Following the Equator around the world

Guest Ed Guest

Hi all,

I've started an around the world tour, with the restriction that I will follow the Equator as much as possible, and never leave the tropics (between 23.5 degrees north and south latitude). Since the only location I could think of that would definitely be on the Equator was Ecuador, I started in Quito. I'm flying my old favorite, the Lear Jet 45.

I got off to a rough start. My usual routine is to set the autopilot to fly the runway heading and go to 10,000 feet altitude, until I can go to my intended course-- guess should have checked the airport elevation first! Quito is at over 9,000 feet, and it is in a valley! So when I engaged the autopilot, I quickly found myself skimming the treetops and pointed right at a very large, solid-looking bit of the Andes at close to 250 kias. So, I disengaged the A/P, poured on the power and started climbing as fast as I could while maneuvering to get myself pointed down the valley.

But, the initial emergency got me so rattled that I forgot to raise the landing gear and the flaps. So, as I reached 18,000 feet, the plane suddenly stalled, with the nose up at about 25 degrees. Quickly remembering what Rod Machado taught me, I put the nose down, poured on the power, and got the gear and flaps up. Finally, I got things under control and climbed to above FL200, sufficient to clear the mountains, and headed east.

My first stop was at Belem, Brazil (SBBE), about 1700 nm away, right at the mouth of the Amazon. I had been there a few months ago, during my tour of the Amazon, and I knew that it had an easy ILS approach, with no mountains for several hundred miles in every direction. After the near-disasterous takeoff, I was ready for an easy landing.

After brunch and refueling at Belem, I took off for Ascension Island (FHAW) right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. That is 2000 nm from Belem, close to the maximum range of the Lear (FS09 says the range is 2200 nm, but that must be to dry tanks). I landed there this evening with about 20 minutes worth of fuel on board, close enough to empty for me.

Tomorrow I will head for Africa. There is an airport within 0.5 degree of the Equator called Leon M'Ba (FOOL) 😂 . Really, that's the airport's designation.


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Pro Member Chief Captain
Matthew Shope (mypilot) Chief Captain

Cool! Sounds like furn. I like to explore Alaska and Canada. I just landed a 777-200ER from Moscow, Russia to Anchorage, AK. I'm gunna take the Cessna Caravan Amphibian and go down to see the glaiers. 😳

Pro Member First Officer
Martin (Blake14) First Officer

What you've been telling us about your tour just made me want to do it too. When you've finished your tour, could you give me your flighplan?
You could send it to my never used flyaway sim e-mail.

Good luck on your tour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

Guest Ed Guest

mypilot wrote:

Cool! Sounds like furn. I like to explore Alaska and Canada. I just landed a 777-200ER from Moscow, Russia to Anchorage, AK. I'm gunna take the Cessna Caravan Amphibian and go down to see the glaiers. 😳

One of the better glacier-viewing flights in FS09 is in the "Alaska Floatplane Charter" series of flights, the McKinley Sightseeing flight. You fly up a long, narrow valley above a glacier on the south flank of Denali, eventually reach a huge ampitheater-like basin and turn around, then come back down and land on a glacial lake to let the sightseers eat lunch. There are other glaciers in the area you can fly, too, if you have the time-- only the first one is described in the flight briefing, but glaciers are not hard to find in Alaska!


Guest Ed Guest

I can't believe how long it has taken me to get back to this. This "job" nonsense is cutting into my leisure time. . . Mad

From Ascension Island, I continued east to Leon M'Ba (Libreville, Gabon, airport: FOOL) and after refueling, continued the same day to Gangoka International (FZIC) at Kisagani, Congo. By then it was almost midnight, so that was the end of the first sim-day's flight-- all the way from the west coast of South America to the middle of Africa.

The next sim-morning, I took off and landed on the east coast of Africa at Ksimayu, Somalia (HCMK). The locals didn't seem too friendly to gringos like me, so after stocking up on pretzels and beer, I immediately headed east.

The next landfall, still within a degree of the equator, was Gan Island in the Maldives, southeast of India. The airport (VRMG) runway is about 8000 feet, and the island is about 8010 feet-- the airport practically takes up the whole island. It's pretty late in the afternoon, so I guess I'll take in some of the Maldivian culture this evening and head towards Indonesia in the morning. If it's not too far out of the way (and not too far north) I'll stop by Sri Lanka for a visit.

'Til next time,


Guest Ed Guest

Except after rereading my post tonight, I realize I relocated Gan Island-- it's southWEST of India, not southeast.

That's what I get for posting after a couple of rum'n'cokes. Embarassed


Pro Member First Officer
Kurt Stevens (KurtPStevens) First Officer

That sounds like a great trip Ed. I may have to try it, once I get a bird with some longer legs. I am currently on a tour of US State Capitols.

To mix it up a bit I am flying the Cessna 310 for hops 100miles or less, the Cessna 441 Conquest for flights up to 300miles, and the ATR 72-500 for flights over 300 miles.

I have flown to 32 State Capitols so far! I flew from Charleston, WV to Columbus, OH last night. Thank goodness I have solid IFR skills! I landed on runway 04 in a huge blizzard, 1/4mile visibility with a 16knot wind at 026. What a ride! 😳


Sounds great Kurt, and glad to hear your sticking with your tour too Ed !

I'm dying to get out and do some "free" flying soon (ie...a tour) but there are so many good add-ons coming out on the Airline side of things that 90% of my flying is real life airline schedules.... I mean I love it because I love the big complex add-ons but I do also love sparking up one of my "low and slows" and just flying wherever I fancy!

Good luck to you both.

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

That was me..... my PC is behaving very badly at the mo!

Guest Ed Guest

KurtPStevens wrote:

I am currently on a tour of US State Capitols.

That's a great idea for a tour, Kurt. I'll have to think about a variation on that theme-- all the provicial and territorial capitols of Canada, or all the capitols of Europe, something along that line. Great idea!


Guest Ed Guest

Well, I haven't updated the tour for several days.

Leaving Gan Island, I headed north and east to Sri Lanka, landing at VCBD, Badaranaike International Airport in the city of Colombo.

Later the same day, I headed back south and east to the city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, landing at Sultana Iskandarmuda Airport (WITT, and you should hear the FS ATC butcher that name 😀 ).

Actually, I was kind of curious to see the lay of the land in Sri Lanka and around Banda Aceh because those areas were both hard hit by the tsunami back in December. Banda Aceh was one of the hardest hit areas, not just because of the damage but because it is isolated and medical teams could not get there for several days.

Here is a link to before and after photos of Banda Aceh:

That afternoon, I continued on my trip, heading toward the Philippines, 1700 miles to Lapu-Lapu. The airport there, Mactan-Cebu International (RPVM) is pretty good size and has ILS both directions on a single runway. It's getting dark, so I think I'll spend the night in Lapu-Lapu before heading across the wide Pacific for Hawaii.


Guest Ed Guest

Well, I'm back in the air again after a busy week at what passes for a job, and I'm still heading east.

Leaving the Philippines bright and early, I headed north and east toward Guam. I've always been curious about Guam, because back when I was in the US Navy ('bout a hundred years ago) a friend of mine got assigned to a ship that was in Guam. At the same time, I was assigned to a ship that was located in Scotland. I can hardly imagine any two places more different than Guam and Scotland-- Guam is WAY out in the middle of nowhere, and Scotland is conveniently close to England and Ireland. Not much there but an airport and a few buildings, if FS09 is to be believed. I didn't stick around for long.

So, after a quick refueling, I took off for the next island of any size to the east, Kwajalein Island (PKWA). You may think you've never heard of Kwajalein, but you probably have-- every time the US launches a test missile so that the always-in-development Missle Defense System can TRY to shoot it down, they usually launch the missile from Vandenburg AFB in California, and aim it to land near Kwajalein. I once met a guy who had been stationed at the AFB on Kwajalein, and he absolutely hated it. Kwajalein is surrounded by the deep blue Pacific for about 2000 miles in every direction, and this guy was afraid of the water. Couldn't swim, didn't want to try. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn't it?

So after visiting these desolate outposts of the US military, I was anxious to get back to civilization. The next destination was at Hilo, Hawaii (PHTO). That is a good sized international airport with ILS on the longest runway, which is pretty convenient because not too far off the other end of the runway are a couple of 14,000 foot volcanoes (Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea). Since it was getting pretty late, I decided to sleep on the beach and get a fresh start in the morning. That was the fourth sim-night of the trip.

Well, the next leg was the reason for my earlier posts about fuel economy-- it's 2500 nm from Hilo to Isla Socorro, Mexico (MM2T). The rated range of the Lear is 2200 nm. I was pretty sure I could make it, from previous experience, but I wasn't sure. There were a couple of closer airports I could have gone to, but they were very close to being too far north for my "never leave the tropics" rule.

My approach to fuel economy was to budget how many gallons per hour I could burn in each segment: climbing, cruise, and descent. Leaving Hilo I saw that I was burning 1400 PPH while climbing at 1500 FPM, and I knew I could be at cruising altitude in 30 minutes (45,000 divided by 1,500) burning 700 pounds in the process. Since the Lear burns about 800 PPH at FL455 and I had 5300 pounds on board when I reached that altitude, that gave me 6.6 hours of remaining flight time. I thought it would take about 5 hours to get there (2500nm @ 500kias), so that gave me over an hour's worth of fuel for approach and any emergencies. In fact, I landed with 25% fuel capacity on board, about 1500 pounds, so I probably was conservative in my estimates.

Anyhow, there wasn't a darned thing to do in Isla Socorro, so as the sun set in the west I refueled and set out again, this time heading for Acapulco, Mexico (MMAA). That's only about 650 nm from Isla Socorro, so I was there in time for margueritas and mariachi music at the beach-front bar.

A couple more jumps, and I will be back in Quito.


Pro Member First Officer
michlin First Officer

A very good narrative. 😎 Riding the Equator. I think I would like to try that too. Idea

Guest Ed Guest

I just finished the flight around the world, returning to Quito, Ecuador. It was just one final jump from Acapulco to Quito, about 1600 nm.

According to the logbook it was 53.6 hours over about five and a half sim-days, but in real life it was spread over three weekends. I confess, I used accelerated sim time for a lot of the long legs; there just isn't that enough scenery in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to keep my interest for 6 or more hours of flying. I always fly the ascent to cruise altitude and the descent in real time, but crank it up for the cruise.

The return to Quito was almost as exciting as the departure, when as you may recall, I stalled on takeoff and almost ate a big chunk of the Andes. Coming back in, I thought I'd be smart and use the GPS Procedure to get me lined up with the ILS approach at Quito (SEQU) runway 35. Wrong. I had no idea what altitude I needed for each segment of the approach. When it became obvious that I had underestimated in that regard and GPS was about to take me on a shortcut THROUGH the mountain, I had to abort the procedure and fly it by hand until I got within sight of the runway and acquired the localizer.

All in all, it was a good trip. I learned a bit of geography, I learned how to maximize the performance and fuel economy of the Lear Jet, and learned a couple of important lessons about trying to use autopilot in mountainous areas! 😳


Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

I find your trips fascinating, where are you off to now.
Thanks for the details.


Guest Ed Guest

Thanks, RadarMan. I know my write-ups get a little wordy sometimes, but I enjoy the fantasy and the fiction as much as the flying.

I haven't decided what to do next. Usually I alternate between "high and fast" and "low and slow" (jets vs props), so I'm due for a low/slow tour. I really like KurtPStevens' idea about touring all the states' capitals, but I'd like to do something a little different.

Actually, I have been toying with the idea of a sailplane tour, maybe to visit all the counties in California by sailplane. Or Canada to Mexico by sailplane, something like that. That ought to keep me busy for a while. . .

But definitely NOT around-the-world by sailplane. 😂


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