• 35 Degrees North Latitude

    35° North Latitude

    By Ron Blehm

    A few months ago I published an article about a flightsim tour in the Do-328 from Tromso to Cape Town and if you read that you'll recall that I considered flying something from Nome to Ushuaia. One reason I didn't pick that flight was because it wasn't a straight line. Another reason for not flying that option was because I had flown from Everett, WA to Santiago, Chile in another article here on FlightSim.Com a couple of years ago. However, after arriving into Cape Town I wanted to try another flight similar to the 20-degrees east piece. Something that may (or may not) have a wee bit of educational value. (Experience has shown that if we can "learn" whilst flying our wife-units seem to be more accepting of our sometimes bizarre behaviors.) While looking at the map I noticed a pretty long stretch of potential scenery between Yokohama and Funchal along the 35-degrees north latitude line and decided to check that one out too. This is the story of that explorative venture [photo 01].

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    After arriving from Cape Town last autumn, I loaded up some real-world weather and one of my many Lockheed Electra repaints and headed out westbound from Yokohama Japan [photo 02]. This flight takes us across most of southern Honshu Island [photo 03], skirting past Kobe and Hiroshima [photo 04] before crossing the East Sea, to Pusan, South Korea. We flew right along the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula [photo 05] before next crossing the Yellow Sea to China. I made landfall just north of Shanghai crossing the VOR at Nanjing. I was happy to see all of the water, lakes and rivers below [photo 06] but the rest of this part of China seems pretty flat in FS2004 - not unlike most of Africa as we discovered before. I was enjoying the navigation but after six hours of "scenery" I was glad that the fuel needles had moved to the western side of their gauges and I set my sights on our first educational stopover in Chengdu [photo 07, 08]. This gave me an official distance of 1,856 miles for day number one [photo 09].

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    Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan provide [photo 10] and is only the fourth Chinese city to have a second, parallel runway added (remember all those long decades of the one-and-only 13/31 runway at Hong Kong?). Once on the ground I was treated to some lovely scenery that Microsoft seems to have left out. My taxi driver told me that the original translation of the region's name means "Country of Heaven" [photo 11] and said that agriculture and tea growing were common trades for the region. In my mind I thought of all of the acreage between here and the Assam Valley of eastern India - that's a lot of tea!

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    The next day I climbed aboard a fictional Pakistan-liveried Electra and continued my westward [photo 12] journey over the Tibetan Region of western China [photo 13] and the northern Himalayas - our route today takes us between Everest and K2 [photo 14] so I'm guessing the 15,000-foot cruise level will have to go up a bit. (For an interesting story and some Pilot Reports, see the "Flying the Hump" feature from January, 2008 at: http://www.toomuchfs.com/archives.htm)[photo 15]

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    It is 1,257 miles to Hotan - on the edge of a giant, high plain [photo 16] (cool looking huh?). It is then just another 388 miles across the mountains (25,000 feet at the very least) into Islamabad [photo 17]. Today's real weather seemed pretty clear but I was getting some SERIOUS bumps and heavy turbulence as I descended - you'll see the overspeed warning that kept popping - you won't see the periodic and random propeller stalls that were visible from spot view [photo 18, 19]! I made my way down into Islamabad where ATC had me land to the north [photo 20].

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    According to Wikipedia (I use Wiki a lot!) "Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan, and is the tenth largest city in Pakistan with an estimated population of over 673,766 in 2009. The Rawalpindi/Islamabad Metropolitan Area is the third largest in Pakistan, with a population of over 4.5 million inhabitants. It is located on the Pothohar Plateau in the north of the country - historically part of the crossroads of Punjab and North-West Frontier Province. The city was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital. Islamabad is one of the greenest and most well-planned cities of South Asia [photo 21]. According to a survey, Islamabad is considered the cleanest city in Pakistan - ranked as a Gamma world city in 2008. The city is home to Faisal Mosque, the sixth largest mosque in the World. Islamabad has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan with the top-ranked Quaid-i-Azam University in town as well as Allama Iqbal Open University which boasts the world's second largest enrollment also located in the city. Besides all of that, the top two engineering universities in Pakistan are located here." I've had very close flight-simming friends in Islamabad and I didn't know all of that! Ali, you should have told me!

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    Okay, anyway, we're simming here ... The next morning I downloaded a fresh batch of real-weather and continued on to the west [photo 22]. Today we'll fly over some big-name places:

    Photo 23: 203 miles to Kabul

    Photo 24: 478 miles to Tehran

    Photo 25: 383 miles to Baghdad

    And a final leg, 500 miles or so to Latakia, Syria [photo 26]. I crossed south of the airport at 4,000 feet, then flew downwind just off-shore [photo 27] before landing to the south [photo 28].

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    Wow, the history of this place! "The Phoenician city of Ramitha was located here, known to the Greeks as Leuke Akte or 'white coast'. Ramitha dates at least to the second millennium BC and became part of the Assyrian Empire, later falling to the Persians and later still to Alexander the Great in 333 BC following his victory at Battle of Issus over the Persian army led by Darius III, beginning the era of Hellenism in Syria. After the death of Alexander the Great the city of Laodicea was built on the site. Laodicea became a main center of Greek culture and the main harbor for Apamea. Laodicaea became a major port, second only to Seleucia Pieria. It formed a tetrapolis, with Antioch, Seleucia Pieria and Apamea linking the four main cities of Seleucid Syria into a union known as the Syrian tetrapolis" [photo 29].

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    From here we headed across the Mediterranean's blue waters [photo 30], skirting past Cyprus [photo 31], Crete [photo 32], and Malta [photo 33] before landing up in Monastir, Tunisia [photo 34]. Traditionally a fishing port, Monastir is now a major tourist resort. Monastir was founded on the ruins of the Punic-Roman city of Ruspina. The city features a well preserved Ribat that was used to scan the sea for hostile ships [photo 35].

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    Finally, our last leg takes us directly across northern Africa, almost within sight of the Mediterranean to the north. We skirt along the Atlas Mountains over northern Tunisia [photo 36], Algeria and Morocco [photo 37]; not nearly as much sandy desert as I expected - this was actually a pretty scenic leg [photo 38]. We were more-or-less along a line here ... to the north was the Mediterranean Sea, to the south was the expansive Sahara Desert. After crossing Casablanca [photo 39] (another feature flight of the month was based out of here in January 2009) it is a straight, over water shot, to the FUN VOR [photo 40]. (Don't you just love that one? "FUN") I crossed the VOR, which is located on a peninsula just north of the airport, then made a straight-in approach to runway 23 [photo 41, 42]. From there I was being sent off to G'dansk, Poland. I hope you've enjoyed this next little flightsim tour.

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    Next up? Maybe a real-world flight down the west coast of the US.

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    Ron Blehm
    [email protected]

    Other Features by Ron Blehm:

    Twenty Degrees (Or So) East
    Thanks To A Brotherhood
    Engine 13 Is Moving Up
    Teddy Travels The World

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