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MM

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  1. Good to see you enjoying the old girl. Blue Skies!
  2. RTW80 Leg 21. Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky Yelizovo - Anchorage. UHPP-PANC. 2022-02-08 To continue our journey, we continue with the crew from Northwest Orient Airlines. This time we have an early morning departure to cross the Bering Sea. The length of time in darkness over the water was long enough to get a good start on War and Peace. The first half of the trip was under clear star-studded night skies. It was a delight to see the sun peeking over the horizon. Northwest's meteorologists, led by Dan Sowa, pioneered the first clear-air turbulence forecasting system in 1957, important since the airline flew many northern routes over turbulence-prone mountain areas. Northwest remained a leader in turbulence prediction, providing TPAWS (turbulence prediction and warning services) to other airlines. After consulting with these crack meteorologists, we decided against the direct route to Anchorage, instead angling southeast and passing over St Paul Island. A low pressure system sat along our route and threatened to confront us with serious Arctic headwinds from the northeast. This re-routing decision added about 60nm to our journey but aimed to minimize the headwinds on the first part of the crossing and, more dramatically, to catch the substantial winds off the Pacific that were roaring along the Aleutians toward Anchorage. Of course, the question was whether the wind forecasts would be realized in the real world. In the event, the headwinds were modest for the early portion and then we did catch the edge of the jet stream across the northern Pacific. Heading to North America and the United States, we might consider Northwest's domestic airline fortunes. At the time of the 1950s-1960s extension of the routes into the Asian Pacific, Northwest continued its strong position along the northern rim of the US running from New York to Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle. Adapting to new opportunities, the 1970s management team added routes from the upper Midwest westward to Hawaii and southward to various Florida destinations – to serve the growing waves of wintertime holiday travelers seeking relief from snow and leaden skies in the surf and sunshine. While the management was conservative in its business decisions, it did keep up the technology and aircraft adoptions. The onset of deregulation, however, changed the environment for Northwest as it did other US airlines at the time. United acquired Pan Am's transpacific operations and its competition threatened Northwest's lucrative "Orient" routes. Management reacted and "merged" with Republic and set up a Midwestern feeder network for flights to the west coast and to Asia. (The merger proved operationally difficult but seems to have worked out in the end.) In 1989, the airline was purchased in a leveraged buyout by an investment group. The attendant monumental debt forced the sale of much of the fleet and the company's holdings in Tokyo. In addition, it had to force repeated employee wage cuts which only exacerbated its already difficult labor relations conflict. Through the 1990s, Northwest managed to increase its competitiveness in the industry, on both domestic and international routes. However, the industry's hard times associated with the 911 attacks and the Gulf War hit Northwest especially hard. The airline declared bankruptcy in 2005. It was merged into Delta in 2008. At the time of the merger, Northwest was the nation's sixth largest passenger airline. And it was the largest air cargo carrier among the country's airlines. Finally, we reached Alaska. Descent over the crisp snow-covered Mount Redoubt, a frequently active stratovolcano. Just to our right is icy Tuxedni Bay opening up into Cook Inlet. Turning over Kenai to fly the approach into Anchorage International. The first aircraft to fly in the Anchorage area was a Boeing seaplane which had been shipped to Anchorage in pieces, aboard an Alaska Steamship Company freighter. This plane, owned by an Anchorage World War I aviator named C.O. Hammertree, was reassembled and prepared for flight in April, 1922. The first flight occurred on a day Cook Inlet was free of ice – pilot Roy Troxell flew the seaplane a few hundred feet into the air, circled around the Inlet and crashed into the mud flats. He was not hurt, but Anchorage’s first plane was demolished. (Alaska Aviation Museum) Not a great start. But Anchorage has become a major center for aviation. Landing on Runway 7L with a bit of a tailwind. No worries on the long runway. Anchorage International Airport (AIA) is Anchorage's third city airport. The first, Delaney Park, was quickly overrun by the city's growth. The second, Merrill Field, became Alaska's major airport with two runways and all-weather facilities, but it too became surrounded by the city and its expansion was restricted. (Merrill is now an incredibly busy GA airfield, one of the busiest in the world.) The new AIA was opened in 1953 to provide an attraction for international aviation to use Anchorage as a stopover point. It functionally replaced transport carriers prior reliance on Elmendorf AFB. The new airport served as a focal point for the Circle Routes from the US to Japan and Asia. And, soon enough, for the polar Great Circle Routes between Europe and Asia as well. By 1960, Anchorage had become the "Air Crossroads of the World." In 1964 the airport was severely damaged by the Good Friday Earthquake (9.2 on the Richter scale). The terminal and tower had to be rebuilt. But with the 1970s frenzy of Alaska Pipeline air activity, the airport quickly grew and developed with an additional lengthened runway and another new terminal. International travel increased through the 20th century ... and then leveled off as modern jets could handle polar routes non-stop. However, US-Asia air cargo grew explosively and Anchorage became a choice stopover point for distribution and sorting operations. Nowadays, AIA is the second busiest cargo hub in the US (behind only the Fedex operation at Memphis). Parked at Anchorage surrounded by Alaska Airlines craft. Summary: Date: 2022-02-08 Route: UHPP-PANC Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 6:35 Leg Distance: 1,767nm Total Time: 49:41 Total Distance: 12,510nm
  3. RTW80 Leg 20. Kushiro – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Yelizovo. RJCK-UHPP. 2022-02-07 To continue our journey, we join a crew from Northwest Orient Airlines. We shall head for Yelizovo Aiport at Petropovlosk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka Peninsula. (A well known stopover for RTW racers.) Our Northwest crew members are familiar with the northern route connecting North America and Asia through Japan. Experienced Northwest Orient Airlines crew is ready to depart from Kushiro. Northwest Airlines started as a mail-runner in biplanes but quickly developed into a regional Minneapolis-based airline in the upper Midwest that eventually extended its reach along its mail route from Minneapolis to Seattle. In the 1940s it flew DC-3s, DC-4s, and Martin 202s throughout the region. However, the airline had ambitions for its imagined "Great Circle" route through Alaska and over the Pacific to Japan and the Asian rim. In 1931, along with Pan American, it had sponsored Anne and Charles Lindbergh's remarkable exploratory flights along that route. And during World War II it put some effort in getting government contracts to supply the US military effort in Alaska and the Aleutians. The company not only flew the route, but built the infrastructure. It was at that time that Northwest started painting its tails bright red in order to increase visibility in the harsh northern climate. So when the war ended, Northwest's Arctic experience made it ready to invest in the northern route to Japan. The US government agreed. Both Northwest and Pan American won the concessions to fly routes between the US and Japan. For Northwest, this was the main chance and they took it. They established a hub at Haneda and flew regular routes along the Great Circle route. The effort began in 1947 with DC-4s flying three times a week through Anchorage and Shemya Island in the Aleutians. In two years the airline introduced B377 Stratocruisers for the route. And then in 1954 it started to phase in DC-6Bs to replace the Boeings. These were, in turn, replaced by DC-7Cs. Northwestern worked closely with their Japanese counterparts and were instrumental in the early development of Japan Airlines – supplying aircrews, equipment and training. These relationships, built over decades, lasted a lifetime. Northwestern became the largest foreign airline to serve Japan. It won and exercised "fifth freedom" rights to carry passengers from and via Tokyo to other Asian destinations such as Seoul, Taipei, Manila, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. In the 1960s, the company introduced B707s and B720s and put them on the Great Circle transpacific route – which now included non-stop flights. And it turned to the B747 when it became available in the 1970s. In its public stance, if not its legal name, Northwest became Northwest Orient Airlines. Over the years (until its merger with Delta), Northwest carried more passengers across the Pacific Ocean than any other American airline. Climbing out over Hokkaido This trip to Kamchatka should be a long but uneventful voyage at high altitude over water. And for a couple of hours, it was an opportunity to practice good airmanship in keeping the Douglas on course and on schedule. Maybe too routine. Clouds approaching Kamchatka About 90 minutes from the Yelizovo things got more interesting. The local weather station suddenly reported the onset of a heavy snowstorm with visibility of less than one-quarter mile and a ceiling of 750 feet. Naturally, Yelizovo has an ILS and a long concrete runway. Everything should be fine. However, especially with the DC-6's quirky autopilot system, things could get interesting. We spent a good hour plotting various ways to handle the ongoing blizzard with its winds and near whiteout conditions. (There are no good alternative airports nearby.) Looks like the weather might be clearing except for the dense clouds just over the airport. Is there a snowstorm under those clouds or not? The good news is 48kts crosswinds but no blizzard In the event, the snowstorm passed through the valley and visibility was just fine. On approach, we had 35-40kts crosswinds just for entertainment purposes. This was a surprise because the revised METAR had only modest winds from the north. Only when we got below 1,500 ft did the winds taper off and match the reporting station. So, easy peasy. Crabbing as the fierce crosswinds started to diminish Yelizovo is the airport for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The city of 180,000 is the administrative and cultural center of Kamchatka. It sits on hills and is surrounded by volcanoes. Across the sheltered Avacha Bay is Russia's largest submarine base. During the Soviet era, Petropavlovsk was known for its fish, especially its salmon and crabs. Since 1993, the fishing industry has been privatized and much has been sold to foreign interests. In addition, apparently, there is considerable poaching of salmon for their eggs – with the laws only indifferently enforced. The airport serves as a Russian air force base with (it seems) MiG-31s based there along with a number of turboprop transports. The civilian side is more busy than you might think. A new runway extension was completed in 2012 and a new terminal is scheduled for 2023. Even in the pandemic year 2020, there were 5,000 airline departures from Yelizovo, most on B777 and A319/A320 aircraft to 19 regularly scheduled destinations. Aeroflot, S7 Airlines and Aurora top the passenger lists. Parked near Rossiya ship Summary: Date: 2022-02-07 Route: RJCK-UHPP Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 3:42 Leg Distance: 869nm Total Time: 43:06 Total Distance: 10,743nm
  4. RTW80 Leg 19. Tokyo Haneda-Kushiro. RJTT-RJCK. 2022-02-06 Our third leg in Japan, here to Hokkaido's Kushiro. We'll stay with our Japanese Airlines crew as JAL regularly flies the RJTT-RJCK route. They will know how to make a proper turn over downtown Tokyo. Turning over central Tokyo. The old Tokyo Tower, the Diet buildings, the Emperor's Palace. Snowy winter day in northern Honshu. Finals into Kushiro. Kushiro (at 190,000) is the largest city on the eastern end of Hokkaido. It has long been an important port because it is more reliably ice-free than other harbors on the island or on the Russian mainland. For that reason, it was a target for the Russian Tsars who needed ports for their imperial designs. (After WWII, the Soviets tried to claim the city as their reward for their late entry into the Asian war. The US prevented the move.) In the last century, it has become economically important because of the growth of commercial fishing and the concomitant need for wintertime ice-free fishing harbors. Rather nice little regional airport. Kushiro Airport opened in 1961 and has since expanded and upgraded the runway and added a Category III instrument landing system. The newish (1998) passenger terminal is three times the original and employs three boarding gates. This is mainly a domestic airport but it does serve international charter flights to South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Parked next to another Japan Airlines craft at the third of Kushiro's Boarding Gates. Summary: Date: 2022-02-07 Route: RJTT-RJCK Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 2:04 Leg Distance: 497nm Total Time: 39:24 Total Distance: 9,874nm
  5. Thanks. We're lucky to have had all these livery artists share their work with us. - Mike
  6. RTW80 Leg 18. Nagasaki-Tokyo Haneda. RJFU-RJTT. 2022-02-05 Today we continue on Japan Airlines from Nagasaki to Tokyo Haneda. Wheels Up as we depart Nagasaki to the light of the rising sun in the east Cruising at 19,500 ft with quartering tailwinds from 60 to 110kts. Rather speedy flight, but the winds generated a considerable amount of turbulence. The food service was a little shaky. Here is Kansai in Osaka Bay. Completed in 1994, this was the first of the new island airports built after Nagasaki twenty years before. Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to find enough uncontested land to build a new airport – so the only feasible option is to build artificial islands. Kansai is now the principle international airport in the greater Osaka region. Here is a little story about the now world-famous JAL "crane" logo – with a little bit of irony mixed into the plot line. The JAL livery is called the Tsurumaru or "crane circle." This is an image of a Japanese red-crown crane with its wings extended in full flight. The Tsurumaru JAL logo was created in 1958 by Jerry Huff, the creative director at Botsford, Constantine and Gardner of San Francisco, which had been the advertising agency for Japan Airlines from its earliest days. JAL had used several logos up until 1958. When the airline arranged to buy new Douglas DC-8s, it decided to create a new official logo for the inauguration of its jet service worldwide. In his notes on the creation of the logo, Jerry Huff writes, “Japan Air Lines was a dream account primarily because they trusted us completely, even going to great lengths to make sure I understood Japanese culture and its arts by sending me on an extensive tour of all its existing routes. I was exposed to the culture further while shooting the "Culture" magazine ad campaign, where we photographed Japan Air Lines stewardesses in full kimonos in twenty locations throughout Japan. I felt I knew Japan as well as any American ad man could.” In the creation of the logo, Huff was inspired by the personal crests of Samurai families. In a book he'd been given, We Japanese, he found pages of crests, including the crane. On his choice of the crane, he writes: "I had faith that it was the perfect symbol for Japan Airlines. I found that the Crane myth was all positive—it mates for life (loyalty), and flies high for miles without tiring (strength.)" Although the presentation team from Botsford, Constantine and Gardner believed their logo to be the only one in contention, they arrived at the final presentation meeting to discover that JAL had also sought logo entries from other firms. Discussions about the logo continued for three days. In Huff’s notes, he states that the president of JAL made the final decision, and chose the logo not because of its expression of Japanese culture, but rather because he felt an American agency would have the best understanding of the American market, which was the main focus of the logo campaign. [Logopedia] The Tsurumaru livery was in use until 2002, when it was replaced by a livery called the "Arc of the Sun." The livery featured the motif of a rising sun on a creamy parchment-colored background. But then came the bankruptcy. After its corporate restructuring in 2011, Japan Airlines returned to the classic Tsurumaru logo. Approaching the Tokyo region, we get some good views of Mount Fuji. (It is often obscured by clouds.) A poster shot. Finals into Haneda Runway 34L with the downtown center of Tokyo in the background. Most of the airport, including the two main terminals and three of the four runways, is on reclaimed land that was not present thirty years ago. Just below the aircraft is the Kaze no To "tower of wind" for the Aqua-Line bridge-tunnel that crosses Tokyo Bay. The tower supplies air to the tunnel with a ventilation system powered by the bay's almost-constant winds. Haneda is the home hub for both JAL (Japan Airlines) and ANA (All Nippon Airways) who are fierce competitors. Terminal 1 is mainly JAL and Terminal 2 is mainly ANA. Our Douglas is headed for the gate at Terminal 1. Haneda can be a little crowded...handling 87 million passengers annually it is the fourth-busiest in the world. Unloading at the gate. Summary: Date: 2022-02-05 Route: RJFU-RJTT Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 1:45 Leg Distance: 528nm Total Time: 37:20 Total Distance: 9,377nm
  7. How to delete a post?
  8. RTW80 Leg 17. Shanghai Hongqiao-Nagasaki. ZSSS-RJFU. 2022-02-03 Today we take Japan's long time world-class airline, Japan Airlines, from Shanghai to Nagasaki. Our departure takes us over central Shanghai. Pudong on the left, the Bund on the right of the Huang Po River. Japan Air Lines (JAL) was founded in 1951 as a private company and began flying DC-3s, DC-4s, and Martin 202s on domestic routes. It was soon reorganized in 1953 as a semi-government corporation as the official "flag carrier" of the new Japan. By the end of the year, the fledgling JAL network extended northward to Sapporo and westward to Fukuoka. The next year, with new DC-6Bs, the new airline initiated international flights starting with the Tokyo-Wake-Honolulu-San Francisco route. (It first advertised its American flight crew for this flight, presumably to reassure Western customers. Within a couple of years, of course, Japanese captains and full flight crews were the norm.) By 1960, using DC-6Bs and DC-7Cs JAL had expanded its service to other cities in the United States, to Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. With the arrival of the jet age, JAL turned to DC-8s (eventually operating a fleet of 81 DC-8s) and Convair 880s to replace the new Douglas pistons (which were reassigned to the domestic and cargo routes and kept in service well into the 1970s). The line added more Asian destinations such as Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney. And the increased range of the DC-8s enabled transpolar flights, through Anchorage, to Copenhagen, Paris, Hamburg and London. That said, the existing transpacific routes through Honolulu to Los Angeles and San Francisco continued to be the biggest source of revenues. During the 1970s, JAL bought B727s and especially B747s (both short-range and long-range models as well as freighters) for its growing routes within Japan as well as to other countries. (A B747-SR set a record of 550 passengers on an Okinawa-Tokyo flight.) In a special move, when JAL started flying to mainland China in 1974 it ceased normal service to Taipei. Instead, to satisfy political requirements, it created a separate subsidiary, Japan Asia Airways, to fly to Taiwan. The mouth of the Yangtze River, the world's third longest river and the arterial waterway of central China. Being on the junction of the Yangtze and the sea was the main economic driver of Shanghai's historic success. On the water you can see the Tijuca (a Vehicles Carrier built in 2008, now sailing under the Norwegian flag), the Vancouver (Container Ship, 2007, Cyprus), Maersk Piper (Oil Tanker, 2008, Singapore), and the Maersk Nucleus (Oil Tanker, 2007, Liberia). Thanks to Henrik Nielsen. The company completely privatized in 1987 with the government selling off its shares. Over the previous five years (1983-1987), the IATA had voted JAL the world's best performing airline in passenger and cargo. In the new deregulated era however, facing competition home and abroad, its financial fortunes fluctuated with the international economy. In 1997 it created JAL Express as a lost-cost carrier which helped the airline regain profitability. In 2001 JAL merged with Japan Air System (a mainly domestic carrier that focused on smaller markets) and changed its name to Japan Airlines Corporate and soon Japan Airlines International with both domestic and international divisions. In 2005 it joined the Oneworld alliance. The city of Nagasaki lies off to the north. For centuries, it was self-isolated Japan's main connection with the outside world. The airport is on Omura Bay behind the city. During the onset of the Great Recession in 2009-2010, Japan Airlines experienced deep drops in its revenues (despite remaining the largest revenue Asian airline). JAL underwent restructuring under a bankruptcy regime. A new, more entrepreneurial leadership was appointed. The airline enacted cost-cutting measures, including deep reductions in staff and the elimination of some international routes. And it received government loans ($3 billion) as well as financial support from its airline partners. At one time, it appeared likely that JAL might join the SkyTeam alliance (with strategic investments from Delta Air Lines as well as Air France KLM). However American Airlines (with British Airways and Qantas) raised its offer to $1.4 billion and JAL decided to stay with the Oneworld group. When it emerged from bankruptcy and listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the company's value was more than sufficient to pay off the emergency investors. Japan Airlines has regained its footing. It serves 80 destinations in 20 countries. Its fleet includes 218 aircraft including 61 B737s, 31 B767s, 19 B777s, 49 B787s, and 8 A350s. Throughout the last decade, almost every year, it has continued to win various "best airline" awards to mark its excellent service. Approach to Nagasaki's island airport in Omura Bay Nagasaki Airport is located 11 miles (18 km) northeast of the city center. The airport terminal and commercial runway are on Mishima island in the middle of Omura Bay. A shorter runway, used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force for helicopters, is on the mainland. (The smaller airfield was founded in 1923 as Omura Airport and opened as a civilian-use airport in 1955.) Taxi to the lovely terminal. Not too crowded, it has an observation deck on the third floor. And a playroom for kids. Ideal for plane spotters with families. The commercial island airport opened in 1975 as Japan's first full-scale airport built on the water. While similar to Kansai, Kobe, Kitakyushu and Chubu, Nagasaki's island existed before the airport was constructed. (The airport's construction involved flattening the islands hills and creating landfill to expand the island's size.) Importantly, the island's 13 families all agreed to relocate so that the new airport could be built. Busy ramp work in progress Nagasaki's first international service was to Shanghai, starting in 1979. One of Japan Airlines' secondary trunk routes was Shanghai-Nagasaki-Tokyo. We replicate it here in our DC-6B – which began its service on the transpacific Tokyo-Wake-Honolulu San Francisco route. And, of course, every passenger gets a copy of the Game of the Year along with a box lunch. Thanks for the unusually good rendition of Nagasaki RJFU as an "enhanced" default airport by Microsoft/Asobo. Summary: Date: 2022-02-03 Route: ZSSS-RJFU Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 1:46 Leg Distance: 475nm Total Time: 35:36 Total Distance: 8,849nm
  9. Where's Sven? Gone with the Wind!
  10. Hongkong and Shanghai, two of the world's memorable cities in one day. Great snaps.
  11. RTW80 Leg 16. Taipei Songshan-Shanghai Hongqiao. RCSS-ZSSS. 2022-02-02 Now we turn to Taiwan's China Air Lines. Not long ago, it would have been impossible to fly from Taipei to Shanghai. And in the days of the DC-6, it would be unthinkable to do so in the ROC flag carrier China Air Lines. Things are changing. From its inception until 1995, China Airlines was literally the "flag carrier" of the Republic of China government. Embeded in this flag was a deadly serious international political contest. When China Airlines was started in 1959, the national "flag carrier" was CAT (Civil Air Transport), an airline formed by Claire Chennault in the immediate post-War revolution to serve the Nationalist Republic of China under Chiang Kai-Shek. Many of the pilots had served with Chennault's Flying Tigers. (The Flying Tiger Line, which we encountered in Cambodia and Vietnam, was a completely different group.) When the small airline faced financial difficulties, it was purchased by a CIA false-flag corporation. CAT maintained a civilian presence with regular passenger flights, including international jet service in the 1960s, while it simultaneously used other aircraft to fly covert missions in Korea, Indochina, and Southeast Asia for its obscure owners. (These missions generated legendary flying tales, but now is not the time.) Turning north from Taipei. The new China Airlines (CAL) began with a pair of PBYs and was owned entirely by the Republic of China government (whose actual domain was now limited to Taiwan). Beginning with charter flights, it started to establish scheduled service on domestic routes. It acquired a number of DC-4/C-54s which served as cargo carriers from 1962-1975. (Our aircraft for this flight is a DC-6A painted to stand in for a DC-4 freighter of the early 1960s. CAL did not operate DC-6s.) Later in the 1960s, China Airlines acquired B727s and B707s to operate an initial network on the Pacific Rim and then to connect to North America through Japan and Hawaii. The 1970s brought on B747s that operated the profitable Trans-Pacific routes non-stop. In the 1980s-1990s CAL became one the largest purchasers of new B747s and Airbus A300s to develop its long-range international network. Climbing to altitude above a thick layer of clouds that covered most of our route to Shanghai. Importantly, in 1995 China Airlines changed its livery. Up until then, its red-white-and-blue colors and national markings reflected the Republic of China flag painted on its tail. The airline introduced a new "plum blossom" logo to replace the national flag and colors. (The plum blossom is the national flower of Taiwan.) Over the years, the (DRC) Chinese government had used diplomatic pressure to prevent China Airlines from obtaining routes to many nations who recognized the Beijing government. After the change in the logo, this pressure was relaxed and CAL could more easily expand its set of destinations. Descent through the clouds over the hills of Eastern China When cross-strait relations improved early this century, Taiwan and China allowed direct flights between the two countries. These came first as occasional charters, then as regular charters, and finally as regular inter-city service in 2009 and 2010. Since then, China has become the second-largest market for China Airlines, with over 130 flights to 33 destinations on the Mainland. (In the last couple of years, CAL has begun to emphasize its flights to Southeast Asia. And it has reduced its Mainland routes due to tense cross-strait relations.) Since 2011 China Airlines has been a member of the SkyTeam alliance. With a fleet of 65 widebodies and a total of 87 aircraft, it now operates 1,400 flights weekly to 102 cities across six continents. By some standards, it is the world's 33rd largest passenger airline and the 10 largest cargo line. Crossing over Hangzhou Bay on approach to the Shanghai area. In the 1930s, Pan Am pilots started flying small Douglas Dolphin amphibians for CNAC's Shanghai-Hong Kong routes. The sometimes dicey weather over this large bay made scheduled flight dangerous and caused at least one fatal crash into these waters. Shanghai Hongqiao (ZSSS) is an old airport, opening for civilian use in 1923. From the 1930s it became (in part) a military field, first in the Sino-Japanese wars and then the Revolution. Not until 1964 did it again revert to regular civilian use. And, due to the geopolitics of the time, it did not really open up to international travel until the late-1970s and 1980s. Hongqiao became the main airport of Shanghai as the city grew quickly back into its old role as a financial and commercial center, in many ways the heart of China's re-awakening. In 1999 almost all international flights moved to the modern Pudong International (ZSPD), some 16 miles east of the city. Finals into Hongqiao with the city center merely eight miles to the east. Now, Hongqiao serves mainly domestic flights as a major hub in the Chinese national system. It is also headquarters for a number of airlines, including China Eastern Airlines. And in 2010, it added a second (four times larger) Terminal 2 that increased the airport's capacity to 40 million. It is a sign of the rise of Chinese aviation that the airport is already filled to capacity. Taxiing past the very busy domestic gates at Terminal 2 Hongqiao also handles a limited number of international flights, here to the network of Asian "downtown" airports Tokyo-Haneda, Seoul-Gimpo, and Taipei-Songshan as well as Hong Kong and Macau. Unloading cargo with the modern skyscrapers of Shanghai in the far background ---- It turns out that one of our traveling companions had contacts with a local man of some means. He had his private pilot take us up to see a bit of modern Shanghai. It seemed to be a matter of some pride. Forty years ago, Shanghai was a large decaying industrial city, merely a shadow of its former self. However, Shanghai's dynamic entrepreneurial spirit was unleased by the far-reaching market-economy reforms of Den Xiaoping in the 1980s. The city grew and developed in ways that surprised everyone. A great symbol of that change is Pudong, the district just across the Huangpu River from the European Bund built in the 1930s. In living memory, this land was rice paddies and even as late as the 1980s is was single-storied housing. The district was designated as a special economic zone to house the engines of Chinese "market" institutions. Today, it is chock-full of high-rise office towers and the district includes three of the highest buildings in the world. Pudong is just a bit smaller than Chicago. A visual representation of this transformation is captured in the following pair of photographs. Here is Pudong in 1987 and in 2013. We got a chance to fly down the river during the early afternoon and take a few pictures. And then came back in the evening to see the city in it sparkling lights. Three of the worlds tallest skyscrapers. From the center-left: the Jin Mao Tower (1,380 ft), the Shanghai World Financial Center (1,521 ft) and the Shanghai Tower (2,073 ft). Nearly a classic photographic shot with the previous "big three" adding the Oriental Pearl Tower on the right. The skyline of Shanghai. This is the financial and commercial hub of modern China. Plenty of power here. A night view This the European Bund bathed in light. Once the manifestation of Shanghai's economic power from the 1860s to the 1930s, this is now more of a tourist attraction. The two large buildings on the right are the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank building (built in 1923) and the Customs House (1927). Contrast the size of the "symbols of power" here and above. Shanghai's buildings are courtesy of SamScene3D's Shanghai City Times. Summary: Date: 2022-02-02 Route: RCSS-ZSSS Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 1:33 Leg Distance: 368nm Total Time: 33:50 Total Distance: 8,374nm
  12. RTW80 Leg 15. Hong Kong Kai Tak-Taipei Songshan. VHHX-RCSS. 2022-02-01 Out of Hong Kong we hop aboard one of the city's real success stories, Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific ready for departure on Rwy 13, Kai Tak. Most aircraft would depart in this direction without regard to the wind because the runway leads out over the harbor and does not require a strenuous turn and climb. The airline was initiated in 1946 by an Austalian and an American, both ex-air force pilots who had flown the Hump. They bought a DC-3 and started flying freight to Australia and (after receiving unwanted special attention from authorities in Shanghai) moved their base to Hong Kong. They named their airline Cathay (ancient for China) and Pacific (reflecting their intercontinental ambitions). Legend has it that the name resulted from a drinking and brainstorming session at the bar of the Manila Hotel (other reports indicate the Cathay Hotel on the Shanghai Bund). The airline grew quickly adding five DC-3s and connecting the cities of Southeast Asia: Hong Kong, Sydney, Manila, Singapore, Shanghai, Saigon, and Bangkok. Circa 1950 The colonial government insisted on British ownership and the two pilots sold out to the London-based Swire Group. (This international financial conglomorate had been developed by several generations of the Swire family, starting in the eighteenth century.) The Swire management oversaw Cathay Pacific's becoming the dominant airline in Hong Kong and the expansion into the highly successful HAECO, the international aircraft engineering and maintence group now based in mainland China and the United States as well as Hong Kong. Leaving behind Cathay's home city, the towers of Hong Kong and the shipping of Victoria Harbour. In the late 1950s and the 1960s, the airline prospered with DC-6Bs and Lockheed Electras and adding passenger routes to Sydney, Taipei, and Tokyo. It carried its one millionth passenger in 1964. In the 1960s jet age, it acquired fast Convair 880s and then Boeing 707s. The mid-1970s saw the acquistion of widebody Boeing 747s and the establishment of direct flights connecting Hong Kong and London. And the next decade added routes to Vancouver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and then the major cities of Europe, including London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, and Zurich. In 1998 it became a core founding member of the Oneworld alliance with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines and Qantas. By the 2010s, Cathay had won numerous "best airline" awards. It was the fifth largest passenger airline and the busiest cargo line. A success story of the sometimes rough-and-tumble free market business culture of Hong Kong. Climbing to altitude to catch the tailwinds. Starting in the 1990s, Cathay developed a complicated relationship with Dragonair. That airline started in 1985 as a direct Hong Kong competitor to Cathay. The Swire group bought a part ownership but exercised no control. Dragonair focused on underserved Chinese routes and branched out to other Asian cities at first with narrow-bodied Airbus A320s and later with wide-bodied A330s – all to good effect. At its height, Dragonair had 35 aircraft and served 50 destinations in 14 countries. However, in 2006 Cathay took ownership and eliminated the competition. In 2016 Cathay Pacific merged the two airlines, renaming the junior partner as Cathay Dragon – and then eliminating it in 2020 as a function of the Covid crisis. Nowadays Cathay Pacific is on life support. Unlike most other major airlines, it has neither a government sponsor nor a large internal market. Dependent on international travel and freight, and based in a "zero covid" city, Cathay has lost most of its pre-pandemic traffic. It received multi-billion dollar sustaining loans from the government which will pose a financial challenge in a few years. In addition, Hong Kong itself has lost some of its allure for business travelers as it is increasingly difficult to distinguish the city from the rest of mainland China. Even if traffic regains its pre-Covid levels, Cathay will have trouble meeting its incurred financial obligations. It is facing absorption into China's government airline Air China. Clouds on approach to Taipei. This Hong Kong-Taipei route has proved to be especially busy and profitable for Cathay Pacific. Down safely on Rwy 10 at Songshan Airport. Note Taipei 101 (the Taipei World Financial Center) in the background. This was the world's tallest building until it was surpassed in 2009 by Dubai's Burj Khalifa. Songshan (RCSS) was Taipei's main international airport until its status was replaced by the new Taoyuan International in 1979. For a few years, Songshan depended on domestic traffic and was facing obsolescence due to the rise of Taiwan's increasingly fast rail networks. However, Songshan has become one of the Pacific Rim's international "city" airports that connect business travelers who value easy access to downtown centers. The airport seems poised to experience a renaissance similar to Bangkok-Don Mueang, Jakarta-Halim Perdanakusuma, Kuala Lumpur-Subang, Singapore-Seletar, Seoul-Gimpo, Shanghai-Hongqiao and Tokyo-Haneda. All these airports have central locations compared with newer and larger but far-flung international airports. Especially interesting is the 2008 opening of regular cross-Straight charter and freight flights that connect Taiwan with China. Songshan has received the majority of these flights. And in 2010, direct flights between Taipei-Songshan and Shanghai-Hongqiao began on a regular multiple-times-a-day basis. The airport is now undergoing upgrades to the runway, terminals, and jet bridges. Parked at the ramp with the distinctively-roofed Grand Hotel Taipei in the background. Note the presence of aircraft from China Airlines, ANA, and Air China from Taiwan, Japan and China respectively. An important mix. Thanks to Orbyx for the freeware Taipei city scenery. Summary: Date: 2022-02-01 Route: VHHX-RCSS Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 1:38 Leg Distance: 438nm Total Time: 32:17 Total Distance: 8,006nm
  13. RTW80 Leg 14. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)-Hong Kong Kai Tak. VVTS-VHHX. 2022-01-29 This time we take Air Vietnam for our Hong Kong leg. The airline (Vietnamese: Hãng Hàng không Việt Nam) was established in 1951 while the country was still part of French Indochina. After the fall of the French and the division of Vietnam into North and South, Air Vietnam became the national carrier for the Republic of South Vietnam. Headquartered in Saigon, it flew over two million passengers until the government's collapse in 1975. Air Vietnam climbing out of Saigon Initially the airline concentrated on domestic flights using DC-3s and DC-4s. It then expanded to international flights to Paris and throughout South and Southeast Asia using DC-6s and Viscounts. Eventually, it added jets including the Sud Caravelle, B707 and B727, some of which were obtained from Air France and Pan Am. And in the 1960s it joined with Continental Air Services (CASI), the subsidary part of Continental Airlines who flew STOL aircraft mainly in Laos but also other parts of Southeast Asia. The joint venture shared passsenger and cargo flights on domestic and international routes as well as maintainence facilities throughout the region. (One of the obscure partners in these arrangements was Air America.) Cruising over the South China Sea The airline had a number of incidents on record – including two DC-6s. This should not be surprising as most of its operations were in a war zone of one type or another. One of the DC-6 incidents involved a exploding bomb in the passenger cabin. Air Vietnam pilots must have been inured to normal risks (see below). Nearing Hong Kong, we catch a glimpse of Macau and its island runway. Some clouds greet our arrival. The red-and-white Checkerboard Hill, just above the cockpit's Air Speed Indicator marked the legendary Checkerboard Approch to Kai Tak's Runway 13. The requirement for "hand-flying all the way in" made it a pilot's delight. (The Checkerboard has recently been restored as a monument to the great airport.) The "Checkerboard Turn" incorporates a 47° visual right turn, starting at about 600ft and exiting at 140ft to line up with the runway. Getting the speed and timing of this maneuver requires precise flying. Weather can be a factor. Especially so because the surrounding mountains can channel the winds into unexpected directions. That said, this is not the serious challenge for the relatively small DC-6 as it would be for a B747. That long jumbo-jet runway ahead provides plenty of margin for error. Finals over Kowloon A little unexpected excitement. The Air Vietnam pilots insisted on the Checkerboard approach despite a forecast of brisk winds from the northwest. When we neared the city, the winds appeared to have vanished. So we smoothly executed the curving approach only to discover a 12kts tailwind on the field. Made for a longer runway experience than expected. No worries. But we might mention to maintenance that they look at what seem to be faulty brakes...and then walk away whistling an innocent tune. Parked at the Kai Tak gate. Impressive airport, this. Many thanks to Ali501 for his splendid Kai Tak (VHHX). Ant to FreakyD and superspud for their Hong Kong City and Hong Kong Port, respectively.. Summary: Date: 2022-01-29 Route: VVTS-VHHX Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 3:01 Leg Distance: 824nm Total Time: 30:39 Total Distance: 7,568nm
  14. The last screenshot (Final into Danang) looks stunningly photo-realistic. Amazing stuff.
  15. RTW80 Leg 13. Siem Reap-Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). VDSR-VVTS. 2022-01-25 We hop back into the Flying Tiger Line DC-6A to fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). On departure, we get one last look at Angkor Wat as the temple towers glisten in the morning light. Over Tonlé Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia – it runs about 65 miles in length. Normally, the lake flows through the Tonlé Sap River into the Mekong. But seasonally, the fluctuation in the Mekong's water volume and the Asian monsoon cause a unique flow reversal of the Tonle Sap River. The lake thus connects with a large variety of eco-regions and contains a high degree of biodiversity. (It was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve.) The rich ecosystem has been important for the productive Cambodian food supply. And this phenomenon was reflected in the rise and sustained greatness of the Angkoran civilization which depended on a prosperous agricultural population. (This ecosystem has been under threat in recent years, partially due to climate change and partially due to upstream countries on the Mekong River who have dammed the flow for their own purposes.) Below, visible through the clouds, is Phnom Penh at the confluence of the Tonlé Sap River and the Mekong River. Phnom Penh was briefly a capital of the Khmer Empire, but it was abandoned for hundreds of years. In the nineteenth century, it was developed as the capital by the French colonial administrators and it blossomed into the onetime "Pearl of the Orient". (The achievement was destroyed by the 1970s Khmer Rouge. In their horrific quest for the ideal rural society, they forced city residents on a death march exterminating thousands on the way. Estimates of executions are about a fifth of the nation's 8 million people.) The city has taken decades to recover and its population has not yet regained its pre-massacre status. Gosh. Finals into Tan Son Nhat at Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International has been the primary airport of southern Vietnam since the 1930s. During the days of French Indochina and then the Republic of Vietnam, the airport was the region's main air facility and, briefly during wartime, the busiest airport in the world. In the current era, with a capacity of 25 million, it now serves 38.5 million passengers a year and is constantly congested despite the addition of a new terminal and a number of infrastructure improvements. (A new aiport is under construction east of the city.) Ton Son Nhat is the 25th busiest airport in the world. Taxiing into the busy congested airport Our cargo ship at the gate. If the Flying Tiger Line can carry Bessie the Cow and Roy Rogers' Trigger, it can carry a group of world travelers over a small if irregular segment of their Round the World trip. "Thanks, fellas." Kudos to am7880 for his fine rendition of Tan Son Nhat (VVTS). Summary: Date: 2022-01-25 Route: VDSR-VVTS Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 1:05 Leg Distance: 248nm Total Time: 27:38 Total Distance: 6,744nm
  16. RTW80 Leg 12. Bangkok-Siem Reap. VTBD_VDSR. 2022-01-24 Today we divert off the established carriers' main line. Our traveling party want to take a "cultural" diversion to Angkor Wat in northwest Cambodia. We "catch a freighter" by chartering a flight with the Flying Tiger Line. The Flying Tigers were the first sheduled American freight line. The core was ten former AVG "Flying Tigers" who founded the company at Los Angeles Mines Field (now KLAX) and then at Burbank's Lockheed Air Terminal in 1945-1946. In the 1940s they carried air freight on a contract basis: the first three loads were a planeload of grapes from Bakersfield to Atlanta, flowers from California to Detroit, and furniture from New York to California. Adopting the slogan "Anything, Anytime, Anywhere," the airline carried football teams, Bob Hope's record albums, tourists, and even Roy Rogers' horse Trigger. The new Flying Tiger Line eventually gained the first commercial air cargo route in the US, across the continent from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Boston. Over the next twenty years, the domestic routes continued to grow throughout the US. During the Korean War, the company operated cargo routes to Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Their primary long-distance aircraft were Douglas DC-4s and DC-6s, and especially Lockheed Constellations. Seven o'clock departure out of Bangkok. The Tiger Line turned to jets in 1965, first B707s and then the higher-payload DC-8s. And then in 1974 it put into operation new B747 freighters with specially powerful engines and heavy landing gear. By the mid-1980s, Flying Tigers operated scheduled cargo service to six continents and 58 countries, surpassing Pan American as the world's largest air cargo carrier. "Covert flights for the military were not uncommon throughout the airline's history, given its roots in Civil Air Transport (CAT), as with its sister airline Air America, originally owned by General Claire Lee Chennault, commander of the Flying Tigers fighter squadron in Southeast Asia." After airline dergulation (and some unhelpful business decisions), the parent Tiger International started experiencing loses in the early 1980s. Eventually, the company was sold to Federal Express in 1988 and "the Flying Tigers name passed into history." Flying East into the morning sun Now we are headed for Cambodia on the insistence of the fellow carrying the pocketwatch and airline timetables. Something about a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a new perspective on civilization. An argument lost on this dumb pilot. Nevertheless, we took this short hop in the Flying Tiger DC-6 over the rich agricultural land below. Over the centuries, these bountiful rice harvests have made Cambodia an immensely successful place. We landed at Siem Reap, only a few miles away from Angkor Wat. Our energetic fellow managed to rent a nice Cessna 170 at the airport and convinced the dumb pilots to spend the afternoon circling the nearby attractions while he took some photographs with his Leica. A first look at Angkor Wat gives a quick impression of size and layout Angkor Wat, I learned, is a wonderful treasure from long ago. For hundreds of years, the Khmer Empire was based here and at its height it ruled much of Southeast Asia from Thailand to southern China. At one time its reign exceeded the contemporary Byzantine Empire. And scientific imaging indicates that, in the thirteenth century, the capital city Angkor is likely to have been the world's largest urban settlement. Circling over Angkor Wat for photos Angkor Wat itself is an enormous religious complex, larger than Vatican City. The towers rise more than 200 ft above the ground and the complex is surounded by an outer wall and a moat, each three miles long. It was built in the twelfth century for Suryavarman II under whose reign the Khmer Empire reached its greatest expanse. It was the capital city's public temple and took 35 years to build (finished in about 1150). It was originally dedicated to Hinduism and inparticular to Vishnu, and exemplefied that tradition's "divine right of kings". Approaching Bayon as it faces East Twenty-five years after completion, Angkor was sacked by the Khmer rival the Chams. Then, at the end of the twelfth century, the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII who built a new capital and temple just a few miles north. With a switch in religious affiliation, the new temple Bayon was dedicated to Buddhism and the original Angkor Wat was also gradually converted into a Buddhist site. A closer look reveals Bayon's many towers Bayon is remarkable for its many small towers, each of which is adorned with remarkably serene faces which seem to follow the visitor throughout the temple. (Scholars speculate that these represent Jayavarman VII himself or they may represent the god of compassion...or perhaps both.) Back to admire Angkor Wat in the late afternoon sunlight A look from the southeast as the sun highlights the intricate details Angkor Wat has been an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists around the world and is a symbol of Cambodian Buddhist nationhood. Since the 1990s, it has become a major tourist destination. In 1993, there were only 7,650 visitors to the site. By 2018 the number reached 2.6 million. A grand view of Angkor Wat from the west The C170 parked as the sun sets Thanks to ClemensFellner for his portrayal of Bayon and to Asobo for their default Angkor Wat. Summary: Date: 2022-01-24 Route: VTBD-VDSR Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 0:51 Leg Distance: 194nm Total Time: 26:33 Total Distance: 6,497nm
  17. Wow. The nature of the Lake Toba event is just fascinating. Thanks for the note.
  18. Great progress on an interesting route. Well done.
  19. RTW80 Leg 11. Calcutta (Kolkata)-Bangkok. VECC-VTBD. 2022-01-18 At Calcutta we hop onto a DC-6 of Thai Airways International. Ready to depart from murky Kolkata Thai Airways International was founded in 1960 as a joint venture between Thailand's domestic carrier and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS). Beyond the capital investment, SAS also provided operations, managerial and marketing expertise, all with the goal of building a fully independent national airline. (Thai nationals, through training and experience, were gradually able to assume full managerial responsibility.) The new airline began operations in 1960 from Bangkok to nine Asian destinations. (That first fleet included seven DC-6Bs, among which was the craft HS-TGD that we fly today. These were leased from SAS, as you might surmise from the early-days' livery.) During the 1960s, Thai Airways acquired DC-8s, DC-9s, and Sud Aviation Caravelles. In 1971 the network expanded to Australia, in 1972 to Europe, and 1980 to North America. Climbing out of the haze layer that covers Kolkata Over the decades Thai Airways was nationalized (1977) and then partially privatized (1991). It enjoyed forty years of expansion and success, at one time operating more than 100 aircraft around the world. The parent company runs widebody jets out of hubs in Bangkok and Phuket to destinations in Europe and East/South Asia. Its subsidiary, Thai Smile, provides narrowbody service to smaller cities in India, China, and Southeast Asia. A pretty good success story. In the early twenty-first century, however, it started to run occasional deficits as it faced the increasingly difficult airline environment. Then in the last ten years, coincident with the military junta's taking control of management, the airline has run increasingly serious debts. Cutbacks have been ordered and some restructuring seems likely. Even in its diminished state, Thai Airways remains a major airline with a fleet of 58 aircraft. Cruising serenely over the Bay of Bengal Yangon from above Western Thailand and the steep limestone mountains of the Khao Laem National Park. Look for tigers, leopards, bears and even elephants. Finals over the city of Bangkok. Bangkok's Don Mueang is one of the world's oldest airports. Established in 1914 for the Royal Thai Air Force, it opened for commercial flights in 1924 – with an arrival by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. (Its name was spelled "Don Muang" until 2005, and that traditional spelling is still used by most Thais.) Aside from wartime, this has long been one of Southeast Asia's major international airports. Between the two north-south runways lies Kantarat Golf Course, an eighteen hole layout. Golfers tee off just twenty yards away from passenger jets and must be accompanied by a caddie at all times. Nowadays, they pass through an explosive detector before playing. Needless to say, across from the busy commercial airport, Don Mueang also sites an active Royal Thai Air Force Base...who host the club. Where did we put our sticks? In 2006, with the opening of the new international airport Suvarnabhumi (southeast of the city), Don Mueang was closed. However, it quickly became apparent that Suvarnabhumi would become overwhelmed by demand. So Don Mueang was re-opened first in 2007 and then fully in 2012. At first the re-opening was intended for domestic flights but eventually Don Mueang became the "low cost carrier" airport for the city. With the completion of new construction, it can now handle 30 million passengers a year with both domestic and international flights. Parked at Don Mueang airport. Thanks to Simple Traffic, lots of low-cost carriers to be seen here, including Air Asia and Thai Lion. Summary: Date: 2022-01-18 Route: VECC-VTBD Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 3:18 Leg Distance: 892nm Total Time: 25:42 Total Distance: 6,308nm
  20. RTW80 Leg 10. Mumbai to Calcutta (Kolkata). VABB-VECC. 2022-01-14 Next, our BOAC pilots will take us across the subcontinent to Calcutta (now Kolkata). We had intended to stop at Allahabad where Fogg & Co left the elephant and caught the East Indian Railways to Calcutta. But circumstances necessitated a direct trip instead. An early morning departure from the typical haze of Mumbai's CSMIA. Leaving behind the Mumbai haze and crossing over the Western Ghats. Here we see how the Western Ghats form a mountain wall that leads to the Deccan Plateau (ahead) that rises up between the east and west coasts. (This is a massive plain of volcanic basalt rock caused by eruptions some 65 million years ago.) The elevation ranges from 1,000-3,000 feet and averages about 2,000. This is more arid country than the coasts. Lonar Lake (or Lonar Crater). Once thought to be volcanic, it now seems that the crater was created by an hyper-velocity meteoric impact about a half-million years ago. The water in the lake is both saline and alkaline. Recent research indicates that minerals in the lake soil are similar to minerals fond in the moon rocks brought back during the Apollo Program. The crater rim is about a mile across and the lake a little less than that. Some stormy weather to the south. Happily the pressurized "Super-Six" can cruise easily above the weather. Comfort of the passengers, you know. Do not want to disturb the coffee service. Everything hanging out on approach into Calcutta (or Kolkata) Runway 01R. Enroute, our forecasts had rain on-and-off over the field with visibility varying from 1,600 down to 800 feet due to fog. Looks like the forecasts were not wrong. Turns out that we had 1,000 feet visibility when we arrived. Happily, we captured the ILS signal and made a safe final approach to discover the centerline just where it was meant to be. On the taxi to the gate, the terminal building was largely invisible in the fog until we got close up. Parked at the gate next to an IndiGo jet. The airport is now named Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to honor the prominent leader of the Indian independence movement. Bose was a controversial nationalist figure who, in WWII, collaborated wholeheartedly with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in order to wrest India from the British. Under Tokyo's supervision, he led the Indian National Army to support the Japanese invasion of India. The venture was defeated by the all-volunteer British Indian Army. Jawaharlal Nehru (operating on the political side parallel to Mahatma Gandhi), was the leader of India's successful independence movement: he preferred a democratic route to independence and his view prevailed. He then became the central figure during mid-twentieth century Indian politics, both as modernizing prime minister and influential author. In the passage of time, though, the heroic stature of Bose has been resurrected by Indian nationalists. In many quarters, Nehru is now regarded as something of a reactionary figure. Ah, History and its authors... In the late 1970s, the anti-globalization and anti-capitalist communist party won elections to control the state of Bengal and ruled for 30 years. Most foreign carriers dropped service and the airport lost its central position for international air travel. But eventually, in the late-1990s, the airport benefited with the growth of low-cost carriers in India and recovered its traffic. This is now India's fifth busiest airport, serving 15 million passengers a year. Summary: Date: 2022-01-14 Route: VABB-VECC Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 3:21 Leg Distance: 907nm Total Time: 22:24 Total Distance: 5,411nm
  21. Best wishes, friend. Look forward to your return. Mike
  22. Lovely illustrations chock full of character. Excellent.
  23. RTW80 Leg 9. Dubai to Mumbai. OMDB-VABB. 2022-01-07 We now turn to BOAC for our flights into India. British Overseas Airways Corporation has its roots as a great global airline in Imperial Airways. In 1924, the British government decided to champion an airline to connect with the far flung reaches of the British Empire. Rather than create a state airline, it cobbled together four independent lines and provided a subsidy to establish an airline for the Empire. The result was a committed Imperial Airways that did the pathfinding and the technological development necessary to create long distance aerial connections – this at a time when international flying was more a thrilling adventure for pilots than a routine way to travel. In 1925-1926, Alan Cobham made proving flights to Cape Town and then to Melbourne in two different epic flights. (He received a knighthood for his efforts.) Remarkably, within a year, Imperial initiated service along parts of these routes. By 1935, Imperial had regular passenger service to distant points of the Empire in South Africa and Australia. Employing both land planes and flying boats, Imperial typically offered accommodations for fewer than twenty passengers. At first, passengers were a handful of military or colonial administrators or businessmen. Toward the end of the 1930s, wealthy individuals had started to join the "adventure." This was not an entirely safe operation: a number of aircraft were lost with accompanying fatalities. Just as WWII started, the British government combined Imperial Airways with British Airways Ltd (a Europe-centered airline) to create British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). During the war, it flew international civil routes to serve the war efforts. Two unusual ventures are of interest. BOAC flew "ball bearing" flights to Sweden that maintained England's contact with that neutral country. Remarkably, the most successful flights were those using the de Havilland Mosquito whose speed and range were needed to evade being shot down. A second effort transported bomber ferry pilots back across the Pond to resume their work. This experience was important post-War when BOAC established regular landplane service across the Atlantic. After the War, European routes were assigned to British European Airways (BEA) while BOAC focussed on more distant destinations. The airline augmented its unpressurized Avro Yorks and Short flying boats with a total of 25 Lockheed Constellations (most of which were obtained indirectly through other airlines' orders). By the 1950s, BOAC had modernized its fleet with Boeing Stratocruisers, Canadair Argonauts, and Handley Page Hermes. And in the mid-1950s it added ten new DC-7Cs for the transatlantic route when the Bristol Birtannia was delayed. (BOAC did not fly the DC-6, but we here tip our cap to the BOAC DC‑7Cs.) BOAC was quick to move toward jets. In 1952 it introduced the de Havilland Comet for long-distance routes. Unhappily, the revolutionary Comet was soon grounded after it experienced loses (due to design flaws inherent in breaktrough technologies). But by the late 1950s, the airline was running the larger longer-range Comet 4. And then, starting in 1960, it added Boeing 707s and (somewhat reluctantly but eventually successfully) Vickers VC10s. In the late 1960s, BOAC was one of the first to commit to the new Boeing 747-100s. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, BOAC and Pan American were rivals as the world's premier international airlines. BOAC connects the world. Here, the Eastern Hemisphere. In 1974, BOAC and BEA were merged to create British Airways. That is a different story, a long and successful one. We leave Dubai for Mumbai on a BOAC Douglas ship. This is nowadays a very heavily travelled route. But in the heyday of the DC-6, not so much. (In fact, during the 1950s and early 1960s, Dubai was better known as as the heart of the gold-smuggling network that illegally moved gold into India.) Early morning departure out of Dubai. Climbing out over the coastal mountains near Oman. Then a few hours over the sea...plenty of time to check the VABB forecasts of haze and limited visibility. Normal for Mumbai. Here is the view of out of the cockpit on final. On the first approach, the ILS automation failed and a go-around was needed. (Hectic time on discovering the surprise. Better training is in order.) A subsequent hand-flown ILS approach worked out well. Now that is much better. The domestic terminal T1 is on the left and the GA and unscheduled carriers terminal and the maintenafsnce facilities are on the right. The Mumbai authorities emphasize fast runway exits to accelerate the pace of arrivals and departures. For safety and efficiency reasons, Runway 09-27 is the only one in use normally. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (CSMIA) is a very busy airport with 950 aircraft movements a day: along with Gatwick, the two busiest one-runway airports in the world. Parked at the newish T2 used for International flights and some domestic ones as well. Thanks to Alkee15 and to ams7880 for their complementary CSMIA scenery packages. Summary: Date: 2022-01-07 Route: OMDB-VABB Aircraft: DC-6B [PMDG MFS] Leg Time: 3:48 Leg Distance: 1,040nm Total Time: 19:03 Total Distance: 4,504nm
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