Around the World Adventure–Flight Day 6

Note:  This is a fictional flying adventure using Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Any similarities to real world events, people and places is strictly for the purpose of the story.  While a trip like this might not be possible (or even a good idea) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I’m omitting this from this adventure.  At this time in all our lives, we need a little break from reality from time to time. 

Flight Day 6

To date our general flight routing has been with the goal of reaching South America.  All previous countries we’ve landed in or over-flown have been countries I’ve previously visited in the flight sim.  We’ve finally reached the portion of the trip where I’ve not (at least in the past 4-5 years) visited.  So today’s flight is taking a bit of a shortcut from Tocumen direct to Ecuador (bypassing Columbia).  Over the next few weeks the hope is to pickup all the remaining countries I need to visit to make South America 100%.  This plan also includes a flight down to Antarctica.  Once this has been achieved, we’ll turn and fly along the eastern coast as we make our way north towards the Caribbean.  While I’ve visited most of the Caribbean islands before, we’ll do a little island hopping to pickup the ones I’m missing and using that path as a shortcut to get back to Florida and the east coast of the US.

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Today’s flight is just under 500nm, but will be the first over open water as we’re taking a bit of a shortcut and flying direct from Panama City, Panama to Esmeraldas, Ecuador. 

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The Mooney Ovation has been performing flawlessly and is certainly up to the task.

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The Pacific Ocean is looking pretty calm, but keeping our eye on the clouds ahead of us. 

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As expected, had to climb above the clouds to avoid a small storm. 

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Runway ahead.  I think we’ll beat the rain. 

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On the ground in Ecuador.  As we’ve been pushing ourselves a bit hard over the past few days, we’re going to spend 2-3 days here exploring the area before proceeding towards Peru. 

Thanks for following along with my around the world adventure. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Around the World Adventure–Flight Day 5

Note:  This is a fictional flying adventure using Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Any similarities to real world events, people and places is strictly for the purpose of the story.  While a trip like this might not be possible (or even a good idea) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I’m omitting this from this adventure.  At this time in all our lives, we need a little break from reality from time to time. 

Flight Day 5

Once again it’s time to move on and continue our journey through Central America to South America where I hope to visit several countries I’ve not flown into in the past 5 years or so.  Below is a screenshot from the ProjectFly flight tracker indicating the countries I’ve visited in South America before I began this Around the World Adventure.  While the image is a bit dark, you can see I’ve previously visited Columbia, Venezuela, Caracaras, Guyana and Chile (shaded in gray).  Most of these flights were flown from the US out of either KDFW or KMIA with return flights back.  In other words, I tend to always fly from the last airport I’ve previously landed.

As previously discussed on an earlier blog post, I’ve visited 36% of the world.  While I could have just jumped around, I’ve always enjoyed flying with a purpose and that’s really what this adventure is all about.  Over the next few weeks the goal is to complete all of South America and also pickup Antarctica before heading north towards the Caribbean.  More about all this later.

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MSLP MROC MPSM MPTO

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On the ground at MSLP.  Should be a beautiful day to fly.

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Climbing to our cruise level as we fly along the western coast.

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Flying over mountains in central Costa Rica. 

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Flying over Panama City and preparing for our arrival at Tocumen Airport.   We will stay here overnight and head for Ecuador. 

Thanks for reading and following along with my progress as I fly around the world in a Mooney Ovation.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Around the World Adventure–Flight Day 4

Note:  This is a fictional flying adventure using Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Any similarities to real world events, people and places is strictly for the purpose of the story.  While a trip like this might not be possible (or even a good idea) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I’m omitting this from this adventure.  At this time in all our lives, we need a little break from reality from time to time. 

Flight Day 4

We spent a few days exploring the Veracruz area including some much needed “beach” time.  I must admit the mid to upper 70’s temps in January compared to the snow and cold of Denver has been a nice break.  Of course the further we travel south on this portion of our journey will continue to be warm, perhaps even hot since we’ll be entering summer once we cross the equator. 

Over the next several weeks, our general direction of flight will be generally south as we fly along Central America into South America.  We’ll fly along the western side of South America exploring Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.  Our routing will take me to places which I haven’t flown to in many years. 

I’ve been using the ProjectFly app to track my flights for many years.  There is a Passport feature which tracks the countries you visit.  At present I’ve only visited 35% of the world’s countries and this Around the World Adventure is to help me add to this.  Will I reach 100% before this adventure is complete?  Well…that is certainly my goal and one of the reasons we’re headed to the southern tip of South America as I do plan (weather permitting) to fly from the southern tip of Argentina (SAWH) to Teniente R. Marsh airport in Antarctica.  This would be a 530nmi flight over open ocean.  But it’s about the only chance I will get to fly to this part of the world.

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It was hard to pry ourselves away from the little beach side cabana.  But as the weather is changing, it’s time for us to move along. 

Our next flight will take us from Mexico down to El Salvador by way of Tapachula. It’s a longer flight leg, but as I had mentioned in a previous update, we agreed after a few days of R&R on the beach that we would make it up with a few longer flight legs.

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Refueling in the rain.  This is one of those moments where I wished I had done this when we landed a few days ago in the sunshine.

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Lining up on runway 01

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Climbing out

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Making our turn to head direct to MMTP.

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Smooth air above the clouds.

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Making our turn over Tapachula (MMTP).

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On the ground and another flight day is complete.  We will stay here for a day and then depart for Tocumen Airport in Panama City, Panama.  Thanks for reading.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Around the World Adventure–Day 3

Note:  This is a fictional flying adventure using Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Any similarities to real world events, people and places is strictly for the purpose of the story.  While a trip like this might not be possible (or even a good idea) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I’m omitting this from this adventure.  At this time in all our lives, we need a little break from reality from time to time. 

Day 3

Our third day will be another full day of flying.  We’ve decided to spend New Year’s Eve in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico.  While we could push deeper into Mexico, we figured we would have a shorter day today and make up for it in the next few legs and try to be in South America sometime next week.  Plus who doesn’t want to spend New Year’s Day lounging on a beach!

KBRO MMTM MMVR

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Lined up and ready to take-off at KBRO.

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The Rio Grande and US border between Texas and Mexico.  We’ll be back in the USA in a few weeks or perhaps a month or two.  Really don’t know.  We’re just going to take things day by day.  But do have plans to reach the southern tip of South America before we turn north and head back this direction. 

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Flying along the eastern coast of Mexico.

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On short final for runway 01 at MMVR Veracruz, Mexico. 

We’re off to the beach hotel for a few days of fun & sun before proceeding on our trip.  We’ve had a long few days of flying and need a break. 

Thanks for following along.  At the present time, we’ve flown 1,481 nmi, in just short of 10 hours of flying time.  You can track my individual flight logs here

Until next time….Hasta la vista from Mexico!

Jerry

Around the World Adventure–Day 2

Note:  This is a fictional flying adventure using Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Any similarities to real world events, people and places is strictly for the purpose of the story.  While a trip like this might not be possible (or even a good idea) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I’m omitting this from this adventure.  At this time in all our lives, we need a little break from reality from time to time. 

Day 2

While our trip is mostly self-funded, we have been sponsored by the Mooney International Corporation.  Our day two trip will include a short hop from Georgetown over to Kerrville (KERV) for a photo op and some handshaking and well wishes.  The Mooney International Corporation is based at the Kerrville airport.  There have been many (including my Mooney Ovation) produced at the Kerrville facility.  We’ll then proceed southeast to Brownsville where we’ll spend the last night in the US for several weeks. 

KGTU T82 KERV (FS) CVB PEZ IKG BKS T05 PIL KBRO

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We arrived back to the Georgetown Municipal airport in the early afternoon.  Temps were in the mid 60’s with light rain falling. 

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Loading up our bags and getting ready for the first leg of two today.

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Performing our pre-flight checks.

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As we taxi to the active runway, we noticed the double rainbow.

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Climbing out over the clouds over Central Texas. 

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Descending into the Kerrville area. 

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Parked in front of the Mooney International Corporation at KERV.  We met with the CEO and many Mooney employees.  We received one of those big cardboard checks (which we left behind) and the best wishes for a successful trip around the world from the Mooney company.  They consider this a great publicity event for their company showcasing the endurance of their aircraft. 

We spent an hour on the ground in Kerrville, had a nice early afternoon snack and prepared to head further south to Brownsville.  Our second leg should take us less than two hours and we’ll be in Brownsville before dark. 

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Flying over South Padre Island near Brownsville.

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On final approach into KBRO. 

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On the ground in Brownsville, Texas.  Headed to the hotel and we’ll return tomorrow for our third day of flying fun. 

Thanks for reading. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Around the World Adventure–Day 1

Note:  This is a fictional flying adventure using Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Any similarities to real world events, people and places is strictly for the purpose of the story.  While a trip like this might not be possible (or even a good idea) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I’m omitting this from this adventure.  At this time in all our lives, we need a little break from reality from time to time. 

The day has finally arrived to embark on what I hope will be a fun adventure as I fly my single engine Mooney M20R Ovation around the world.  I’ve been busy the past several weeks planning, packing and even more planning for what will be a long, but hopefully fun experience.  While I certainly have the “Big Picture” concept of this entire journey planned out, at this extremely early stage of the journey, it’s difficult to say exactly where we’ll be this time next month, in six months etc.  The best I can truly do is plan out a few days at a time and hope the weather allows for safe travel conditions. 

My wife and I spent a nice, quiet Christmas together completing a few last minute projects in our home.  Our friends will be looking after the place while we’re away.  Our original plan was to leave on Monday, 28 December and spend a few days with family in Texas, then perhaps spend New Year’s Eve in Mexico.  However, Mother Nature had other plans for us and decided to bring about a late White Christmas.  So being the flexible travelers we are, we are delaying the start of the trip until after the snow storm and will spend New Years Eve in Texas with family.

The Aircraft

I purchased the 95’ Mooney M20R Ovation (reg. N542JS) six months ago from a friend.  It’s in near mint condition for a 25 year old aircraft and will be perfect for our journey.  The M20R features a slightly longer fuselage than earlier models and while it’s still a four seat aircraft, the extra length will allow for more cargo capacity.  In other words, more room for all the things my wife couldn’t leave behind.  Smile

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My wife and I have flown several endurance flights to best determine just how many hours at one time we can fly.  Unlike a road trip in a car where you can quickly and easily pull into the next town, the next gas station for a bio break….this can’t be done as easily when flying cross country.  So over the summer we took a few trips and determined four hours is the max.  Under most conditions we should be able to keep our flight legs under four hours, with some perhaps exceeding this but that should be the exception and not the rule. 

Day 1

The day has finally arrived.  The snow storm was pretty much a non-event, so we decided to embark on our trip on Tuesday, 29 December.  We arrived at Centennial Airport (KAPA) just before 9 AM and loaded the last minute items into the Mooney.  We also needed to clear the ice and snow off the aircraft.

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Our flight route from KAPA to KGTU.  KAPA LAA DHT KAMA (FS) LBB SWW BMQ KGTU

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With the aircraft fueled and ready to go, we departed KAPA enroute to Amarillo, Texas (KAMA) by way of the LAA and DHT VOR’s. 

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Holding short runway 17L KAPA

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Departing the south Denver area.

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Goodbye Denver, see you soon.

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Passing the LAA (Lamar, CO) VOR and turning south to intercept the DHT (Dalhart, TX) VOR.

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On the ground in a wet and cold Amarillo.  We’ll refuel and have lunch before continuing our trip to Georgetown.

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With some hot food in our bellies, we taxied out to runway 13.

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The weather was quickly changing in Amarillo with freezing temperatures expected soon.  We’re leaving just in the nick of time. 

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Heading south towards the LBB (Lubbock, TX) VOR.

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Above the clouds and in smooth air.  Next stop Georgetown.

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Breaking through the clouds as we approach Georgetown.

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North Fork of the San Gabriel River.

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Gear Down!  Flying over Sun City on approach to runway 11 at KGTU.

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Final approach for runway 11.

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On the ground at Georgetown Municipal Airport.  Total flying time today was 4 hours, 22 minutes with one stop.  Not a bad first day.  We’ll tie the aircraft down here and spend the night with my dad and most of tomorrow.  As we’re slightly ahead of schedule, I believe we’ll be able to spend New Year’s Eve in Mexico after all. 

Check back in on my progress as I fly around the world in a Mooney Ovation.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

An Around the World Adventure

Just a little over 10 years ago, I successfully completed an around the world adventure using a Mooney Bravo in FSX.  I departed KAPA (my local GA airport in Centennial, Colorado) on 30 September 2010 and arrived back at the same airport on 19 November of the same year.  That route took me northeast through Canada over to Greenland etc.  you can view this 2010 route here

The goal for that trip was simply to circumvent the globe the best way possible and in the shortest amount of time.  As a matter of fact, my total flying time for that trip was just over 200 hours.  It was a lot of fun and with the release of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, I believe it’s time to do it again.  But this time I’m adding a bit more realism.  My goal will obviously be to fly around the world, but this adventure will be more than just that.  I plan to visit as many countries/continents as possible.  

Weather permitting, this adventure will start in the next few days.  I say weather permitting because I plan to fly each leg using real world weather.  If the weather isn’t suitable for VFR conditions, then I just won’t fly.  Having said this, I don’t believe it would be practical to fly northeast or northwest at this time.  So I plan to fly southeast from Colorado and spend the next several weeks exploring Central and South America.  As we get closer to spring in the northern hemisphere, I’ll then turn and head back north to the US and time my crossing from Canada to Greenland, Iceland etc.

How Long Will This Take?

The short answer, it will take as long as it takes.  I’m fairly certain this trip will take much, much longer than my 2010 trip.  Actually, perhaps my first goal is to be back in Colorado by the end of 2021.  This will allow me an entire year and will prevent me from burning out by doing the same thing day in, day out.

The Aircraft of Choice

Much like my 2010 adventure, I’m also going to be flying the Mooney M20R Ovation.  I picked up the Carenado M20R during the Christmas sale and while it pretty much handles like any of the other default aircraft, it’s an enjoyable aircraft to fly.  Plus with a 25,000 service ceiling, cruise speed of 242 knots and range of 1,100 nmi it’s the perfect single engine aircraft for this adventure.

Flight Tracking

While I don’t plan to blog about each and every leg of this trip, I will update a flight log and map after each leg so you can follow along with my progress.  Every few legs I may write up a blog post discussing the adventure and providing a few screen shots to highlight the trip. 

Rules

We don’t need no stinkin rules!  LOL  Ok, there are a few rules I’ve established for this trip.  First, I will be flying all legs in real time (no time compression) and real weather conditions.  I will adjust the time of day in the simulator when required.  I do plan to fly mostly during daytime hours.  After all, MSFS truly has stunning visuals and we’ll want to see all we can as we explore our wonderful world. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about this adventure as much as I will have flying it. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Flight Days Five and Six

Continuing our southerly path towards Cape Town, days five and six were pretty much uneventful.  I departed N’Dola airport in the city of Kinshasa, DRC for Huambo, Angola and the Albano Machado airport (FNHU).  The town of Huambo sits at an elevation of 5,584 feet. 

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Lined up on the active at FZAB.  Slightly improved weather conditions from yesterday.

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I love these shots looking back. FZAB in the background.

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On the ground at the Albano Machado Airport (FNHU) in Huambo, Angola for a fuel/food stop.

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Back in the air after a brief fuel stop.  We’ll make Windhoek Airport in Windhoek, Namibia by nightfall. 

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On final for the second time into Windhoek FYWE. Had to go around due to aircraft on the runway.  We’ll spend the night here and resume our journey towards Cape Town, South Africa tomorrow (day six).

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Day Six begins late morning as we depart Windhoek, Namibia for Cape Town, South Africa. 

It’s been an amazing week of flying through Africa.  To break things up just a bit, I’m going to place the King Air in storage at the Cape Town airport while my wealthy passengers spend a few weeks vacationing in Cape Town.  I’ve warned them about the great white sharks and will catch a flight from Cape Town back to London to run some “big iron” flights in and around Europe.  I’ll resume my adventure in a few weeks.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

JT

Flight Days Three and Four

This update will serve as the update for day three and four as our journey continues into Africa.  Day three began in Niamey, Niger (DRRN) under clear skies.  The decision was made to push on to the coastal city of Douala, Cameroon (FKKD) which is a three hour journey from Niamey. 

The weather was clear and warm (actually hot) in Niamey.  We fueled and prepared to taxi to the active runway. 

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Taxi from the fuel station to the active runway at DRRN.

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Our departure clearance was granted quickly and we were airborne and turning towards the south enroute to Douala.

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As our route carried us closer to the coast, thick dark clouds began to develop with reports of strong turbulence between 15,000 and 18,000.  I descended below 12,000 and continued to make my way towards Douala.  

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At about 10 miles out, we had one more storm cell to route ourselves around.  This extended our flight time by about 15 minutes, but would ensure a safe arrival.

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As we crossed the river we were instructed to follow the King Air ahead of us.  We resumed our position as number two and made it safely to the ground. 

On Friday morning I double-checked weather conditions and discovered we would need to carefully plot our departure out of Douala much the way we approached.  The coastal storms were back.  We departed Douala for Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (FZAB).

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Departing runway 30 in Douala, Cameroon.
Note the addition of the winglets for the Carenado B200 King Air.

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Circling the Douala airport for a patch of clear sky.

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Headed for smooth air and clear skies as we fly in-land from the Gulf of Guinea.  Our journey today will carry us south of the Equator for the first time on our long journey.

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Just managed to land and taxi off the active before the clouds opened up.

I did experience a CTD (Crash to Desktop) on this flight, but thankfully FSUIPC and the “save” feature helped me get back on track.  I did in fact learn something about a resolution to this CTD and will write about the solution soon.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

JT

Casablanca to Timbuktu and Beyond

In over 25 years of flight simming, my only time to fly in or around Africa was in 2010 when I flew along the northern coast of Algeria and briefly in Libya before heading across the Mediterranean Sea towards Palermo, then on to Athens.  This adventure is allowing me to journey into the deepest portions of Africa and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to fly to Timbuktu.

My rich passenger travelers are tired from shopping and sightseeing around Casablanca.  We depart Casablanca early as we’ll travel most all day in order to reach Timbuktu.  However, I was given strict instructions to limit the flight segments to under 3 hours as best as possible.  I plotted the second travel day to depart Casablanca (GMMN) to Tindouf, Algeria (DAOF).  We’ll refuel, stretch the legs, grab lunch and then it’s off to Timbuktu, Mali (GATB).

I did learn what I needed to know about the flight characteristics of the King Air 200.  Under normal weather conditions, I have a range of just slightly over 1200 miles when fully loaded with 548 gallons of fuel (3671 lbs.).  The King Air 200 is also speedy in comparison to the single engine Mooney I used last time.  My passengers also enjoy all the amenities they expect including full drink and refreshment center (with flight attendant) and that fully enclosed aft lavatory.

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Bright and early in Casablanca.  Time to load’em up and move’em out.

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Ready to go 35R GMMN

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A little bumpy on the climb from Casablanca. 

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The western Sahara

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On final to Tindouf, Algeria DAOF

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Not much here but tarmac.  Topping off the fuel tanks and back in the air.  Thankfully we have that on-board enclosed lavatory.  Smile

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Climbing out over the western Sahara enroute to Timbuktu.

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On final into Timbuktu.

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On the ground at Timbuktu.  The rich family wants to push on to Niamey, Niger (DRRN).  After re-fueling we resume our trip.

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Departing Timbuktu and turning south towards Niamey.  The Beechcraft King Air 200 is getting a workout today.

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On final approach into Niamey (DRRN).

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On the ground, parked and engines off at Niamey, Niger.  

We are 2620 nm into our journey.  Our route will continue soon carrying us further south into Africa towards Kinshasa, DRC with planned fuel stops at Kaduna, Nigeria (DNKA) and Doula, Cameroon (FKKD).  I’ve also plotted my course to Cape Town.  I’ll have the Beechcraft checked out fully before resuming the journey.  From Cape Town our course will carry us up the eastern coast of South Africa, across to Madagascar. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

JT

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