Circumnavigations

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Circumnavigations

Postby aquila1004 » 04 Mar 2010 03:55

I had a little too much time on my hands last summer (!) so I thought I'd try a round-the-world flight. I'd done it before, many times, but never…um…sub-sonically, so this was my first "serious" circumnavigation. It's always been something I've wanted to do in real life, but doing it in X-Plane is the next best thing.

I spent a long time debating what plane to use. The final "short-list" included the Malibu, the Seneca, and Heinz Dziurowitz's Comanche 250. The Comanche had the longest range, and the Seneca had the added reliability of two engines, but I decided on the Malibu mainly because it has de-icing equipment. I went with the Mirage variant (46-350) because it had the longest range according to the documentation. (With retrospect, I could have saved a lot of time if I'd gone for the Meridian, as I never had to push the Mirage to the limit of its range.)

screenshot_316.jpg


Anyway, I did a custom paint job for the plane (above) and named it "Phileas Fogg" after the Jules Verne character--from the BOOK, not all the movies that have been made over the years. I started from Delta County Airport in Escanaba, Michigan, heading east. I crossed the Atlantic via the Azores, took a detour to Turin to fly over the Alps, then flew the most politically-plausible route I could across the Middle East. (Another reason for picking the PA-46 was that it can cruise at 25,000 feet…well out of small-arms range. Hardly an issue in X-Plane, but it might be in real life.) On to India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Australia, taking another detour to see Ayer's Rock, then I started across the South Pacific. I got stuck for two weeks on the island of Aitutaki when my digital vacation was interrupted by a real one--ironically to Michigan. I finally made it across the Pacific to Chile, then proceeded north via Peru, Panama, Mexico, and New Orleans. I landed in Escanaba on September 1, 44 days after starting.

The flight was actually fairly uneventful as these things go. I only made one "unscheduled" landing, on Aitutaki when the autopilot went out. I could have hand-flown all the way to Fiji, but I didn't feel like sitting in front of my computer for six hours straight. Only twice did I encounter heavy weather, in American Samoa and again in Panama City, and I never had to use the anti-icing gear that was the reason for picking the Mirage in the first place. The GPS, with nav-radios as backups, made navigation a non-issue, even all those little Pacific islands.

Phileas Fogg RTW 2009.jpg


So…has anybody else done anything like this, or am I the only one with WAY too much time on his hands?


TH
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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby kiofka » 04 Mar 2010 09:31

My brother and I have both done trans-continental flights a couple of times with rules of real weather and mandatory overnights on rough landings. I must admit that I have tried to circumnavigate the globe and ended up stopping for the need of other things to do not just in real life but in X-Plane as well. (I build scenery and at the time was working on a lot of projects for Northern California)
I chose the Gulfstream for it's speed and fuel capacity. I also chose a westerly direction and started from San Francisco. Navigating the islands can be a little tricky when you need a couple miles of airstrip to land. :roll:
Crossing over asia wasn't too bad and I ended up in Europe when I quit for other things I needed to do.
It's an ambitious under taking, especially in a GA type aircraft. I commend you for your tenacity.
Can you imagine Linberg crossing the Atlantic with no Auto-Pilot? "Pour me another cup a coffee...whoops, maybe not"

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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby aquila1004 » 04 Mar 2010 11:00

I find that the trick with long, multi-stage flights is to make them fit into your schedule. For instance, if you took my route around the world--which had 29 legs--flying only on the weekends, completing just one leg per week--you could be finished in 29 weeks, or a little over six months. Some of my legs were pretty short, and some were entirely unnecessary, so you could probably get it down to 20 or 25 legs. And by flying a faster plane you could shorten the legs quite a bit and maybe have time for two in one weekend.
I'm in the middle of my second circumnavigation right now, taking it a LOT slower this time. I'm flying the v-tail Bonanza (trying to do it sans GPS); started in Winslow, Arizona last November and just this morning landed in the Faroe Islands. So it's been four months exactly since I started out and I'm only a quarter of the way through the flight! I've been keeping the legs nice and short (>300nm, sometimes shorter) and I got stuck in Greenland for two months because the days were shorter than the flights. Real weather, real time, no outside view, no "location" menus, reasonable layover times, etc.
The M!G is possibly the best plane ever for long flights. Not sure how "plausible" it is (Jason?) but it has a fantastically long range with the auxiliary tank, cruises at mach .97 on auto throttle, and I've yet to find a runway I couldn't land it on! I'm thinking of using it to see if I can make a circumnavigation over a long weekend…
The great thing about X-Plane is, not only can you set the plane on autopilot and not have to fly it yourself for long trips, you don't even have to stay "in the cockpit" during the flight! I don't think I've ever actually left the house during a flight, but I've certainly watched movies, done work, eaten dinner, spent hours puttering around on Wikipedia, etc. My limit for non-autopilot flights is about an hour, maybe two, before I have to pause the game so I can go to the bathroom. I can't even come CLOSE to imagining a 33-hour solo flight without autopilot, GPS, radios, sleep, caffeine, the Internet…

TH…

PS. I just discovered that I can make an ellipsis (…) by pressing alt-semicolon…so lately I've…been using…ellipses…more…than…usual…
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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby kiofka » 04 Mar 2010 12:14

You may also be interested in one of our missions in the Flight Operations area. [Scenic, Historical, Landmarks] Transcontinental Airmail
This is the route across the U.S. that was used when the first Airmail service for the U.S. was established. Low altitude, non pressurized aircraft.
Give it a shot and try not to use the auto pilot or GPS. Dead reckoning can be pretty fun...

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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby GlowWorm » 04 Mar 2010 15:39

Aloha Aquila1004,

Excellent trip report - even cooler if you could post some enroute pics. Perhaps next time, we can organise a duo or trio trip and fly online. Mirage is my fav of the Piper series. Though I have to admit that I haven't tried the Piper twins that much. You have some stats about duration and distances of your world tour?

So far I done a 20 hr trip in the Beechcraft Starship 2000A checking out the coastal airports of Australia and also a detour to Uluru. 20 hr of stick time, cos I don't want to let the autopilot take all the fun out. Sometimes I just do dead reckoning w/ the E6B flight computer and aeronautical charts, while pretending the GPS is INOP, as well as the nav radios. More challenging to me.

I did fly at Mach 8 using a modified SR-71 and did a world tour in a few hrs. ;-)

aquila1004 wrote:I had a little too much time on my hands last summer (!) so I thought I'd try a round-the-world flight. I'd done it before, many times, but never…um…sub-sonically, so this was my first "serious" circumnavigation. It's always been something I've wanted to do in real life, but doing it in X-Plane is the next best thing.

.....

So…has anybody else done anything like this, or am I the only one with WAY too much time on his hands?


TH
Aloha!,
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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby aquila1004 » 05 Mar 2010 01:44

Unfortunately, I neglected to keep a flight log during that trip (except for the map, which I updated as I went to keep track of the dates) so I don't have statistics for time aloft, distance, etc. If I had to guess, I'd say each leg averaged about 5 hours, which would make the total time aloft 145 hours, but that's just a rough estimate. That plane is quite fast for a piston engine, I was averaging well over 200 knots ground speed; this increased as I went along and narrowed down the plane's optimum cruise configuration. I'm being much more diligent about my current flight. As to pictures, I stuck to cockpit view the whole way, so most of the pictures are from inside the plane looking out. (One of the reasons I like Jason's planes so much is the nice 3D interiors…I have little patience for 2D cockpits)
Doing something like this online would certainly be interesting…a circumnavigation might be a bit long, but maybe the Transcontinental Air-Mail route. I for one would need to get set up to fly online (never done it before in X-Plane or elsewhere) but that shouldn't be a big deal.
I haven't got the Starship yet, but it's high on the list of items to buy. If I recall, my first attempt at a "serious" long-distance flight in a light plane was a circumnavigation of Australia (alas, not in a C74 craft). I started in Alice Springs, headed south to Melbourne and then started east, but ended up bumping into a mountain somewhere on the east coast. I believe the plane was Jacques Brault's freeware Lake Renegade, which I had painted blue and christened "F. Scott Fitzgerald." (Jacques's plane is nice, but if Jason were to do a 3D version of the Lake, I'd gladly buy it. I wish he did more seaplanes.)

This is the plane I'm currently flying (and I mean currently--at this very moment I'm at 8,000 feet flying from the Faroe Islands to Inverness) on the tarmac in Iceland. Detective Fix is another character from Around The World In 80 Days.

screenshot_296.jpg



TH
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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby aquila1004 » 06 Apr 2010 21:18

screenshot_1141.jpg


Just got back to my famous flight around the world after spending a while doing other things in North America. Here I am landing in Bristol, England.

For anyone who might be curious, here's the flight log so far:

Nov. 3rd: Winslow, AZ to Albuquerque; Albuquerque to Denver.
Nov. 4th: Denver to Omaha, Omaha to Eau Claire, WI.
Nov. 5th: Eau Claire to Manitowish, WI.
Nov. 8th: Manitowish to Crivitz, WI.
Nov. 12th: Crivitz to Mackinac Island, MI.
Nov. 24th: Mackinac to Ottawa, first try. (Ran into bad weather, had to turn back.)
Nov. 27th: Mackinac to Ottawa.
Dec. 12th: Ottawa to Sept Iles, QC.
Dec. 13th: Sept Iles to Wabush, NL.
Dec. 15th: Wabush to Kuujuaq, QC.
Dec. 16th: Kuujuaq to Iqaluit, NU.
Dec. 19th: Iqaluit to Pangnirtung, NU. (on Baffin Island)
Dec. 20th: Pangnirtung to Maniitsoq, Greenland.
Dec. 21st: Maniitsoq to Kulusuk, Greenland.
Mar. 2nd: Kulusuk to Patreksfjordur, Iceland.
Mar. 3rd: Patreksfjordur to Hornafjordur, Iceland.
Mar. 4th: Hornafjordur to Vagar, Faroe Islands.
Mar. 5th: Vagar to Inverness, Scotland.
Mar. 6th: Inverness to Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Mar. 7th: Isle of Skye to Belfast, Northern Ireland; Belfast to Isle of Man.
Mar. 8th: Isle of Man to Liverpool; Liverpool to Caernarfon.
Mar. 9th: Caernarfon to Moyne, Co. Tipperary.
Apr. 6th: Moyne to Bristol; Bristol to Le Havre, Normandy.

As you can see, I'm in no particular hurry and I keep going off to do other things for weeks on end. The goal is just to get around the world…eventually. I've started flying online now, on X-Flightserver as callsign ALTAIR. If any of you guys would like to join me for a leg or two you'd be welcome to do so.


TH


PS. Incidentally, I turned left at Albuquerque (as anyone must do in order to avoid ending up hopelessly lost). I also visited every airport in the world whose name begins with the words "Isle Of" (Skye and Man) and I was in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day.
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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby GlowWorm » 07 Apr 2010 02:11

Aloha!

Excellent trip report!
Aloha!,
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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby aquila1004 » 22 Oct 2010 14:54

screenshot_5622.jpg



Still going, coming up on a year now since starting. The route since my first post:

Apr. 7th: Le Havre to Rennes, Brittany
Apr. 8th: Rennes to Chateauroux
Apr. 9th: Chateauroux to Grenoble
Apr. 20th: Grenoble to Turin
May 4th: Turin to L'Aquila
May 5th: L'Aquila to Brindisi
May 6th: Brindisi to Kefallinia
May 7th: Kefallinia to Khania Souda, Crete
May 8th: Khania Souda to Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt
May 10th: Sharm el-Sheik to Dubai, UAE (via Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
May 11th: Dubai to Karachi; Karachi to Ahmadabad, Gujarat (India); Ahmadabad to Bhubaneshwar, Odisha (also India)
May 12th: Bhubaneshwar to Chittagong, Bangladesh; Chittagong to Dawei, Thailand; Dawei to Phuket, Thailand
Jun. 8th: Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jun. 8th: Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Lampung, Lampung (Sumatra)
Jun. 9th: Bandar Lampung to Kota Sumenep, East Java
Oct. 14th: Kota Sumenep to Banjarmasin, South Borneo
Oct. 21st: Banjarmasin to Sandakan, Sabah (East Malaysia)
Oct. 22nd: Sandakan to Laoag, Luzon
Oct. 23rd: Laoag to Sungshang, Taiwan



TH
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Re: Circumnavigations

Postby GlowWorm » 24 Oct 2010 05:27

Nice - did you keep track of the fuel and time?
Aloha!,
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