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

Around the World – Update 1

Just taking a few minutes to update everyone on my around the world adventure.  I plan to provide updates every four to six legs.  Here is my first update.   Please read this post to get the general idea of why I’m doing an around the world flight and how I’m accomplishing it. 

My position as of this posting is BGKK (Kulusuk, Greenland)
I’ve traveled a total of 3264 nm
I’ve burned a total of 325 gallons of fuel
I’ve flown a total of 18.75 hours
My next destination is BIRK (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Day One – Leg 1-2

I began the first of what will probably be many flight legs on 30 September 2010.  As discussed inthis post, I have no expectations on how long this trip will take.   I can tell you based on day one experience, I can cover a little over 1500 nm’s in a little over 8 hours.  But keep in mind that this is includes one fuel stop.  While I believe I covered a lot of ground on day one, I have much, much more ground and water to cover in the coming days, weeks and months. 

While I state I have no expectation regarding the amount of time this journey will take me, I do plan to be in Greenland at the end of the 5th leg and in Iceland at the end of the 7th leg.  This is as far as I’ve planned out at this point.  From Iceland I have many options.  I can drop down into the United Kingdom or slide over into the Nordics.  Right now I’m leaning toward coming down into the UK, enter Europe and drop down through Spain into Africa.  But like I said, I haven’t really planned much past Iceland.

I departed KAPA (Centennial, Colorado USA) on Thursday, 30 September 2010.  I knew I wanted to travel in an easterly direction and plotted a course that would take me up into northeastern Canada.  I planned to spend the first night somewhere deep inside Canadian territory.

Not having much previous experience in the Mooney Bravo(other than casual flying around) I wanted to make sure the published range was fairly accurate.  So I set a first leg for St. Paul, MN (KSTP).  This first leg would be a short stint at just 632 nm.

Departing runway 35 at KAPA. When will I see this airport again?

Just a minute or two into the air. My real world home is located just to the left of the lake in the background.

The flight to KSTP (St. Paul, MN) was uneventful.  The weather today all along the trip was perfect flying weather.  I encountered a lot of cloud cover as I approached Waskaganish, Quebec (CYKQ).  The runway at CYKQ is gravel, but very well maintained.  There was even a small amount of traffic around the airfield as I was approaching.  I would be calling it a night here and getting some much needed rest so I can continue on my journey soon (hopefully tomorrow).

Short Final into CYKQ to complete the second leg of a multi-leg journey

On the ground and parked at CYKQ. I’m thankful they have a nice security fence to protect my Mooney tonight.

Day Two – Leg 3-6

Day two began early reviewing weather forecasts with a good cup of coffee.  The goal today is to continue flying northeast through Quebec, Canada headed for a crossing over to Nuuk, Greenland.  I’m approaching the next half-dozen flight legs with a little bit of urgency.  While we’re just easing into fall, the weather this far north could be unpredictable at best.

The Mooney Bravo handles beautifully.  I estimate I have a dozen or more hours in this aircraft prior to starting this journey.  I’ve flown the Mooney around the rockies to airports like KASE(Aspen, CO) and KEGE(Eagle County).  Each time I was impressed with the power and maneuverability of this fine aircraft.   She is performing just great on this trip.  But enough about all this…let’s get going.

As I said the day began early.  well before sunrise as much needed planning needed to be done to determine the days activities.  I left a mild, Denver yesterday with day time highs in the mid to upper 70’s.  This morning in Waskaganish it was cold….really cold with a morning temp near freezing.  As I looked over weather reports for the route ahead, I did take a minute to watch Ten Minute Taxi.  I really love this show on Youtube.  Check out Shane’s recent episode by visiting the Ten Minute Taxi page here.  You can thank me later.

Dawn at CYKQ to begin day two.

Armed with the critical information I needed, it was time to head out to the airport.  My Mooney was just where I left it.  I settled up and paid for the overnight parking and fuel.  If all goes as planned today I’ll be making a hard effort to complete at least two flight legs today.  If I’m lucky, I’ll make three.

Today’s first leg (the 3rd leg of the journey) will be from CYKQ (Waskaganish, Quebec) to CYVP(Kuujjuaq, Quebec).  It’s a short leg of just over 550 nm, but I didn’t want to take any chances on fuel.  So the plan is to land in CYVP, refuel then depart for CYFB (Iqaluit).  Once refueled and a quick check of the weather a decision will need to be made if I push on to BGGH (Nuuk, Greenland).

Ready to go at CYKQ

Heavy cloud cover between CYKQ and CYVP. Nice tail number huh?

Lined up runway 07 at CYVP

The Mooney being serviced at CYVP for her next leg to CYFB. Are we there yet?

Making great time and the weather has been great.  It’s cold….but that’s OK.  If the schedule continues this smooth I’ll spend the night tonight on the west coast of Greenland.

On final approach runway 35 at CYFB. Is that snow I see to the right?

Once on the ground at CYFB (Iqaluit, Quebec).  I will take some time to have lunch, re-fuel and research weather conditions.  I’m making great time today and plan to make the crossing over from Canada to Greenland this evening.  

Make note of the screenshot below.  I use MyTraffic X with FSX and it does a wonderful job depicting the aircraft one might see at the various airports.  You won’t see the generic AI flying around or find aircraft here you wouldn’t see.  The “First Air” aircraft you see would be found here at Iqaluit and it is even mentioned here on the wiki page.   As Real As It Gets!

Taxing to parking at CYFB. MyTraffic X does a good job representing the aircraft you would see at this airport.

I departed CYFB after having a bite to eat and getting the Mooney fueled up.  This next leg will take me due east across the Labrador Sea to the small town of Nuuk, Greenland.  I say small town, however, it is the capital of Greenland and over 15,000 residents call it home. 

Heading east from CYFB. The Canadian Coastline is in view. This course will take me across the Labrador Sea over to Nuuk, Greenland.

The Labrador Sea crossing is perhaps the largest body of water I will encounter (at least in one go) for a while.  The next major ocean crossing will occur soon when I depart the east coast of Greenland for Iceland.  Then again from Iceland southeast to the Faroe Islands just before either dropping south to the United Kingdom or continuing east to the Nordics.  I just haven’t decided as of yet.  But I will say that I’m leaning towards touring through the Nordics.  But hey….I need to get to the Faroe Islands first.

Finally the west coast of Greenland is in sight. Now that I’m officially out of North America I feel like I’m making progress.

As the caption above states, runway 23 at BGGH was listed at 3110 feet.  The end of the runway came much quicker than expected.  But I managed to stop and all is good.  Perhaps it is just a perception that it was really short.  Anyway…it’s great to be on the ground in Greenland.  I grapped a snack, serviced the Mooney and decided today would be a great day to head to the east coast of Greenland.  I’ll call it a rather long day, but a good day over in Kulusuk, Greenland.  I departed BGGH and am headed to BGKK

Awesome moon scape as I fly across the tip of Greenland.

Most of this crossing was in the dark as it gets dark much earlier this far north.  But I’m anxious to get across this portion of the globe and get into Europe.  I plan to visit countries and regions that I’ve never explored in flight simulation and re-explore some old favorites.  The more I look at both the progress I’ve made and all the places I plan to explore, I realize this truly will be a long, long journey.

But the bottom line is this.  As of this posting I’ve flown a total over 3000 nm and spent over 18 hours doing so.  I’ve learned a ton about VFR flying and have really enjoyed the first half-dozen legs.  I’ve also learned a lot about the airports and towns I’ve visited.  I believe we should all learn more about the places, things and especially the people we share this planet with.  Who knows….if we all did this we might all get a long a little better.

Until next time,

JT

Around The World – 2010

I believe most all flight sim pilots attempt at least one around the world adventure in their sim career.  I’ve attempted it several times and have completed it just as many.  However, I’ll admit my successful attempts were either not very consistent (using multiple types of aircraft) and in each successful attempt, the adventure was completed in less than 4-6 legs.  Meaning in most cases I used a long-range jet like a B747 or B777.  In each case, the adventure was fun and I saw a lot of the FS world in doing so.   Before I move on, let me just say that any computer pilot who decides to attempt an around the world adventure, there is no right or wrong way of doing it.  Do it based on how you want to do it.  I guarantee it will be fun and you’ll learn a lot in the process.

For me and my attempt in 2010, I want to do things completely different from my past attempts.  First, I don’t plan to use any jet aircraft.  I also plan to select one aircraft type and stick with it.  After all, if you were trying to accomplish this in real life you would fly one aircraft and only one aircraft.

The way I see this is as follows.  First you need to determine what type of aircraft you will fly and second you will need to determine your route.   Of course there is a little more to it.  Actually, the most important element is to determine your ocean crossing points.  This is what I believe dictates both route and aircraft type.  It’s easy to cross from Asia into North America, but a little more planning, luck and judgement will need to be used to get from North America into Europe.  But it is doable.

The one absolute in all this is I have no expectation on time of completion.  I’m not going to set a length of time goal for this adventure.   I believe this is where I failed in my previous attempts to do something like this in something other than a B747.  If it takes me the rest of the year or beyond…my goal is to complete the adventure and have fun along the way.

Probably in a real-world adventure, one would spend months, perhaps even years planning such an adventure.  After all in the real-world a key driver to this would be finances.  We don’t have to worry about that in the sim world.  In addition, I believe in the real-world one would fully map their course before starting out.  This is one approach I plan to differ from.  I’m planning to start out on my journey with only a general direction in mind.  The rest will fall into place along the way.

The tools I’ll use to plan my route will be my imagination followed closely by FSCommander.  I will utilize the mapping and distance measuring capabilities to provide the information I need along the way.  In addition, I’ll use a giant 3×4 foot map of the World hanging in my office to help encourage me along the way.   I’ll also research weather conditions and plan accordingly since I’ll have real-world weather turned on.

Ground rules?  Well…since we are flying there are no ground rules right?  Ha ha…OK….poor attempt at humor.  But my ground rules are simple.  I plan to use a single, default FSX aircraft (non jet) with no time of completion goal.  I plan to use ActiveSkyX weather and will fly in real-time (no acceleration).

So why am I doing this?  I’m so glad you asked.  As I have shared many, many times….I’ve been flying computer sims for over 25 years.  Back in the early days all we had to fly was the Cessna.  I spent hours and hours and hours in the computer cockpit of  the Cessna flying around Meig’s Field in Chicago.  Over the years as the flight simulation software developed, I moved up into the larger jets and would rarely ever fly anything smaller. 

Since coming back into the hobby, I’ve grown to appreciate the smaller aircraft, grown to appreciate flying lower and slower and taking in the beauty of the sim world around me.  So to answer the question of why am I doing this, mainly because I can and just as importanly…because I want to. 

Now, back to my planning.  My aircraft of choice is the Mooney Bravo.  I selected this aircraft over the Cessna models  due to its extended range over its single engine counterpart.  According to FSCommander, the Cessna 172 has a range of 638 nm and cruise speed of 124 kts.  The Mooney provides 412 nm more range and cruises around 190 kts.   I believe the Mooney is the best choice of the single engine models available in FSX.  I could jump up to the Beech Baron 58 and increase my range and speed even further, but I really want to do this attempt in a single engine aircraft.

The initial route I’ve chosen will take me from my home airport of KAPA (Centennial, Colorado USA) up towards the Northeast.  At this point I’m not going to say whether I will stay primarily in the northern hemisphere.  There are some sights I would love to see in Africa and Australia is also some place I’d love to visit on a trip like this.   At this point, we will just have to wait and see.

I’m really excited about this challenge and the challenge began today.  I departed KAPA (Centennial, CO) enroute to KSTP (St. Paul, MN).  This first leg is just under 700nm and should give me a good feel for how the aircraft will perform over the coming weeks, months and who knows how long.   

I will blog occassionally about the trip, my status etc.  But you can see my trip status by clicking the Around the World – 2010 button at the top of the page.  I will keep a running journal of my trip on that page. 

Until next time,

JT

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