Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Howland Island

On her 2014 flight Amelia Rose Earhart performed a similar exercise as we are today.  Flying to Howland Island on the way to another Island airport.  It was her way of commemorating her namesakes flight.
 We leave Marshall Island International in the King Air 350i.  Although it will be a long flight; of all of the planes in our group this one is to me most like the original Amelia's.  A rugged twin.
 We fly some 80nm before finally spotting Howland Island.  Today it's trees and underbrush, but back in 1937 an airstrip had been hacked out of the mini jungle.  The island is only 6500 feet long, so most large airport runways are longer.
 I dropped the flaps and came down to 2000'  I then had to put the gear down because the warning buzzer doesn't tolerate the gear not being down when you're this low.  We flew around the island.
 Then finally flew right over it
 before pulling up the flaps and gear and heading back to 15,000' for the rest of our journey.
We landed at Christmas Island for our final night before heading to Honolulu.  Today's flight took just over five and a half hours.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Papua New Guinea to Marshall Island International

As we make our way across the Pacific I'm struck by the vastness of it all.  We're flying the Citation (the best plane for the job IMHO) from Lae to Marshall Island International Airport, some 1682nm.
 Out of AYNZ's runway 09.
 There are some seriously high mountains we have to get over first.  A good thing this plane will climb 3000fpm.
 There now, we can see some water.
 Almost four hours later the airport comes into view.
 We're on final.
And we land.  This wasn't here back in Amelia's day of course, but next flight we'll go to the place she never found...Howland Island.

From the Land of Spring

...to the land of not spring yet.

Found this in my file of old flights to be posted one day soon. From back in my Greenbrier Virtual Aviation days, a flight from Lewisburg up to Portsmouth NH for a container ship captain. I understand the guy has a vacation home at the Greenbrier Resort (think starting at an affordable 4.2 million).

This is an easy and quick read. This and the next three shots are all here in the south (more or less). Spring has sprung here and the scenery is again green.

In the real world we are between late winter and early spring. Some days are in the 50's while others may be 35* during thee day and lower 20's at night.





Doing a unwind leg for final into KPSM Portsmouth Int'l at Pease. Runway 34 please.

It's not spring here by any means. My passenger will board an international flight at PSM.




About as good a landing as I've done in a long time. Mere instants from touchdown.



Even though the Orbx passengers don't have proper seasonal wear (that may yet happen--leave it to Orbx in the future) they still make a nice group in front of the King Air.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Horn Island to Lae/Nadzab

From Horn Island we're leaving Australia and moving across to Papua New Guinea to continue our around the world trip..  
 More clouds and rain cover our exit from OZ.
 Papua New Guinea has lots of scenery.
 We'll land at Lae's Nadzab Airport on the north east shore.  Both Earhart's used this as their jumping off point to the Pacific.
 The mountains around the city make the approach interesting.
 Lae is a good size city.
 Note the offset approach to runway 27 on the Collins Proline21.
 And we turn on final.
It's a busy airport.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Horn Island tour.

Here's a surprise! Whilst walking around Horn Island airport I spotted a small, some might say, unusual aeroplane sporting a Union Jack flag. I remember when I first heard and saw one of these in the UK back in the late 70s. I thought it was just another powered hang glider, but when I saw it - Wow - it's a tiny aeroplane with a proper wing and tail!
I tracked down the owner - an ex-pat English guy and he offered to give me a bit of conversion training! Well, it turns out he was planning a trip to the mainland..... so of course I offered him a lift in the Avanti. Once I'd got to grips with the ultralight we went on a tour of Horn Island - The Shadow's fuel capacity was much more than enough for half an hour or so: At the best economy setting it's duration is 4.5 hours!!

Here we are - the CFM Streak Shadow (FSX NOTAM - freeware along with the actual typewritten pilot's manual too!)


Up we go from RWY32

Flies very happily at 70kt

Here's the town (Horn) with the port & ferry terminal.

Looking out the right - lovely blue waters, but there are salt water crocs living at the island... not sure how far off shore they might swim...

Continuing on our "round trip"

The venerable 2 cylinder Rotax keeping us aloft. The 5 gallon tank underneath the engine and the 7 gallon slipper tank beneath the fuselage can be seen.

What's that ahead on the small beach? Smoke? I hope no-one's in trouble!!

Panic over! It's a beach party in full swing. :)

This is Loggy Creek dam and the reservoir for the Island's water supply (and Thursday Island's too!)

A quick buzz of the airfield before cruising around for a little longer. VNE is 140mph. Told you about those trees near the threshold for 32 didn't I?

Out to sea and back again for an approach to RWY14 - the wind had picked up to about 2 knots from 160 degrees.

On approach, just hanging there with full flap at just over 40 yes, 40 actual miles per hour!

How slow? Touchdown! The mains did land first , narrowly avoiding a tailstrike.


We're about 5300kg shy of that limit!! AUW for the Shadow is 400kg.


Off to mainland Oz for a couple of flights after this wonderful experience.

Australian Final

Yep, I think the time has come for me to return home. I've done some great flights. I've seen some great scenery, both RW & sim world. I've had a fine time with Spring Fling 2017. But it's time to head home.


My final Spring Fling flight was from Derby to Mungalalu-Truscott. I thought, from looking at Google Earth, that M-T was a military base, and at one time it was indeed. But it's use has changed greatly. Check out the new Truscott Airfield here. Again thanks to Wikipedia for the info.


Apparently the field is truly remote and a view in Google Earth certainly bears that out.

Be that as it may, in this shot I'm just leaving Derby and turning onto course for the hour and 45 minute flight.







Of course I'm treated to the daily thunderstorms along the way.



Scene along the coast. My flight was almost entirely along the coast (I did that on purpose) to get to enjoy the Australian northwest coast.


On the ground at YTST. Certainly a remote area of OZ.

Do take a few minutes to read something of the history of Mungalalu-Truscott Airfield (see link above). Some interesting history and photos in the article.




Scenes taken near Derby downloaded from Google Earth.





I'll hop a Quantas flight to London England, then a United flight to Washington DC and a Silver flight to Lewisburg. 31 and a half hours without much sleep and I'll be home.