top of page

My Flight Around the World

Updated: Apr 4, 2022


 

This is a record of my real-time journey around the world via Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. My pictures in this blog are best viewed on a big, bright screen!


My commentary, photographs and videos are shown below in reverse-chronological order. i.e. My latest and final entry is at the top! Scroll down to the bottom if you want to start at the beginning.


You can view the track of my whole journey to date in beautiful 3D on Google Earth by clicking here.


I hope you find it as fascinating and inspirational as I do. You can leave a comment at the bottom to let me know what you think!

 

March 23, 2022


Final entry in the captain's blog. Today I flew home to my starting point, after some 14 months, 50,000 miles and 288 hours of flight time. From the Birthplace of Aviation to home (I know Ohioans say that Dayton is the real birthplace since that's where the Wright brothers were born, but I'm going with Kitty Hawk)! Here are some sightseeing pics from my final leg. There was a heavy overcast layer at 2,000 feet as I buzzed Washington DC.

Circling the Washington Monument
Heading east over the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
The not-quite White House under the overcast, and Marine One ready on the lawn
Capitol Hill - home of political dysfunction
...but it's always sunny in Philadelphia!

My last touchdown, at my starting point - Old Bridge Airport, NJ (3N6). Not too elegant, but there was a crosswind, obstructions and I was tired!


The End!


 

March 22, 2022


The perfect last stop in a flight around the world! I re-entered US airspace for the last time today, crossing the Gulf of Mexico into Florida and landing at historic First Flight Airfield in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Better known as Kitty Hawk!

Fuel truck departing after filling my tanks at Havana 's Jose Marti Airport
Approaching Florida's Gulf Coast
Overflying the Kennedy Space Center

Applying reverse thrust and heavy braking, I still used up most of the runway at First Flight. The upper left area in this photo shows the sandy strip on which the Wright Brothers made their historic first flight. At the east (near) end of the strip is the shack where they lived. At the west (far) end you can see the memorial to the brothers.

This lengthy, low-level flight consumed a lot of fuel. Below you can see that my left and right tanks had only 8 gallons left in each. My TBM holds 290 gallons of fuel, with only 282 of it useable. My average in-flight burn rate is about 1 gallon per minute. That means I had 8 minutes of flying time left when I shut her down!

 

If you'd like to learn more about Kitty Hawk, including the details of a flight I made there in my Cessna 172 over 30 years ago, please click here. The link will take you to another of my Blog articles which also contains a lot of interesting photos as well as a pretty cool video!

 

March 21, 2022


Mexico City to Havana, Cuba today. It was a long haul so I climbed to 25,000 since my fuel burn rate is much better in the thinner atmosphere. Climbing out of Mexico City International, I passed over this interesting radial urban plan layout called Plaza Del Ejecutivo, adjacent to the airport:

As I flew east over the Gulf of Mexico, I passed over the Yucatan Peninsula, so I dropped down to 500 feet to grab a shot of Chichen Itza. Built by the Maya people about 1,200 years ago, this is another UNESCO World Heritage Site:

The Temple of Kukulcan on my right as my shadow passes over the Platform of Venus

From there, I flew over the Gulf again, landing at Jose Marti Airport in Havana. Next stop will be somewhere on the US east coast!

 

March 16, 2022


Only a short entry for today's flight. I flew as far south as I will for the remainder of my long journey, landing in Mexico City this evening. I had planned to circle Central and South America before heading home, but I'm getting tired. I took off this morning from Cabo San Lucas, crossed the Gulf of California, and landed in Mexico as the full moon was rising.

Ready to refuel at Cabo San Lucas
Entering base leg for landing at Mexico City International Airport
 

March 10, 2022


As you can see from the date, I spent some time in San Diego - because my daughter and her husband live there. It made me feel hungry for home after almost 14 months away. So today I decided that after Central America, I'm only going to make one stop in South America before turning toward the Caribbean and home.


For today, I departed San Diego in the afternoon, filing a flight plan to go straight down the whole length of the Baja Peninsula, to its end at Cabo San Lucas.

As I climb out, you can see the city of San Diego just beyond the airport.
BAJA: my flight plan in yellow and the dotted line showing my actual ATC-directed path
Approaching the southern tip of Baja and Cabo San Lucas at sunset
 

February 23, 2022


I did something different today for my flight down California's coastline. I flew along the whole way from San Francisco to San Diego at 1,000 feet! It was a clear, gorgeous day - what pilots call CAVU - Ceiling And Visibility Unrestricted. I flew inland many times exploring all the beautiful coastal towns from the air, even Los Angeles. But I always returned to follow the Pacific Coast Highway. I arrived at San Diego at sunset.

Climbing out of SFO midday
Panorama of a mountainous section of the amazing Pacific Coast Highway
Morro Bay Rock out my window. The inset is a picture I took from its other side a few years ago
The buildings of downtown San Diego under my left wing tip as I prepare to land at sunset
 

February 16, 2022


Today's flight from Vancouver to San Francisco was a beautiful one. After all the days of flying over desolate, frozen wastelands ever since leaving Japan, the lower latitudes gave way to lush green, habitated countryside.

Here I am holding at the runway threshold, ready to depart Vancouver

I veered inland for awhile to check out Seattle, Washington. It's a pretty waterfront city with the landmark Space Needle. I remember when they built the Needle for the 1962 World's Fair, and it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Amazing that over half a century later it is still so modern and elegant-looking.

I'm flying at 300 feet, passing by the 600 foot tall Seattle Space Needle

From Seattle I flew south to check out the Lewis and Clark Bridge which spans the Columbia River, connecting Washington and Oregon. When it was opened in 1930, it was the longest and highest cantilevered bridge in the country.

The Sun casts a cool shadow of the Lewis and Clark Bridge - and me - onto the Columbia River

Now it was time to climb, as I had to pass over the southern part of the Cascade Mountains and California's Northern Coastal Range on my way to San Francisco. The magnificent Mount Shasta was the only peak that penetrated the cloud deck as I passed by at FL180.

14,000 foot tall Mount Shasta reaches up to greet me

At 100 miles from San Francisco, I began my descent and followed the coastline south, finally turning left at the Golden Gate into San Francisco Bay just before sunset.

Passing under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay
Circling Alcatraz, with the Bay Bridge and the city of San Francisco in the distance across the bay
Skimming over the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building at sunset
The Sutro Television Tower, now an icon of the city, towers 1,800 feet AGL
 

February 14, 2022


Today I flew down the mountainous coast of North America from Juneau, Alaska to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. With all the high peaks, I kept to a 17,000 foot flight level and had the benefit of a 55 knot direct tailwind throughout the flight. I was able to cover the 900 miles in less than 2 1/2 hours including some sightseeing over Vancouver before landing.

Climbing out of stormy, snow-covered Juneau, Alaska
My view the whole way south today
Over Central Vancouver and a pic I took of "The Drop" when I visited a few years ago
On final approach to Vancouver International
Parked at my assigned gate among all the "heavies"
 

February 8, 2022


Down the coast of Alaska from Anchorage to Juneau today. Mountainous country, but I didn't see any of it as I was in solid cloud cover flying IFR the whole way.

Climbing into the clouds over Anchorage just before dawn
A short break out between cloud layers on the way to Juneau
 

February 5, 2022


Another 1,000-mile flight today - over the Aleutian Island chain into mainland Alaska. Here are a couple of photos of my dawn departure from Adak taken just before, and just after take-off.


 

February 2, 2022


Home (sort of)! After a year of flying, I made my first landing on US soil. From Kamchatka, Russia, I made a 1,000-mile crossing over the Bering Sea to Adak, Alaska. This island in the Aleutian chain has a fascinating history. In WWII it was a US Army base from which we staged the captures of Kiska and Attu Islands from the Japanese. Our holding of this remote area was a strategic problem for the Japanese throughout the war.


Then in the Cold War it became a US Naval Air Base where our submarines could reprovision while monitoring the Soviets. The USS Growler SSG-577, at the Intrepid Museum in NYC, was one of those submarines. I like telling the story when I'm volunteering on the sub now.


The base was closed 25 years ago and is now an enormous airport for Alaska Airlines. At its height Adak had a population of 6,000. Now the US Air Base housing is home to only 171 residents. It's advertised to tourists as a Ghost Town!

I did a low pass over Adak's "Ghost Town" before landing (inset from a tourist brochure). Can you find my shadow?
I used only a small portion of this enormous runway to set down at the Adak Airport
 

January 30 - 31, 2022


It's been just over a year and over 40,000 files since I started my journey. The current segment was a lot of over-water flying. The first day I left Japan and made my first stop in Russia. The second day I crossed the Sea of Okhotsk to the Kamchatka Peninsula. My readers who played Risk growing up will remember Kamchatka as the place on the right edge of the board where you could wrap around to the left edge of the board into North America! So you can guess where my next stop will be.

In the game of Risk, Alaska on the left side of the board is connected to Kamchatka on the right

It was a long flight so I left Tokyo this morning before dawn in order to land in Russia in daylight.

Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge lit up in just one color as I passed over it tonight
Gaining altitude, I made one more pass by the Tokyo Tower

Heading north over Honshu Island, I took this picture of Sendai just as the sun began to light up the eastern horizon:

I crossed the Sea of Japan two more times: first over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, and then to Russia's Sakhalin Island. Sakhalin was where the Soviets shot down a Korean Air passenger flight in 1983 killing all 269 people aboard.

Russian landfall - Sakhalin Island

The Korean Air Tragedy had an outcome that affected all our lives. The airliner had strayed slightly off its route into Soviet airspace before being shot down. As a result, the Reagan Administration decided to make our military's Global Position System (GPS) available for worldwide civilian use.


I spent the night on Sakhalin Island before crossing the Sea of Okhotsk to the Kamchatka Peninsula. Here is my view from the cockpit just before completion of my shut-down on the airport ramp in the town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky!

Looking at some of the many volcanos on Kamchatka
 

January 28 - 29, 2022


From Hiroshima, I continued northeast up the island of Honshu. Honshu is the main island of the archipelago that is Japan. I stopped overnight at the port city of Osaka and took off in the morning bound for Tokyo. My flight path took me directly over the famous Mt. Fuji.

The iconic World Heritage site, Mt Fuji is the highest point in Japan at 12,389 feet

Next I passed over Yokohama, a port city on Tokyo Bay. It's tallest building, shown below, consists of a 22 story hotel on top of 48 floors of commercial and office space!

Circling Yokohama's Landmark Tower, the second tallest building in Japan

And finally I reached Tokyo, also on Tokyo Bay, just north of Yokohama. Tokyo is immense - the most populous metropolis in the world at 40 million residents!

Circling Tokyo Skytree - the tallest communication tower in the world
Central Tokyo and the Eiffel Tower-inspired (and 30 feet taller) Tokyo Tower
 

January 27, 2022


A short, sad hop from Nagasaki to Hiroshima - two heartbreaking cities in human history.