• Around the World in Style

    Around the World in Style

    By Ian Radcliffe

    It was time for another big adventure. I've been around the world a couple of times, the first time non-stop in the Global Voyager, the second in the A2A Cherokee 180. Although both met the FAI requirements for a "circumnavigation" neither came close to traveling the true circumferential distance. This time I determined to go around at the Equator (or as close as possible) in an airplane that could handle the long overwater flights. Clearly, only one bird was appropriate for the task, so I picked up an A2A Lockheed Constellation as refurbished by Grubich Aerospace, invited thirty close friends along for the ride, and set out from Quito, Ecuador at dawn.

    First Leg - Quito to Natal

    Like most of my adventures this one was largely (entirely?) spontaneous and unplanned. I didn't bother to run any numbers - how much can thirty people weigh? - so the load, plus full tanks, plus the 8,000 foot airport altitude made the take off a little anxiety-inducing. She trundled down almost the whole 13,000 feet of runway before taking flight, and even then we were barely doing 110 as we crossed the far end. But after gear up, a couple of shallow turns to avoid buildings/trees, and raising the flaps after gaining a few hundred feet we were into a gentle climb to the north to get high enough to clear the mountains before turning east. Then it was on to Natal. We cruised at 24,000 feet, at 29 inches and 2,200 RPM, a basic cruise setting for this plane.

    Around The World In Style - Amazon Basin

    The South American continent at this latitude is pretty flat: hour after hour of almost unbroken green. Some time during cruise the entire flight crew fell asleep for several hours; when we woke up we were within range of the beacon; just 160 nm short of our destination and, miraculously, only 20 miles off track. We landed soon after dusk, at 8:15 pm local.

    With light headwinds all the way we covered the 2,615 nautical miles in 10 hours 14 minutes, and had 24% fuel remaining at shutdown. I got my first look at the Amazon Basin, but otherwise it was an uneventful trip.

    Second Leg - Natal to Sao Tome

    The first long overwater leg. I'm still learning about long-range flying in this plane, but using the last flight as a guide, it looks as though the bird will go around 3,300 miles with ease. Sao Tome, an island off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea was only 2,500 miles away.

    Around The World In Style - climbout from Natal     Around The World In Style - South Atlantic thunderstorms

    This hop would go for almost 10 hours with no beacons, out of sight of land, but it's hard to miss Africa, right? We cruised with the same settings as before, dodged a few thunderstorms along the way, and picked up Sao Tome VOR from 188 miles out. For several hours, the undercast had precluded use of the drift sight, and we turned out to be 40 nm off course after 2,370 nm of flight - due mainly to a two-degree "gut instinct" course change I made that I didn't need to make.

    Around The World In Style - Sao Tome

    9 hours 29 minutes. 2,545 miles. 268 knots.


    4 Comments
    1. iznih's Avatar
      iznih -
      Thanks a lot for posting this, I enjoyed reading it
    1. sticks's Avatar
      sticks -
      Hi Nels, its nice to see someone else flying "long haul". I first did so back in FS2002 using the CalClassic Super Connie. Since then have done a lot of long haul to replicate some real flights such as 2 Lancasters during WW2 to Australia and some of my real flights over the years including Paris to French Guiana (South America) in a 707. So I have some knowledge of what you describe and the differences flying long haul. A friend of mine in the Netherlands and myself (Australian) are preparing to fly the 60th Anniversary of the twin Qantas Round the World Flights from Melbourne starting in opposite directions, crossing over in London and returning Sydney ALL IN 6 DAYS. 14th January to 20th January 1958. Some of it means flying 20 out of 24 hours in a day.

      We are flying the updated CalClassic Super Connie tweaked to meet more closely the fuel requirements and cruise speed of 300 kts at altitude as quoted in the description of the 1958 flights. The game flying time is 77 hours at an average of 290 Kts. Not many aircraft, freeware or payware are capable of doing long haul. Cheers, from Adelaide, DownUnder.
    1. fsblibli's Avatar
      fsblibli -
      Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, there is always a tendency of a headwind going east. It has to do with the rotation of earth.
    1. aputech's Avatar
      aputech -
      Ian, I absolutely loved your chronicle! After reading your narrative for a while I found myself so immersed that for a few seconds I'd forgotten that you were talking about simming . A week before you posted this I had finished the aviation novel, "Fate is the Hunter," (an excellent story!) so my mind was definitely primed to read about your grand adventure! I most certainly was not disappointed.

      I still plan on purchasing the Connie in the future, but after reading your story I'm eager to add her to my fleet!

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, it was a great read!

      APUtech
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