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Start ::  Special Ops Division ::  Round the World Diary ::  Rev Heads East...
Moderated by: Yoland

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Rev Heads East...

Rev45 Posted: 22.01.2009, 20:09

Rev45

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This seems to be a year for circumnavigations. So, being at liberty as I am, I decided Iíd make my own round-the-world flight.

East seems like the right direction, and the Caravan seems like the right plane. Itís reasonably fast, definitely rugged and fuel-efficient, and roomy enough for plenty of odds and ends, charts, parts, and junk. And a few cans of avgas. The ďbig round tripĒ has been done before in Caravans, and it has great short field/no field capabilities.

Iíll depart from KSTP St. Paul. My idea is to stay as far north as possible initially, and cross the pond from Gander, Newfoundland, to Greenland, to Iceland, to Ireland. From there Iíll head SE across Europe and skirt Asia, working my way back towards Alaska.

The route across the North Atlantic is well within the capabilities of the Caravan. The season will make things more interesting, of course. Once into Eastern Europe and Asia, I expect things to get even more interesting. Given political and logistical realities, I wonder how difficult a trip like this would be in real life?

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Fly safe, and keep the shiny side up! 8-)


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Yoland Posted: 23.01.2009, 06:11

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I did a RTW trip with my beloved Cessna Caravan last year, but from West to East and departing from Geneva (Switzerland)... about 50 miles from where I was born and live.
This aircraft is fantastic and I am sure that you will enjoy the trip. The only difficult leg is between the most Northern Japanese Islands or Siberia to the Aleutians Islands. The range of the C208B is maybe a little bit too short if you have the wind against you. But if you wish, I can send you a litlle tweaks that will increase you tank capacity by 20% for instance... and it wil do it.
Please, tell us about your adventure all along the way. There is now a special thread in the forum called "Round the World Diary" which will welcome your RTW story.
Good luck!



edited by: Yoland, Jan 23, 2009 - 01:12 PM

Yoland Grosjean - SPA 348
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Rev45 Posted: 23.01.2009, 11:50

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RRW001
Departure KSTP St. Paul, MN 22 Jan 2009 1930 hrs local
23 Jan 2009 0130 UTC

Wind: 160 True, 4 Kts
Vis: 4861 Meters, 3 SM
Clouds: None
Precip: None
Temp: -9C Dew: -11C
Pressure: 1008 mb, 29.76 inches

No chance of sleeping, so figured I might as well get going tonight.
Besides, thereís another front coming in, and by dawn it will be colder than a gut-shot wolf *****. No sense waiting around for that. So I fed the fish, left a note for the cat, and Iím off.

Drove my 1987 Ford Ranger the short mile to KSTP. Tossed the pickup load of stuff into the Caravan, and then left the Ranger in the lot. The door locks havenít worked since í95, but nobody ever seems to both it. Coffee thermos, granola bars, charts and extra pack of cigarettes are all up front with me; everything else in the back. I tried to alternate squishy items with rigid items, but it will all settle wherever it wants to be, anyway. Itís the ďauto-CG adjustĒ feature.

KSTP can be pretty active during the day with corporate jets, the Nation Guard wing, and helicopter traffic, but it was dead quiet tonight. Wheels up at 2003 hrs local, 0203 UTC.

[img]http://www.stpaulairlines.com/albums/album38/cockpit.thumb.jpg[/img]

I took my first flying lessons here, in the summer and fall of 1962. I was 16 years old. Lessons were $11/hr, solo time was $7. The plane was a Champion 7FCóthe best aircraft Iíve ever flown, and the one I hope to fly in heaven. Airspace was a much simpler concept then, and there was a great little coffee shop in the old terminal building. Things have changed, and not really for the better. Those memories of my first flights, my first solo, golden September afternoons over the practice area east of the airportóthose are some of the best memories I have.

I filed IFR for 7000 feet to KANJ (Sault St Marie, Michigan), but right after takeoff I asked for FL 170 and got a nice kick from the winds aloft. Theyíre on my tail at 50 knots, and over EAU I have an IAS of 135 kts and a GS 235 kts. I can live with that.

On the ground or in the air northern Wisconsin and the Michigan UP is lonely country. The lights of the towns are sparse, and thereís virtually no other traffic. Iíd intended to cancel my IFR flight plan, but decide not to because, honestly, I donít want to break the human connection the radio chatter provides. The cabin is warm, and the coffee tastes good. Iím betting Iíll be able to get a cab and decent motel room, in Sault St. Marie. The airport is right in town. Iíd like a nightcap, and a shower and breakfast in the morning.

Landed 0424 UTC, visual approach to runway 14, in calm wind and 10SM visibility. Total flight time 2.3 hrs.




edited by: Rev45, Jan 23, 2009 - 05:56 PM

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Rev45 Posted: 23.01.2009, 20:40

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RRW 002
KANJ Sault St Marie to CYQB Quebec
558 nm est. 3:40 est. fuel 864 lbs Fuel on board 1534 lbs
KANJ SSM YEL YSB YYB YMW YMX UFX YRQ QB CYQB

It was early noon before I finished breakfast, took a quick tour of the snowy town, and got ready to head for Quebec. The weather could have been better, but the winds aloft looked very favorable. Forecast 98 kt tailwind at FL180.

Wx at takeoff:
Wind: 310 True, 14 Kts Vis: 4861 Meters, 3 SM
Clouds: 900 Scattered, 1600 Broken, 4100 Overcast
Precip: Light Snow Temp: -3C Dew: -6C
Pressure: 1003 mb, 29.61 inches

I filed IFR for 13,000, again expecting to request a change after takeoff.

It was cold on the ramp, but thankfully just some light snow to brush off and the engine started easily. I got clearance from Toronto, was handed back to Minneapolis after takeoff, then almost immediately handed back to Toronto. Iíll take that to mean Iím officially in Canada now. Climbed to FL 170 and again got a nice payoff in ground speedó258 knts. I broke out of the overcast at 11,000 feet, and it remained solid below. Sadly, I didnít even get a glimpse of the Great Lakes shoreline I was flying past.

Iíve never been to Quebec, but the cold doesnít inspire me to do any sightseeing. Likewise the Separatist politics.

Gander, Newfoundland is the next stop after Quebec, and I have been there before. It was 1964 and I was taking Icelandic Airways from New York to Luxemburg, riding a DC-6B. I believe the ticket cost about $100. We refueled in Gander at 2 AM. We were allowed off the plane for about a half-hour, but there wasnít much to see or do. I remember a dark, depressed-looking terminal with a few locals sitting around. I think a couple of them were hookers. It wasnít too many years later that commercial jets put an end to Ganderís golden age as a refueling stop for transatlantic flights.

Landed CYQB 1625 eastern. Total flight time 3:35 Act. Fuel 832 lbs
ILS approach in frigid pea soup.

My little Caravan will spend the night in a heated hanger. I plan to spend a good portion of the night in a hot tub or sauna. Off to Gander at dawn.


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Rev45 Posted: 24.01.2009, 08:57

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[b]RRW003
CTQB Quebec to Gander CYQX[/b]


I feel like this trip will really start in Gander, I suppose because Iíll be heading out over the Atlantic from there. The waypoints on this leg are all NDBs except the first one. Glad itís the age of the GPS, despite the romance I feel for navigation methods of old. Route: CYQB YYY ME PH NA DF QX CYQX

Wx at takeoff from Quebec:
Wind: 070 True, 12 Kts Vis: 2431 Meters, 2 SM
Clouds: 2000 Overcast Precip: Light Snow
Temp: -11C Dew: -16C Pressure: 1003 mb, 29.63 inches

[img]http://www.stpaulairlines.com/albums/album38/Gander.thumb.jpg[/img]

Some history and info on Gander from [b]Wikipedia[/b]:

[i]Gander was chosen for the construction of an airport in 1935 due to its location close to the northeast tip of the North American continent. Ö On January 11, 1938, Captain Douglas Fraser made the first landing at "Newfoundland Airport", now known as Gander International Airport, in a single-engine biplane, Fox Moth VO-ADE. During the Second World War, as many as 10,000 Canadian, British and American military personnel resided in Gander. The area became a strategic post for the Royal Air Force Air Ferry Command, with approximately 20,000 American and Canadian-built fighters and bombers stopping at Gander en route to Europe. Once the war was over, the airbase became a civilian airport and the location of the town was moved a safe distance from the runways. Construction of the present town site began in the 1950s and the present municipality was incorporated in 1958 and the settlement around the airport was eventually abandoned.

After the Second World War the town grew as the airport was used as a refuelling stop for transatlantic flights, earning its name "Cross-roads of the world" as nearly all overseas flights had to stop there before crossing the Atlantic. Ö The Gander airport played an important role in world aviation in the immediate hours following the September 11, 2001 attacks when all of North America's airspace was closed by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and 39 transatlantic flights bound for the United States were ordered to land at the airportómore flights than any other Canadian airport other than Halifax International. Ö Over 6,600 passengers and airline crew members unexpectedly found themselves forced to stay in the Gander area for up to three days until airspace was reopened and flights resumed. Residents of Gander and surrounding communities volunteered to house, feed, and entertain the travellers in what became known as Operation Yellow Ribbon. Ö In May 2007, Money Sense ranked Gander as the 10th best place to live in Canada. The magazine ranked communities strictly by crunching numbers relating to 12 measurable factors including weather, real estate values, income levels, unemployment rates, discretionary income, murder rates and signs of prosperity such as the percentage of late model vehicles[/i].

Maybe Ganderís golden age isn't quite over yet.






edited by: Rev45, Jan 24, 2009 - 10:33 AM

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Rev45 Posted: 26.01.2009, 10:28

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[b]Gander to BGBW Narsarsuaq, Greenland[/b]

Gander wx on departure: Wind: 250 True, 18 Kts Vis: 9999 Meters, 20 SM Clouds: 2700 Scattered Precip: None Temp: -12C Dew: -17C Pressure: 998 mb, 29.47 inches

BGBW Weather at departure: Wind: 070 True, 3 Kts Vis: 9999 Meters, 10 SM Clouds: 10000 Few, 18000 Scattered Precip: None Temp: -12C Dew: -15C Pressure: 979 mb, 28.91 inches

If that weather holds at BGBW Iíll be lucky. Estimated flight time is 4:59, which gives me 1.5 hrs of fuel reserve, at best. This airport is ďBluie West OneĒ made famous by Ernest Gann in his memoir [u]Fate is the Hunter[/u].

Note on landing: The weather held, and the flight was wonderfully boring.

[img]http://www.stpaulairlines.com/albums/album38/Gas_Pump_at_BW1.thumb.jpg[/img]




edited by: Rev45, Jan 26, 2009 - 10:36 AM

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Rev45 Posted: 27.01.2009, 19:02

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[b]Finally the UK![/b]

Two terminally boring flights of about 5 hrs each got me to Reykjevik BIRK, then to Stornoway EGPO. Strong headwinds made the second leg longer than it might have been. I tried altitudes from FL180 all the way down to 2,000 feet, but it made little difference. The wind stayed within a few degrees of my course heading at 35-45 knots.

EGPO is the largest airport in the Outer Hebrides, and Stornoway is a seaport with a good natural harbor. Remote and quiet, itís a strategic location in some respects, and rather pretty in a windswept way.

I'm going to head east across Scotland, then SSW to Plymouth, then SE to Nice. I'm just sightseeing and following my nose at this point.




edited by: Rev45, Jan 27, 2009 - 07:03 PM

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Rev45 Posted: 29.01.2009, 14:26

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[b]Pea Soup x2[/b]

The flight from Dyce down the length of the UK to Plymouth was mostly pea soup, and the weather worsened today when I headed east again for France. Weather on takeoff from Plymouth:

Wind: 120 True, 14 Kts Vis: 2495 Meters, 2 SM Clouds: 400 Overcast Precip: Light Rain Temp: 6C Dew: 6C Pressure: 1010 mb, 29.83 inches

I stayed in the muck at 7,000, hoping it would clear. My destination, Aubigny-Sur-Nere LFEH was reporting clear with 6 miles visibility.

The clouds and fog broke just in time for me to get a glimpse of the Channel Islands. Iíd love to land and poke around this English pocket of historically French culture. Itís the home of the Guernsey cow, after all. But the weather is cold and wet, and I have a long trip ahead. Just east of the Normandy town of Lessay I emerged from the murky Channel weather into clear albeit hazy sky, but the soup closed in again soon enough and I landed at Aubigny-sur-Nere LFEH in fog and low clouds. ATC had me at 2600 and I had zero visibility, so I took a chance and dropped down to 1800 when the GSP put me a mile for the airport. Luckily the runway was right in front of me.

Not much of an airport, but the town is charming. Off to Nice tomorrow.



edited by: Rev45, Jan 29, 2009 - 02:27 PM

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k5yrf Posted: 29.01.2009, 20:20

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Just for a thought.....I have done several RTW trips in both directions in various planes, but the most enjoyable for me was using a CRJ. A friend of mine has made numerous RTW trips in real life in a Bonanza so it sure can be done. Have a good trip. jim
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Rev45 Posted: 29.01.2009, 21:19

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In single enigine planes, the Bonanza seems to be something of a favorite for RTW flights, based on what I find on the web. I have a payware Pilatus 12C (I think) that I haven't flown much, and I'm thinking about switching to that one. The Caravan is fine so far, though, and sure has a good rep real-world.

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Rev45 Posted: 31.01.2009, 17:25

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Paul (apilot) flew the 2.5 hrs to Nice LFMN with me. Visibility came and went, but was good for the landing at Nice. I think I'm going to get thread the Middle East via Crete, Agaba and Dubai.

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Rev45 Posted: 06.02.2009, 21:29

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Greetings from Riyad, Saudi Arabia, OERK. I got here via LIRK Crete and OJAI Amman, Jordan, then Hail, Saudi Arabia OEHL. The long flights over the vast Saudi desert were only slightly less boring than the over-water legs. Bright spot was the flight over the Jordan River valley.
[img]http://www.stpaulairlines.com/albums/album38/Over_Jordan.thumb.jpg[/img]
From here I'll make my way to Dubai, then work east towards India.







edited by: Rev45, Feb 06, 2009 - 09:35 PM

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Rev45 Posted: 11.02.2009, 14:02

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Leg 20:
What Iím going to remember about flying western India is terrible visibility. Fog and haze, haze and more fogÖAnd probably some smoke and pollution. It clears momentarily, and I can often see lush rural landscape below, but Ahmedabad and Kota have been strictly VFR approaches, whether I flew them that way or not.

Leaving Karachi OPKC for India, I felt like Iíve crawled out of a quicksand of politics and ever-pending violence. Maybe this is nonsense, but thatís how I felt. India seems different; more calming and meaningful. Iím headed to Dibrugarh and the start of the ďHung routeĒ across the Himalayas flown during WW II by the Air Transport Command, and kept open by the Flying Tigers.

The ATC flew mostly C-47s.

The Flying Tigers flew P-40ís against faster, more maneuverable Japanese Zeroes. They used a network of spotters to locate the Japanese, and the P-40ís would dive on the Japs from altitude, then keep diving away and then climb for another attack run. Sounds simple, but I bet it wasnít. The Zero was an armed flying gas can, with no armor or self-sealing fuel tanks. That probably helped.

Today itís Kota VIKO to Lucknow VILK. The visibility seems to be getting better as I move NE. This is the winter dry season, so Iím hopeful that it will keep on improving. Iíll be flying up the Brahmaputra River into to foothills of the Himalayas.


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