My Flight Around the World

Updated: 2 days ago

This is a record of my journey around the world via Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 using two aircraft. For most of the journey I'm flying a fast Daher TBM 930 turboprop. At some locations I explore low and slow in a Piper Cub which I magically keep stowed aboard the TBM!

My commentary, photographs and videos of my flight are shown below in reverse-chronological order. Best viewed on a big, bright screen! I hope you find it as fascinating and inspirational as I do. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think!

November 24 - December 1, 2021

After resting up in Adelaide for a couple of days, I left one morning before dawn, heading south so that I could skirt the southern coastline of Victoria all the way to Melbourne. Here I've reached the coast and turned toward the east just as the sun broke over the horizon:

The lush coastline was a stark change from the dry Outback. Much of my view was obstructed by low clouds all along the coast. Here I am entering Port Phillip, a beautiful natural harbor where Melbourne is situated:

Before landing at Moorabbin Airport, I had a little low-level fun flying around Melbourne:

I hung out in beautiful Melbourne for a week before departing for an overland flight to Sydney - my last stop in Australia. I'll come back some day and explore the continent more, perhaps with a bush plane.

Take off from Melbourne's Moorabbin Airport; the city and Port Phillip in the distance beyond the airport

I flew this portion IFR because of the thick cloud cover. Here I am descending through a hole in the clouds for my first view of Sydney:

I explored Sydney a bit from the air just after dark:

Over the Sydney Opera House with the city in the distance as the stars start to pop out

The next morning I took off several hours before dawn for my second-longest leg so far. I couldn't find a 70 knot tail wind like I did crossing Libya a few months ago. But I did find a sweet 30 knot tail wind at FL 220 enabling me to cross the Tasman Sea to New Zealand with fuel to spare!

The orange dawn ahead of me lit up the crescent moon that followed me over the Tasman Sea

After more than 3 hours over the sea, I spotted my landfall target of Milford Sound on my instruments, cancelled my flight plan and descended. Here you can see the three views I had as I broke through the overcast: my actual view through the windshield, the radar view in the left panel below, and the GPS overhead view in the right panel:

My first glimpse of New Zealand and Milford Sound

As I flew up the narrow channel of Milford Sound, the water became ice, and then snow-covered ice. As the partially snow-covered single runway came into sight, I dropped my landing gear and flaps and slowed as much as I could. Here I am on an awkward final approach:

Snow and ice-covered Milford Sound Airport at dawn with snow drifts obscuring the right side of the runway

Without my turboprop's full reverse thrust, which I engaged the moment my wheels touched ground, I would not have been able to stop on the ice-covered runway since my brakes would have been useless. You can see the black ice reflected in my landing lights in this, my final picture of the day:

Dawn breaks over the Llawrenny Peaks as I come to an icy stop in Milford Sound

November 18 - 20, 2021

I spent two days crossing the enormous Australian Outback from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the South. Australia is about the same size as the continental US. But 90% of its population lives along its coastlines. Imagine if the US was like that. Instead of the lush beauty we are so fortunate to have, imagine if the US were all desert with almost half of it completely uninhabitable! This was what I saw around me after I left Darwin and the coast:

The Northern Territory town of Alice Springs is an exception. I stopped for fuel and rest there. I left the next morning before the full moon set.

Extreme telephoto taken from my drone over Australia's Northern Territory at dawn

Rather than head directly south, I detoured to overfly the famous rock called Uluru. A sacred place to the Aboriginal people, it rises 1,100 feet out of the desert and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Passing over Uluru at sunrise

From Uluru, I turned toward Adelaide. At the relatively low levels I was flying, fuel was going to be a problem on this very long leg. So I changed altitudes often, seeking favorable winds to help me out. I was able to find a wind lay