Updated: a day ago
Welcome to my journey around the globe courtesy of the magnificent Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. It will be a long ride. While the Earth's circumference is 24,000 miles, I intend to see the sights in just about every country, so I'll at least double that. I don't have a planned route, so if any reader has a must-see destination, please let me know via my Contact Page. I'm in no hurry, so this could take a year or more. All flying will be done in real time, in actual weather conditions with actual air traffic. When my aircraft is getting low on fuel, I'll have to refuel it. If I screw up, I'll probably die. But (fortunately) I will respawn myself at my last stop, hopefully all the wiser!
My most recent entries will always be at the top of this blog. So if you want to see what you missed, scroll down. I will try to keep the following two graphics up-to-date as my journey progresses. The latest blog entries start just below them.
Thanks for coming along!
Feb 24, 2021
I flew less than an hour today, departing Hamburg in the north and landing at Berlin's Flughafen Brandenburg in the east. Crossing the countryside, there were no big cities; just hundreds of tiny farm villages, fertile fields, windmills and aqueducts. With my aircraft's unusual paintjob, I couldn't help but imagining Allied bombers 75 years ago crossing this same landscape to drop bombs on the Third Reich. The area would have been covered with anti-aircraft guns, bombers going down in flames, and brave young airmen parachuting into these fields to die or go to prison camps.
Feb 23, 2021
Did some low level flying around Hamburg today seeing the sights. Here's a pic of me passing the 900 foot Heinrich Hertz Radio Tower at 300 feet. And check out this video shot as I buzzed along part of the waterfront at 100 feet!
Feb 22, 2021
After 23 hours and almost 6,000 miles, tonight I landed in Germany; the first person in my direct lineage to return to a homeland that my parents and grandparents fled 83 years ago. Before this part of my journey is done, I hope to grab a photo of their home in Munich, which was confiscated by the Nazis in 1938. Passing over Denmark flying south to Deutschland this afternoon, it was wonderful to see all the windmills that dotted the landscape everywhere!
Feb 20, 2021
Just a short flight today to the north of Denmark. I got my second Covid-19 vaccine yesterday at a clinic in Copenhagen, so I wanted to take it easy today. I flew over Copenhagen for a little while and then headed for Elsinore! This is the castle where Shakespeare's Hamlet took place. In the picture below you can see the coast of Sweden and the town of Helsingborg in the distance. I landed after less than an hour in the small town of Aalborg.
Feb 17, 2021
A beautiful day crossing the southern part of Sweden. I took off from Stockholm this morning under VFR. Keeping to low altitudes for my sightseeing, my first destination was the home of the Swedish royal family - Drottningholm Palace on Lovo Island in Lake Malaren. The palace grounds were snow-covered.
Next I overflew Gamla Stan, which is Stockholm's Old City. The houses are packed together, completely occupying this small island in the Riddarfjarden - one of the many fjords that permeate Stockholm.
Still in Stockholm, I took a turn over the Ericsson Globe, an enormous indoor sports and concert venue.
Departing the Stockholm airspace, I headed southeast over the Baltic Sea bound for Gotland Island. This is the biggest island in Sweden. It's famous for the medieval town of Visby with it's ruins and museum.
My last point of interest on Sweden's east coast was Kalmar Castle. This is a beautiful Renaissance castle occupying all of it's own island in the Kalmar Strait.
Now it was time to fly west to Sweden's border with Denmark - my next destination. During this flight i actually ran out of fuel due to sloppy pre-flight work. There were so many open fields that I was easily able to put the TBM down with no damage (thanks to reverse thrust). A local farmer helped me get fuel from a nearby small airport. I took off from the field and resumed my journey to Copenhagen.
Feb 16, 2021
A quick flight from Oslo, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden. I'll be doing a lot of exploration on my next leg, so I made this direct GPS night flight so I could rest up back in the passenger cabin tonight. At FL100, there was nothing to see in the blackness but billions of stars. I did the ILS 1L approach at my destination, and saw the lights of Stockholm for the first time as I broke through the clouds. It was my best landing yet.
Feb 13, 2021
This morning I flew south down most of the length of Norway's coastline, admiring the hundreds of fjords. I decided I'd only fly the full length of one - the Geiranger Fjord - because it is a World Heritage Site. Below you can see a video of the last 50 seconds of my low-level flight up that fjord. After that I flew inland to land at Oslo Lufthaven where ground control directed me to park next to one of the big boys (heavies). [Editor's note: because of today's bad weather forecast in Norway, I turned off the real weather and, in doing so, mistakenly turned off the snow cover on the ground.]
Feb 12, 2021
Just a short hop down the northwest coast of Norway today, sightseeing over the fjords and small villages. Here's a couple of shots - one just after takeoff and another shortly after landing:
Feb 10, 2021
Whew! After 4,000 miles of flying, I feel like I've just reached the starting point. I'm in Norway as I write this - my first European stop. It was a long, cold flight across the Norwegian Sea from Iceland. It was either dark or I was in the clouds for most of the flight, except for this one lovely moment just before sunset as I broke clear for a little while:
Feb 9, 2021
Started the day taking off from Iceland before dawn with icy wings and a snow-covered runway. ATC assigned me to 31,000 feet - the ceiling of my TBM. At that level I was enshrouded in dark clouds for the first half hour of the flight. Then, just as I was breaking out into the blue, an emergency light flashed indicating an unsafe drop in cabin pressure. I had to descend quickly and return to Iceland. I'll try to reach Norway again tomorrow.
Feb 8, 2021
Crossed Iceland from west to east today over a desolate but beautiful landscape. One site that stood out from my assigned flight level of 13,000 feet was pristine Lake Askja, 700 feet deep, in the maw of a dormant volcano. Next stop Norway!
Feb 6, 2021
Just a short VFR hop across the bay to Reykjavik today. I needed a part that wasn't available in Keflavik
Feb 5, 2021
My last flight without much scenery. I crossed the North Atlantic from Greenland to Iceland - my gateway to Europe! With no headwinds for the first time, I averaged a ground speed of 296 mph - best so far. Also, ATC assigned me the highest altitude I've flown so far - 8,000 ft. Tomorrow I'll explore Iceland!
Feb 4, 2021
Still haven't departed Greenland. I met this aircraft painter who agreed to repaint the TBM for me (again) in exchange for hitching a free ride to Iceland with me tomorrow for him and his SO. What do you think of my new livery?
Feb 2, 2021
I took off early this morning because the days are short this far north and my destination airport in Greenland didn't have an instrument approach. It took me over three hours to cross the empty Labrador Sea in an almost straight line, so I used my autopilot for most of the flight, following the flight plan I filed, and flying at the level assigned to me by ATC. Good thing my de-icing equipment worked since every cloud I went through encrusted me with ice! Next stop is Iceland where the explorations really begin!
Feb 1, 2021
Today's leg ended in disaster but was a huge success. How can that be? Well, I made my first "cold and dark" start, first topping of the TBM's fuel tanks at Deer Lake, Newfoundland, and then actually doing a real startup of my complex turbine-powered aircraft using all the pre-flight check lists. Before this I had let the software startup the aircraft.
Then I did my navaid and weather checks and filed my flight plan to Greenland.
I also learned to use reverse thrust for the first time, in order to back away from the fuel pumps, and taxied to the runway where I made my fatal mistake. I taxied onto the runway at it's center. Anxious to get going after all my time on the ground, I decided to take off using only half the runway. But this was my first take-off with all the extra weight of a full fuel load. I almost cleared the tree tops at the end of the runway when I died trying.
But I had a lot of fun learning lots of new stuff today!
Jan 31, 2021
My first IFR flight! And my first ILS approach and landing. After taking off from Prince Edward Island, it was a mostly over-water flight and I was assigned a level of 9,000 ft., well above a solid cloud layer so I left the flight to the autopilot.
The sun set behind me and I did the landing in Newfoundland in total darkness.
Jan 30, 2021
I left the US for the last time, departing Maine for Prince Edward Island at sunset.
Jan 23 - 28, 2021
I'm making this combined first entry because it was a learning time for me. All the flying was VFR and I left a lot of the work to my autopilot for this 336 mile flight from my home airport in Old Bridge, NJ to my final stop in the US in Portland, ME. Here's my beautiful $4 million Daher TBM 930, made in France and delivered to me in Military Spec Gray. I had to repaint it due to some software issues.
Let the journey begin!