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.

Approaching Hiroshima Ground Zero in my totally inappropriate livery
The same area in 1945: Aiming Point for B-29 Bombardier

January 16-17, 2022

From Okinawa it was time to head north and explore the home island of Japan. My destination would be the starting point for that exploration - Nagasaki. This was the site of the controversial second US atomic bombing at the end of WWII. I'd like to digress for one paragraph to talk about a terrible issue I have contemplated for most of my life.


Was it a war crime for the US to drop two atomic bombs on Japanese cities, ending the war at a cost of the death of over 150,000 Japanese civilians? Maybe. But consider some other numbers. The Japanese killed a staggering number of civilians in WWII: almost a million in the tiny Philippines alone; over 15 million civilians were slaughtered by Japanese troops in China. Each successive battle in our Pacific island-hopping campaign toward Japan resulted in higher US casualties: 10,000 to take Peleliu; followed by 27,000 to take Iwo Jima; and then finally the worst of all - 49,000 to take Okinawa. Everywhere the Japanese fought to the death despite knowing that the war was lost to them long ago. We estimated that US casualties to take Japan itself would be over a million soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines plus many millions of Japanese. Does saving millions of lives justify killing 150,000 civilians?


I divided this over-water journey in half and made a fuel and rest stop on the tiny island of Suwanosejima, home to a population of 48 people!

Pre-dawn take-off from Suwanosejima Island, Japan

My destination - Nagasaki Airport - is a fascinating construction occupying the entirety of a small island in Omura Bay, just north of the city. If you're following my flight on Google Earth (see link above), this is what it looks like from above:

And here I am on the ILS approach to runway 32:


January 12, 2022

This segment includes the final entry of my WWII remembrances with today's destination of Okinawa - the site of the last and bloodiest battles in the Pacific in WWII. It was also the last place of the USS Intrepid's combat actions during the war.

The evening before my departure from Shanghai, I took a quick loop around the city at dusk and made this video. I sped up the action 4X to keep the video short:

From Shanghai, I flew southeast across the East China Sea, and back to 1945 once more. Okinawa is a heart-breaking place. The Japanese were all but defeated when our forces landed on the island. Their Navy was no more. Their air forces had a few planes left, but no more experienced pilots - only young men who would each fly just one time as Kamikazes. Yet they fought to the death on Okinawa anyway. And the death toll was staggering: 20,000 US troops, 77,000 Japanese soldiers and 30,000 Okinawans died.

First I flew over Wana Ridge - the site of ferocious fighting documented in a famous WWII photograph of US Marines taking the ridge.

Wana Ridge, Okinawa in April 1945 and today

Then I overflew the Maeda Escarpment. This is the site where Private Desmond Doss, a Conscientious Objector and US Army Medic, saved the lives of 75 wounded men in his Company. It's better known as Hacksaw Ridge.

Doss received the Medal of Honor. Even the Japanese memorialized him at the location

While the battle raged on Okinawa, the USS Intrepid's planes provided air support until April 16. On that day a Kamikaze made it through the antiaircraft fire and smashed through the great ship's wooden flight deck, sending it home for repairs.

I ended the day landing at Kadena Air Base - the largest US Air Base in Asia.


January 10, 2022

Today I crossed the East China Sea from Taipei, Taiwan into Shanghai, China. Taiwan seems to have a serious air pollution problem. Here's what the capital city of Taipei looked like at dawn this morning as I flew over the Chang Kai Shek Memorial:

From Taipei I headed north, crossing the sea into China. I was sandwiched between the water below and a heavy cloud layer above the whole way. As I neared Shanghai, I had to pass through one big storm cloud and I snapped these two shots: as I was about to enter, and then on the other side:


January 7, 2022

I flew from Manila to Taiwan - all IFR at night - so nothing to show you. Terrific airspeed and fuel consumption at FL330, where this TBM is really meant to fly!


January 4, 2022

On a short flight today I headed north, spanning most of the Philippines to its capital - Manila. This will be my jumping off point for Taiwan and then Japan!

Here I am over Manila on a long upwind ready for landing at Aquino International

December 13-28, 2021

This next, combined part of my journey through the South Pacific is a remembrance of the horrific, bloody battles fought there in WWII; the island-hopping campaigns of the US Marines, the massive sea and air battles, and the 30 million human beings who perished there during the war.

Special thanks to David Giacomini, Manager of Volunteers at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in NYC for providing the flight plan and much of the research in this section of my flight blog!

My flight path (right to left) during this two week portion

My first leg was Guadalcanal to Rabaul: the principal Japanese military and naval base of the war. I took a path that paralleled "Operation Vengeance." The US, having broken the Japanese secret code, had learned that Admiral Yamamoto, the man most responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, would be flying from Rabaul to Bouganville. On the morning of April 18, 1943, as Yamamoto took off in a G4M "Betty" bomber, we launched 16 long-range P-38G Lightning fighters from the recently captured airfield on Guadalcanal. They successfully intercepted and shot down his plane. Yamamoto was killed as his stricken Betty went down in flames over the mountainous jungles of Bouganville. This was a significant morale boost for the Allies since the Japanese were still winning the war at this time.

Approaching Bouganville at the point where the interception occurred

Japanese (red), American (green) and my (yellow) flight paths

The next day it was north to Truk (now called Chuuk) in Micronesia. This was where the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) built a major naval base. On February 17, 1944, the USS Intrepid (CV-11) joined Task Group 58 as its planes attacked the IJN base in "Operation Hailstone." Truk is a huge atoll surrounding a lagoon filled with islands. Here are some carrier-based US Navy Helldivers in action that day:

This is a painting of Helldivers, maybe from Intrepid, bombing Japanese ships in the lagoon:

A large number of ships were sunk, and ground installations destroyed. Japan decided to abandon the base as indefensible. Unfortunately, the first night of the battle, Intrepid was torpedoed with the loss of 11 sailors. She made it back to Pearl Harbor and then on to California for repairs. She was back in action in 4 months. As a volunteer at the Intrepid Museum in NYC, she is special to me, and the next few thousand miles of my journey cover some of her history.

Because of the beauty of the islands and protected lagoon, as well as the huge number of sunken ships and planes there, today Chuuk has become a popular destination for ocean divers.

A WWII chart of military targets alongside a current diving chart identifying all the underwater wrecks

Looking southeast from the center of the lagoon as I near Weno Airport

On final approach to Weno (formerly Moen) Island Airport

Next, I took off from Truk bound for the Mariana Islands to the northwest. I had to change my aircraft livery for a short time due to a software conflict that arose recently. Here I am ready for a dawn take-off from Truk in my new livery:

First I overflew the island of Saipan where 4,000 US Marines gave their lives in 1944 to capture the island from 30,000 Japanese troops. Almost every Japanese soldier fought to the death and convinced the 2,000 Japanese civilians on the island to commit suicide. I overflew Suicide Cliff at the northern end of the island where hundreds of the island's residents hurled themselves to their deaths.

US Marines watch as civilians throw themselves off Suicide Cliff on Saipan
US Marines broadcast pleas to civilians not to jump from the cliffs
Flying over Suicide Cliffs at Marpi Point, now a memorial park

From here I turned to the south to overfly nearby Tinian Island. This is where we built a major airbase to begin the bombing of the Japan home islands with our new long-range B-29 Superfortresses. Here's what the airfield looked like right after its capture by US Marines in 1944:

This is what it looked like at the height of our bombing campaign in 1945:

B-29 Superfortresses take off from Tinian in 1945

And here's what it looks like today:

I kept heading southwest to my final destination for today's flight: Guam.

View from just behind the cockpit during my final descent and approach to Guam's airfield

The next day I took off from Guam and continued southwest to the site of another famous island-hopping battle - Peleliu. On my way there I overflew Ulithi, one of the largest atolls in the world consisting of 40 small islands surrounding an enormous lagoon which became the Allies' largest Naval Base in WWII. Just before the invasion of Okinawa, 722 ships were anchored there.

US Naval Base Ulithi within an atoll of the Caroline Islands during WWII

But of course the lagoon was deserted 76 years later as I flew over it today bound for Peleliu.

On September 15, 1944, the US 1st Marine Division landed at Peleliu to capture its airstrip. Two months later, with the loss of over 1,400 US Marines and soldiers plus 6,500 more wounded, the airstrip was ours. This proved fortunate for the USS Intrepid.

On November 25, 1944, Intrepid's worst day of the war, it was struck by two Kamikazes while 75 of its planes were in the air. Forty of those planes had to land at Tacloban in the Philippines (see the next segment of my flight), and from there on to our newly-captured airbase on Peleliu before reuniting with a repaired Intrepid at Ulithi.

Some of Intrepid's Air Group 18 aircraft parked at Peleliu on November 27, 1944

The field was deserted when I landed there at the end of today's flight:

Moments after my landing on Peleliu, Palau

From Peleliu I flew on to Leyte Island in the Philippines. This is where General Douglas MacArthur made his promised return on October 20, 1944. Here is the famous photo which captured the event:

MacArthur returns to the Philippines on October 20, 1944

And here I am over the spot where he came ashore. It's now MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial Park. I'm just about to enter my final approach for landing at Tacloban, a few miles up the beach:

My left wing directly over the spot where MacArthur waded ashore

MacArthur Park under my left wing and Tacloban's runway straight ahead

Where was the USS Intrepid as MacArthur came ashore? Pretty close by, steaming from Ulithi toward the biggest sea battle in history: the Battle of Leyte Gulf, just 4 days away. Here's a picture of Intrepid taken during the coming battle:


December 9, 2021

Five months after Pearl Harbor was bombed the Japanese and American navies engaged in the world's first aircraft carrier battle - in the Coral Sea in May 1942. Today I crossed the Coral Sea to make my way to the place where, three months later, America started its first land offensive of WWII: Guadalcanal. By the time the fighting was over, 1,600 US Marines and soldiers were dead, with three times that number wounded. All 24,000 of the Japanese defenders fought to their deaths. The main objective of taking Guadalcanal was the airfield there. Here's what it looked like in 1942, shortly after its capture:

Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands 1942

That was my destination today at the end of a 1,000 mile journey over the Coral Sea. Here's a shot I took from my drone as I idled at the beginning of the runway that so many had fought and died for:

Henderson Field (now Honiara International Airport) today

I had visited the WWII memorial in Washington, DC a few years ago. Amid all the grey granite slabs I spotted a bright red carnation lying on one of the many battle names inscribed there, and I took this photo:


December 7 - 8, 2021

I crossed beautiful New Zealand from south to north in one day. In March 2020 I tried to do it by land with my daughter Emily, only to have the trip of a lifetime interrupted by the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. So this was a bittersweet return. I spent the night in Milford Sound and departed the next morning at dawn:

It was winter "down under" and the mountainous southern part of the South Island was covered with snow:

At the north end of the island I sought out Lochmara Bay, which Emily and I had paddled the length of on our last full day in New Zealand before they kicked us out.

We paddled from our Lodge to the town of Picton at the far end of the fjord at the top

Here are some pictures from our trip:

The Lodge I'm flying over in the last pic, shown here from water level

Our paddling route as seen from the Lochmara Lodge the day before

Emily and I paddling across Lochmara Bay in March, 2020

Now it was time to say goodby to the pristine, almost pre-historic South Island and cross Cook Strait to the more populated North Island. There, I passed over a couple of famous volcanoes.

Mt Ruapehu, an active volcano. The name means "Exploding Pit" in Maori

My plane over Mt Ngauruhoe, called Mt Doom in the "Lord of the Rings" movies

I flew to the northeastern tip of the island to see the famous Cape Brett Lighthouse which guided South Pacific sailors into New Zealand's northern ports.

Rounding the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula and its historic lighthouse

I landed at the northern-most airfield in New Zealand - at a town called Kaitaia. Here I got some sleep and filled the tanks for the 1,000 mile Pacific crossing the next day to New Caledonia.

Leaving New Zealand over its northern-most border

Unfortunately I encountered strong headwinds at all altitudes on my way north. It became evident that I was not going to make it to my planned landing on New Caledonia's main island. So I cancelled my IFR flight plan and descended to a small airfield on the tiny island of Ile des Pins (Island of Pines). After landing I had fun making this short video of the little island. I spliced together some footage I made from Google Earth with some of my own drone footage:


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 layer that gave me a 50 knot tailwind for part of the flight, giving me a ground speed of 368 mph! Most of the desert I passed over now had the red color that distinguishes it from the other deserts of the world.

Very low on fuel, I finally had the southern coast and Adelaide in sight. Here I am taxiing past the control tower to my designating parking with about half an hour's worth of fuel left in my tanks.

Here's a satellite view of the path I flew today across the Australian Outback

The red color of Australia's desert can be seen from space

November 1 - 13, 2021

I've documented this period as one entry since it was fairly uneventful. Because of the large expanse of oceans and jungles that I crossed, I flew IFR most of the time so that I could take advantage of high-level airways which offer faster flight and lower fuel consumption. Basically this was a 2,000+ mile flight from Singapore to Australia with two fuel and rest stops in Indonesia.

I left Singapore before sunrise heading east. Here was the view from my cockpit at 25,000 feet:

I flew over Sumatra and then the Java Sea, to land in Jakarta late in the day. Fueled up and with a night's rest, I departed Jakarta at dawn the next morning:

On the way to my next fuel stop I passed over the island of Bali and took this shot as I flew over Mount Agung, an active volcano that last erupted only three years ago and, at 10,000 feet is the highest point in Bali:

Running low on fuel again I let down on the Indonesian island of Sumba at a small airport in the town of Tambolaka. This was my last stop in Southeast Asia since landing on the USS Midway at Dixie Station over a month ago.

I flew over the Timor Sea and into Beagle Gulf. My final destination for this leg was Darwin, Australia. Darwin, of course, is named for Charles Darwin, and the Gulf is named for his ship, HMS Beagle. I made landfall well after dark under an incredibly star-filled southern hemisphere night sky (try to view this on a big, bright screen).

Approaching Darwin, Australia over Beagle Gulf

October 23, 2021

Just a short leg today from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. But I took a little time to fly over downtown Singapore and explore. I made this short video of that final part of my flight before I landed, and posted it on YouTube. Check it out by clicking here.

While I was in Singapore, I rented this cool old WWII-era tri-motor Junkers JU52. Here I am flying it low and slow over a container port in Singapore harbor at high noon.


October 14, 2021

I took off from the flight deck of the USS Midway this morning, returning to 2021 from 1975 (see prior entry for time-travel explanation).

Preparing for take off from the CV-41 flight deck

I just managed to get enough airspeed to stay out of the South China Sea. Check it out:

Then I headed southwest across the South China Sea bound for Malaysia. It was a little out of the way, but is part of my overall plan to explore Australia and New Zealand later. Since there was nothing much to see I filed an IFR flight plan so I could use the high level airways that allow my TBM to fly much faster. I cancelled the plan and descended when I hit the Malaysian coast so I could do a little exploring at lower altitudes. Like this fly-by (fly-through?):

As the sun began to set, I passed over Kuala Lumpur once more on my way to Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport.

Banking past the Telecom Malaysia Tower

October 8, 2021

This portion of my trip is historically memorable for those like me who grew up in the Vietnam War era. I departed Kunming China this morning heading south for Vietnam. My first waypoint was Hanoi. I took this picture over the part of the city containing Truc Bach Lake, where Senator John McCain landed after parachuting from his stricken A4 Skyhawk in 1967.

Circled area where McCain came down and where a monument to him now stands

This is the monument to McCain's capture that now stands on the dike seen above:

From Hanoi I banked west over the jungles of Laos and my fuel stop at Khon Kaen Thailand which would enable me to complete today's very long journey. Here's my TBM parked on the ramp in the general aviation area waiting for the fuel truck to come top me up:

Before returning to south Vietnam (and Dixie Station) I now had enough fuel to overfly a couple of historic temples. This one is in Bangkok, Thailand. It's a very colorful city, by the way. I just wanted to highlight the temple complex in this picture:

Wat Pho - Temple of the Reclining Buddha on Rattanakosin Island in Bangkok

Now it was time to head east. Passing over Cambodia I diverted to Angor Wat, a 900 year-old temple complex that is probably the most famous destination in Cambodia (it's even on the Cambodian flag). It's also another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The water seen in this pic is part of the huge moat which surrounds the temple complex

I pointed my aircraft east to Ho Chi Minh City - the Communist name for what the world used to know as Saigon. I got there just before the sun set and the city was bathed in golden light. Here I am passing over the former Tan Son Nhut US Airbase.

Tan Son Nhut Airbase in 1963 viewed from helicopter gunship

Finally, the most exciting part of my trip. I headed east into the South China Sea and back in time to 1975. Just after sunset, I landed my TBM on the deck of the USS Midway (CV-41). I thought this moment deserved a video instead of a photograph:

Apologies: My "Tonkin Gulf" descriptor in the video is incorrect. This is Dixie, not Yankee Station.


September 23, 2021

I left Mt Everest before dawn this morning for my flight east through Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and into China. The departure from the short, downhill runway at Lukla was terrifying as the darkness and the slope of the runway made it look like I was flying into a void.

Into the Abyss!

I made it safely out of the valley. Since the altitude was so high and the runway so short, I decided to depart with minimal fuel to lighten my load and make a fuel stop at Paro, Bhutan just 170 miles away. I topped up the tanks there and took off just as the sun was rising.

The rest of the flight was over desolate mountain range after mountain range. There seems to be very little development in this part of the world.

Skimming the mountain peaks entering Western China over a rare sign of human life

The Chinese didn't give me any trouble entering their airspace and landing. It's interesting to note however that Kunming Airport, where I landed, is invisible on Google Maps!

Parked at my gate at Kunming, Airport in China

September 15, 2021

I crossed northeastern India into Nepal and the Himalayas in thunderstorms. I had to constantly climb above the weather, and also because I didn't want to run into any peaks. Here's a shot as I came out of one storm mass, only to head into another one.

If you look close you can see all the ice on my TBM. I finally left the bad weather behind me as I approached Everest and made my final climb to 29,000 feet to skim past it's summit.

Cresting Mt Everest

Since the weather was good I decided to try my luck landing in Lukla at the famous Tenzing-Hillary Airport. This is a very short strip in a steep valley near the Everest base camps. It's where climbers frequently fly into. Watch this film I made of my approach and landing (with full reverse thrust on the roll out) to see how unforgiving this airfield is.

Check out this satellite view of the area to help you imagine what it's like navigating and flying from Everest to Lukla!


September 9, 2021

Today I just took a short flight south from Delhi to Agra. But architecturally-speaking, my flight spanned 350 years! Departing Delhi I circled around the amazing Lotus Temple built in 1986. It's resemblance to a lotus flower opening on top of a lily pad is amazing.

Delhi's Lotus Temple almost doesn't look real!

Under cloudy skies, I followed the meandering Yamuna River all the way from Delhi to Agra.

Before landing at Agra Airport, I followed the river past the Taj Mahal, built in 1643 - another UNESCO World Heritage Site on my tour. Since the view from the front has been photographed so often, I snapped this picture as I flew past the back!

Rear of the Taj Mahal with the Yamuna below me and Agra in the distance

September 4, 2021

I began this leg with a late night IFR take-off from Karachi underneath massive thunderstorms. Here, a lightning bolt to my rear lights up my plane and the overhead clouds as I approach a huge windmill farm in northern India below me:

Here's another shot I took from ahead, just as a massive bolt of lightning lit up the clouds and landscape below:

As I approached Delhi, I wasn't sure I could handle landing in the thunderstorms which were continuing. So in a rare departure from reality, I turned them off, cancelled by IFR flight plan and did an easy landing under CAVU skies.

After landing at Indira Gandhi International in Delhi, ground control directed me to this parking spot where I radioed for a fuel truck. Here's a short video I took of the process (which I haven't shared before):


August 30, 2021

Today was an uneventful straight-line flight eastward from Dubai, across the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, to Karachi. As I left the UAE, I entered Omani airspace and discovered the Al Hajar Mountains along its east coast.

I skirted Iran, wanting to avoid any anti-aircraft fire due to my "Great Satan" paint job.

This is the closest I dared to get to Iran

Next I passed over an interesting landform called a Tombolo Peninsula, or Tied Island. It was the town of Gwadar, Pakistan. It's being developed as a unique deep water port as part of China's One Belt, One Road initiative.

Note the mainland on the left and the "tied island" on the right forming two deep bays

The most interesting thing about my whole flight was an incredible coincidence. The day after filing my flight plan to Karachi's Jinnah International Airport, I did a NY Times crossword puzzle with the clue: Home of Jinnah International Airport. I swear!

Central Karachi on my approach to Jinnah International Airport

August 20, 2021

With today's flight from Jerusalem to Dubai, I have now spanned a full hemisphere of Earth with 67 hours of flight time. This was my longest segment ever and I broke it up with a fuel stop in Jubail, at a Saudi naval airbase near the Persian Gulf. Flying over the Gulf, I approached the United Arab Emirates coastline at sunset. First I passed over the incredible artificial archipelago called Palm Jebel Ali.

The Palm Jebel Ali archipelago in Dubai, UAE

Before landing at Dubai's Al Maktoum airport, I couldn't resist a fly-by of the tallest building in the world:

Passing the Burj Khalifa tower - tallest building in the world!

August 14, 2021

A momentous segment today flying from Libya, across northern Egypt (making a fuel stop in Cairo), over the Gaza Strip and ending in Jerusalem: from the Pyramids to the Temple Mount!

Yes, that's me winging my way between the Pyramids of Khufu and Khafre at Giza in Egypt. From there I flew due east over Cairo, and on to the city of Suez, where I turned to the north to fly over the full 120 mile length of the Suez Canal.

Banking north at the Suez entrance to the Canal
Northbound over the Suez Canal

Exiting the Canal at the Mediterranean Sea, I turned east again toward Israel, making landfall over the Gaza Strip where I turned north again for Jerusalem and my landing at the small Jerusalem Airport. I did not encounter any anti-aircraft fire!


Location, location, location. Imagine the prosperous biblical destinations and resort towns Gaza could host if only the fighting stopped.

The Old City of Jerusalem and its Temple Mount

Although it looks highly detailed from 2,000 feet AGL, it seemed to me that the level of ground detail of Israel provided by Asobo in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is much less than I've become accustomed to flying over other countries!


August 4, 2021

Just a short flight across the Mediterranean today from Tripoli to Benghazi. Before I landed, I circled the former US Consulate compound where 4 Americans died on September 11, 2012 when the Consulate was attacked by Islamic militants during the Libyan civil war.


June 21, 2021

I'll confess that my first departure from Atar to cross the Sahara ended in disaster due to my poor planning. Here I am about 75% of the way through the flight a few weeks ago:

With the plane's autopilot on, I left my computer cockpit for a few hours only to return and find this wreck with empty fuel tanks. So after a few weeks to make repairs, I returned to Atar and tried again today. I took off at dawn on my longest flight - from Atar to Tripoli, Libya. With proper planning this time, I requested FL290 where I was able to take advantage of a 70 knot direct tail wind. This gave me an average ground speed over 400 mph and let me cover the 1,800 miles to Tripoli without a fuel stop even though that's more than the rated range of the TBM!

Over eastern Mauritania, I passed near the amazing Eye of Sahara. Over 25 miles in diameter it was originally thought to be caused by a meteor strike. It's now known to be the result of a volcanic burp at the time that Pangea split apart 200 million years ago!

Eye of Sahara

As I approached my destination and saw the waves of the Mediterranean splashing on "the shores of Tripoli," I got a lump in my throat thinking of the brave US Marines who fought Barbary Pirates there over 200 years ago.

... to the shores of Tripoli

May 23, 2021

The Portuguese island of Madeira (source of Madeira wine) off the coast of Western Africa is magnificent. I started the day circumnavigating this beautiful place which is actually the top of an ancient volcano. From the air it seems like everyone here lives either at sea-level or a mile up:

Typical Madeiran coastline with a village near the top and another at the bottom

After circling Madeira I flew south to the Canary Islands of Spain. Here's a parting shot of me leaving lush Madeira behind:

You might think that the Canaries are named after the birds of the same name or vice versa, but get ready for a shock. Their name comes from the Latin word Canariae, meaning Dogs! Ancient inhabitants worshipped dogs and the place became known as "Islands of the Dogs!"

Low on fuel, I landed at the western-most island and refueled at La Palma. Then I headed due east to return to Africa. In the shot below, I had to climb to 7,000 feet to make it safely over the highest peak at the center of Grand Canary:

After another long water-crossing, I touched down during a gorgeous desert sunset at Laayoune Airport on the western edge of the Sahara Desert - my next exploration!


May 22, 2021

I decided to take a little detour today and headed west out over the Atlantic again to visit Madeira. I landed just after sunset. When I taxied over to my assigned parking area, there was my Savage Cub, parked and waiting for me to use for some sightseeing tomorrow.


May 13, 2021

From Barcelona, I bid Europe good-bye, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar into Africa! First stop just had to be where we left Rick and Louis over 80 years ago: Casablanca, Morocco.

The Rock of Gibraltar with NW Africa in the distance
On final approach to Casablanca International Airport
"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

May 12, 2021

Resumed my flight today after time off to do some some sightseeing around Europe. Did my longest and highest leg today, covering over 1,000 miles at FL310. The thin air allowed me to achieve my highest speed yet, showing one of the strengths of the TBM 930. Cabin pressurization couldn't keep up, however. Had to use oxygen masks for over an hour.

Crossing the English Channel as the sun rose 6 miles up

Before landing in Barcelona, I checked out my favorite building in all the world, designed by Antoni Gaudi :

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

And here's an interior shot I took when I was there (on the ground) a couple of years ago:


Mar 23, 2021

Wales - a beautiful, quiet, green, rainy country. Here's a look at my flight planning program showing the route I planned for today:

After entering the data into this program, I load it directly into my Garmin 3000 navigation computer onboard my plane. Then I can let the autopilot follow the route while I'm sightseeing out the window or from my drone. Or I can take the stick and refer to the moving map display in my instrument panel (scroll down to day 1 to see what that looks like) to keep me from getting lost. When I choose to file a flight plan with the authorities, I can do so directly from the Garmin as well! I flew down to Cardiff (the capital of Wales) first:

Cardiff Castle off my left wing-tip and Principality Stadium at my nose

From Cardiff I turned north, first to the Caernarfon Castle - a huge 11th century medieval fortress:

...and from there on to the famed Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, another World Heritage Site. This 200 year-old waterway was to be part of a Welsh canal system that would service long, thin boats. It's the longest aqueduct in Great Britain.

From here I turned to the northwest to end my day at the top of England - my next exploration. This part of my day's flight was almost always obscured by heavy clouds with occasional breaks to give me glimpses of the countryside.

A rare break in the cloud cover over northern Wales

I mistakenly crossed the border back into Scotland rather than landing near Manchester where I had intended, landing at a small airfield in the town of Duns. Ready for England!


Mar 17, 2021

Ireland on St. Patrick's Day! What an incredibly beautiful country. This was my longest over-land flight, spending almost 3 hours crossing back and forth over the luscious green countryside. I took off from the Isle of Man this morning, crossing the Irish Sea to explore the coast of Northern Ireland first.

Flying along the coastline of Northern Ireland

Then I turned south to see the capitals of the two Irelands: Belfast in Northern Ireland and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. In Belfast, I buzzed the Shipyards where the Titanic was built, having some fun with the massive Krupp-built Samson & Goliath cranes:

On the way south to Dublin, I passed over Newgrange, another of the World Heritage Sites on my itinerary. It's a Stone Age temple in the Boyne Valley, built over 5,000 years ago!

The Stone Age temple called Newgrange

Then over the sprawling city of Dublin and a low-level fly-by of Dublin Castle:

Now I turned inland from the Irish Sea and explored the diverse central part of the country, seeing farms, more castles and mountains:

At the Atlantic coast, I turned east once again to explore the southern part of the country before crossing St. George's Channel to my destination airport in Wales. Here are two of the many sights I saw in this final leg of today's flight:

Blarney Castle, home of the "Stone of Eloquence"

That's the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge, named after JFK's mother. It's the longest bridge in Ireland. It crosses the River Barrow, and was just constructed in 2020! Next stop: Wales!


Mar 15, 2021

Ten days on the ground in frigid Kirkwall, Scotland while I rested up and waited for snow storms to abate. Today I explored a snow-covered Scottish landscape. Although the whole country is only 274 miles from north to south, I logged 653 miles zig-zagging all over. First down the North Sea Coast past the Hoy Cliffs, south to Edinburgh, then west to Glasgow (where I flew up the River Clyde at 200 mph, 100 feet above the water), way up north again to the beautiful Isle of Skye, and then south again, passing over the quaint village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, and finally leaving Scotland to land on the Isle of Man - the British dependency that's not part of any country. Humans have lived there for over 8,000 years. It was the first government on the planet to give women the right to vote!


Mar 5, 2021

I filled the tanks to the brim this morning in anticipation of a lot of flying today. Then I headed northwest through the Rhineland, passing over Cologne on my way to Belgium.

As I neared the city center, I launched my drone cam and took this short video:

I passed over the famous Cologne Cathedral whose construction began 800 years ago! It's a World Heritage Site and the most-visited landmark in Germany. I took a shot from the cockpit and another from my drone.

Into Belgium where I did a low pass over Brussels, snapping this shot of the Atomium - a giant walk-through representation of an iron atom. The parking lot was pretty empty, I guess due to the Covid-19 virus.

I kept winging north, into The Netherlands. As I passed over the beautiful old portion of Amsterdam, I sent my drone way up to capture a large portion of this amazing canal-ringed city. Here's a challenge for you: See if you can find my plane in this photo, flying just above roof-top level (hint: easier on a big screen). Send me a comment if you can find it!

At last it was time to depart the European Continent (for now), and a long flight over the North Sea to Scotland - my first stop in the UK! Here's a shot of the Dutch coastline as I said goodbye to Northern Holland:


Mar 1, 2021

Today was my last day over Germany, crossing from east to west along the mountainous southern border with Austria. My first destination was the famous Hohensalzburg Fortress overlooking the city of Salzburg, Austria. I'm planning to really examine Austria in a few weeks, but the 1,000 year-old Fortress is only 5 miles over the German border, and I was in the neighborhood!

Next it was time to start climbing to reach Hitler's famous Eagle's Nest overlooking Berchtesgarden. The refuge was built by the Nazi's in 1937 on a 6,000 foot peak. Hitler didn't really like it because he was afraid of heights. Many of you may have seen it in the final episode of Band of Brothers depicting its capture by the soldiers of E Company of the 506th Regiment