• Ratty's Ramblings - Round The World

    Ratty's Ramblings

    Ratty's Ramblings - Round The World

    By Ian Radcliffe

    Have you flown around the world? I've done it three times now. The first time was after Steve Fossett made the trip non-stop in the GlobalFlyer. There was a nice rendition of the plane for FS2004 and I used it to follow the same route. I don't recall anything eventful from that trip, although I have a hazy recollection that the landing was not all it might have been.

    Rattys Ramblings

    The second time was in a Piper Cherokee, of all things. I had just bought the A2A model, and it had turned out to be love at first sight. After only a couple of weeks I decided to go around the world in it. I used Skyvector to draw a line between Gillespie Field in California, the airport near where I live, and Biggin Hill in England, the airport where I learned to fly, and followed that as closely as I could, figuring after that I would make up the rest as I went along.

    It actually went pretty well. You should understand that, for me, the GPS takes a lot of the fun out of getting around, so I made the trip using maps, radio navaids, and a drift sight. From 9,000 feet I could see the surface most of the time, because the weather was generally favorable, or at least not too awful. I remember persistent carburetor icing on the way up through Japan and the Kurile Islands; and waiting a week in Ile Rodrigues in the southern Indian Ocean for winds that would get me to Diego Garcia. That leg was 912 nautical miles and, using standard tanks because there was no way to "realistically" augment fuel capacity, it was a dangerously long flight that I would never attempt in real life. The Cherokee performed flawlessly the whole way round the planet, and did the almost 23,000 miles in 237 hours.

    Rattys Ramblings

    The third trip was an equatorial circumnavigation in the A2A Constellation, starting from and returning to Quito, Ecuador, and once again eschwing the GPS. Across the large stretches of open ocean with no navaids I used the drift sight when possible. Failing that, I made the best calculation of which way to steer and trusted that I would at least pass within range of my destination beacon. It worked every time, though on one long night leg, after a big shift in winds, when I finally picked up the beacon I was almost 100 miles north of track. The total distance for the trip was 21,725 nautical miles, the total flight time 93 hours 57 minutes.

    Rattys Ramblings

    Some real-world stats: The very first aerial circumnavigation was in 1924, by two Douglas World Cruiser floatplanes of the United States Army Air Service. They took 175 days and covered 26,345 miles. The first non-stop circumnavigation was in 1949, in a United States Air Force B-50 Superfortress. It flew 23,452 miles in 94 hours and 1 minute, and required four in-flight refuelings. And in 1992 an Air France Concorde achieved the fastest circumnavigation to date, in 32 hours 49 minutes and 3 seconds.

    What exactly is "around the world"? Well, for a powered aircraft to officially circumnavigate the globe, Federation Aeronautique Internationale stipulations are that it must cross all meridians in one direction, travel a distance of at least 36,770 km (19,854 nautical miles, the length of the Tropic of Cancer), and complete the journey at the point of departure. There is no requirement that it cross the Equator or touch "antipodal points", spots on the globe directly opposite one another. Most round-the-world flights are from west to east, to take advantage of the world's wind patterns, but they have been flown from east to west, and even over the two poles.

    If you're thinking about doing a round-the-world flight, I have a couple of suggestions. The first is: consider doing a little more planning than I did on my Cherokee trip to make sure you don't wind up at a dead end where you can only go backwards. The second: make the voyage in an airplane you love to fly. You'll come away loving it even more.

    Multiplayer Flight

    For the past couple of years I've been flying regularly with a group of A2A enthusiasts. The camaraderie is amazing, and the exchange of knowledge and experiences invaluable. And we have fun! So much, in fact, that I'm amazed that EVERYONE isn't in multiplayer almost all the time. Like so many others, I used to be "mic shy", and I suspect that may be the single biggest thing keeping people away from multiplayer flying.

    Fear of public speaking is number one for most people, even before the fear of death. So, apparently, most people would rather die than have to stand on a stage and speak. I get it; people might not like you. But what I discovered is that talking about and participating together in a shared passion like ours negates all the silly stuff about "looking good".

    Try it, I dare you. I'm a big fan of JoinFS; with that program you can find a listing of servers and join in, whether you're using FS2004, FSX, P3D, even X-Plane. Pick a group and connect with their comms channel; TeamSpeak and Discord seem the most popular ways to communicate. Once you hear voices, wait for a gap and speak. All you have to say is something like: "This is Ratty. Mic check." The response you get will tell you everything you need to know about the people on the channel and the way you should conduct yourself. After that you're on your own, but be prepared for some of the richest and most satisfying moments of your sim flying life.

    Rattys Ramblings

    Ratty's Ramble

    This time, let's take a trip around the island of Taiwan. Ever been there? I hadn't either. The geography of the island is nicely varied: a mountainous spine separates the western coastal plain - home to most of the country's metropolitan areas and agriculture - from the rugged eastern side with its enticing valleys and canyons.

    The tour starts from and returns to Hsinchu Air Base, RCPO. At 400 nautical miles this one is a fairly long flight; also a great sightseeing trip, so unless real weather is particularly benign, I recommend Fair or Clear to really enjoy the view.

    Skyvector Link


    3 Comments
    1. coxje's Avatar
      coxje -
      Excellent articles, Ratty. Most enjoyable, particularly the rambles. Keep it up.
      John Cox
    1. ianhr's Avatar
      ianhr -
      Good to hear. Thank you!
    1. sfgarland's Avatar
      sfgarland -
      enjoy very much!
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