m easily on track to complete this journey prior to the end of November (perhaps even prior to mid-November).  I’m well over 75% complete.

Until next time,


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