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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It was a long flight so I left Tokyo this morning before dawn in order to land in Russia in daylight.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
January 27, 2022
A short, sad hop from Nagasaki to Hiroshima - two heartbreaking cities in human history.