16 May 2012

Flight Simulator X Diamond Jubilee Tour of the British Commonwealth

In celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne, we embark on a Diamond Jubilee flying tour of every member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.  Over the next few weeks, our Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris will circumnavigate the globe, touching down on five continents.  As the tour progresses, we will post photos and updated mileage of our journey to these exotic and far-flung locales, so be sure and stay tuned...

Current location (final): Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, Ottawa, Canada
Total mileage: 57,035.8 nautical miles    

Day 1: 9 March 2012: Ottawa, Canada - Hamilton, Bermuda (928.7 nautical miles)

RCAF CC-150 Polaris Airbus en route 
Gear up leaving F.F. Wade International
The azure waters of Bermuda
En route to the Bahamas

Day 2: 10 March 2012: Hamilton, Bermuda - Nassau, Bahamas (802.9 nautical miles)

Landing at Nassau
Flying over cruise ships in Nassau

Day 3: 11 March 2012: Nassau, Bahamas - Georgetown, Grand Cayman (406.6 nautical miles)

On final approach to Runway 26,
Owen Roberts International Airport,
Grand Cayman Island
On the ground at Owen Roberts
International Airport,
Grand Cayman Island

Day 4: 12 March 2012: Georgetown, Grand Cayman - Kingston, Jamaica (272.4 nautical miles)

Departing Norman Manley International Airport,
Kingston, Jamaica 

Day 5: 13 March 2012: Kingston, Jamaica - Cockburn Town, Turks and Caicos Islands (381.3 nautical miles)

Departing JAGS McCartney
International Airport, Cockburn Town,
Turks and Caicos Islands

Day 6: 14 March 2012: Cockburn Town, Turks and Caicos Islands - Road Town, British Virgin Islands (413.6 nautical miles)

On final approach to Runway 7, Terrance
B. Lettsome International Airport,
Road Town, British Virgin Islands
Parked on the refuelling pad at Terrance
B. Lettsome International Airport

Day 7: 15 March 2012: Road Town, British Virgin Islands - The Valley, Anguilla (85.7 nautical miles)

Descent into Clayton J. Lloyd
(Wallblake) International Airport,
The Valley, Anguilla
Landing on Runway 10, Clayton J.
Lloyd (Wallblake) International
Airport, The Valley, Anguilla

Day 8: 16 March 2012: The Valley, Anguilla - Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis (57.3 nautical miles)

Flying into Robert L. Bradshaw
International Airport, Basseterre,
St. Kitts and Nevis
Volcanic mountains tower
over Basseterre and its airport

Day 9: 17 March 2012: Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis - St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda (54.0 nautical miles)

En route from St. Kitts and Nevis
to Antigua and Barbuda
Landing at V.C. Bird International
Airport, St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda
Parked at V.C. Bird
International Airport

Day 10: 18 March 2012: St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda - Vieux Fort, St. Lucia (209.5 nautical miles)

Flying over the volcanic island of
Montserrat, en route to St. Lucia
Taxiing to the gate at Hewanorra
International Airport, Vieux Fort,
St. Lucia
Looking out the co-pilot's window
during the taxi to Hewanorra
International Airport gates

Day 11: 19 March 2012: Vieux Fort, St. Lucia - Kingstown, St. Vincent (37.8 nautical miles)

Flying over St. Vincent
Refuelling at E.T. Joshua Airport,
Kingston, St. Vincent.  The Grenadines
can be seen in the distance.

Day 12: 20 March 2012: Kingstown, St. Vincent - Bridgetown, Barbados (100.0 nautical miles)

Final approach to Runway 27,
Grantley Adams International
Airport, Barbados
Flying low over Harrison Point,

Coming in for a landing.  The airport
terminal is in the background
Parked at the gate, Grantley Adams
International Airport, Barbados

Day 13: 21 March 2012: Bridgetown, Barbados - St. George's, Grenada (148.7 nautical miles)

Descent into Maurice Bishop
International Airport, St. George's,

Parked at the gate, cargo hatches open

Day 14: 22 March 2012: St. George's, Grenada - Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (89.0 nautical miles)

Flying over Trinidad
Approaching Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
Landing at Piarco International
Airport, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
Day 15: 23 March 2012: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad - Georgetown, Guyana (305.9 nautical miles)

Flying over the Essequibo River delta
en route to Georgetown, Guyana
Final approach to Runway 6 at Cheddi
Jagan International Airport, near
Georgetown, Guyana

Day 16: 24 March 2012: Georgetown, Guyana - RAF Ascension Island (2,763.2 nautical miles)

Awaiting takeoff clearance at
RAF Station Ascension Island
Wheels up departing RAF Station
Ascension Island
Cruising over the South Atlantic
en route to the Falkland Islands

Day 17: 25 March 2012: RAF Ascension Island - RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands (3,401.7 nautical miles)

Sunset over the South Atlantic,
en route to the Falkland Islands
Descending into RAF Mount
Pleasant.  The 705-metre high
Mount Usborne in the background
Final approach to Runway 10,
RAF Mount Pleasant,
Falkland Islands

Day 18: 26 March 2012: RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands - Cape Town, South Africa (3,381.0 nautical miles)

Flying past the South Sandwich
Islands, en route to Cape Town
Cockpit view of a night landing at
Cape Town, South Africa
A low pass over the business district
of Cape Town
Flying over Cape Town
Flypast of Cape Town's famous
Table Mountain
A low pass over downtown
Cape Town

Day 19: 27 March 2012: Cape Town, South Africa - Maseru, Lesotho (530.0 nautical miles)

Flying low over the African scrubland
outside Maseru, Lesotho
Landing on Runway 22 at Moshoeshoe
International Airport, Maseru
Refuelling next to a Beechcraft King
Air 350, Moshoeshoe International

Day 20: 28 March 2012: Maseru, Lesotho - Manzini, Swaziland (263.8 nautical miles)

Landing on Runway 25, Mestapha
Airport, Manzini, Swaziland
Parked at Mestapha Airport,
Manzini, Swaziland

Day 21: 29 March 2012: Manzini, Swaziland - Gaberone, Botswana (315.6 nautical miles) 

Parked at Sir Seretse Khama
Int'l Airport, Gaberone, Botswana
On the tarmac, hatches open

Day 22: 30 March 2012: Gaberone, Botswana - Windhoek, Namibia (481.1 nautical miles)

Cruising en route to
Windhoek, Namibia
Landing at Hosea Kutako International
Airport, Windhoek, Namibia

Day 23: 31 March 2012: Windhoek, Namibia - Lusaka, Zambia (755.8 nautical miles)

Flying over Victoria Falls on the
Zambezi River, between Zambia and
Zimbabwe, en route to Lusaka 
Descending onto Runway 10 at
Kenneth Kaunda International
Airport, Lusaka, Zambia
Parked at the Gate

Day 24: 1 April 2012: Lusaka, Zambia - Lilongwe, Malawi (324.4 nautical miles)

Flying over the Zambian veld, en route
to Lilongwe, Malawi
Landing at Kamuzu International
Airport, Lilongwe, Malawi

Day 25: 2 April 2012: Lilongwe, Malawi - Maputo, Mozambique (728.8 nautical miles)

Flying past the Chimanimani
Parked at the gate, Maputo
International Airport, Maputo,

Day 26: 3 April 2012: Maputo, Mozambique - Port Louis, Mauritius (1420.6 nautical miles)

Flying over downtown Maputo,
Mozambique after departing the
Maputo airport
Cruising over the east coast of
Madagascar, en route to Mauritius
Sunset over the Indian Ocean while
flying toward Port Louis, Mauritius

Day 27: 4 April 2012: Port Louis, Mauritius - Victoria, Seychelles (952.7 nautical miles)

Preparing to depart Port Louis,
Mauritius for the Seychelles
Mahé, the largest of the Seychelles
Islands, home to the capital, Victoria,
and the main airport

Day 28: 5 April 2012: Victoria, Seychelles - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (982.6 nautical miles)

Awaiting permisson to take off from
Seychelles International Airport
Departing the Seychelles
Parked at Dar es Salaam's Julius
Nyerere International Airport

Day 29: 10 April 2012: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Nairobi, Kenya (360.1 nautical miles)

Flying past Mount Kilimanjaro,
Tanzania at 20,000 ft.
Landing on Runway 6, Jomo Kenyatta
International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya 
Baggage crews tend to the plane
while parked in Nairobi.  Mount
Kenya is seen in the background

Day 30: 11 April 2012: Nairobi, Kenya - Kampala, Uganda (280.5 nautical miles)

Cruising over Lake Victoria en route
to Kampala, Uganda
Parked on the tarmac at Entebbe
International Airport, serving Uganda's
capital, Kampala (46 miles away)

Day 31: 12 April 2012: Kampala, Uganda - Yaoundé, Cameroon (1271.1 nautical miles)

Cruising over the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, en route to Yaoundé
Landing at Yaoundé Nsimalen
International Airport, Cameroon 

Day 32: 13 April 2012: Yaoundé, Cameroon - Abuja, Nigeria (406.5 nautical miles)

En route to Abuja, Nigeria.  Mount
Cameroon is seen in the distance
Landing at Nnamdi Azikiwe
International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria

Day 33: 14 April 2012: Abuja, Nigeria - Accra, Ghana (488.1 nautical miles)

Flying over the Ghanaian coast on the
Gulf of Guinea

Flying over Accra, capital of Ghana

Day 34: 15 April 2012: Accra, Ghana - Freetown, Sierra Leone (795.5 nautical miles)

A view of the Sierra Leone River
delta, as seen from the cockpit during
the descent into Lungi International
Airport, with the hilly capital,
Freetown, beyond on the peninsula.

Day 35: 16 April 2012: Freetown, Sierra Leone - Banjul, The Gambia (347.2 nautical miles)

Flying over the Bijagós Archipelago of
Guinea-Bissau, en route to The Gambia
Refuelling at Banjul International
Airport, Banjul, The Gambia

Day 36: 17 April 2012: Banjul, The Gambia - Gibraltar Air Base (1497.4 nautical miles)

Cruising over the Sahara Desert 
Approaching the Atlas Mountains
in Morocco

View of Gibraltar Air Base on
approach to Runway 27
Parked at Gibraltar Air Base, the 1,398
foot tall Rock of Gibraltar in the background

Day 37: 18 April 2012: Gibraltar Air Base - Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK (1111.1 nautical miles)

Cruising over the Andalusia region of
Spain, en route to Belfast
Flying low over ships in the port
of Belfast, Northern Ireland
Downtown Belfast, Northern Ireland

Day 38: 19 April 2012: Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK - Glasgow, Scotland, UK (93.6 nautical miles)

Cruising over the Firth of Clyde
en route to Glasgow, Scotland
Flying over the Ayrshire region of
Scotland, descending into
Glasgow International Airport
Parked at Glasgow International Airport
Flying over the River Clyde in
Glasgow, Scotland
A view of the Glasgow Science
Centre on the south bank of the

Day 39: 20 April 2012: Glasgow, Scotland, UK - London, England, UK (299.2 nautical miles)

Cruising over the Lake District in
Northwest England, en route to
London Heathrow
Passing over the River Thames and
central London.  Tower Bridge, St.
Paul's Cathedral, the Gherkin, and
the Tower of London can be seen
in the background
Heading east over Whitehall,
Parliament, and St. James's Park.  The
London Eye ferris wheel can also
be seen.
Cockpit view while on final approach to
London Heathrow International Airport
Landing on Runway 27R at Heathrow 
Jetway in place at Terminal 1,

Day 40: 21 April 2012: London, England, UK - Valletta, Malta (1135.9 nautical miles)

Taxiing to Runway 27R at Heathrow
Departing Heathrow for a Diamond
Jubilee flypast of central London
Flying over Kensington Palace
Imperial College London, with
Royal Albert Hall in the background
The famous Battersea Power Station
The O2 Centre in east London
The skyscrapers of Canary Wharf
Tower Bridge and the Tower
of London
A low flypast of Windsor Castle
Threading landmarks along the
Thames: Westminster Palace on the
left and the London Eye on the right
St. Paul's Cathedral
Whitehall, Westminster Palace, and
Westminster Abbey at low altitude
Flying east out of London, over the
Port of Tilbury.  The Queen Elizabeth
II bridge is seen in the background
Stunning cockpit view while flying
over the Alps near Grenoble, France
and Turin, Italy
Flying at 17,000 feet over the Alps
Landing at Malta International Airport

Day 41: 22 April 2012: Valletta, Malta - Larnaca, Cyprus (936.5 nautical miles)

Cruising along the northern coast
of Cyprus
Flying parallel to the Kyrenia Mountain
range along Cyprus's northern coast
Parked at Cyprus's largest airport,
Larnaca International, at sunset

Day 42: 23 April 2012: Larnaca, Cyprus - Islamabad, Pakistan (1944.8 nautical miles)

Flying high over the Alborz mountain
range in northern Iran en route to
Islamabad, Pakistan
Night landing on Runway 12 at Benazir
Bhutto International Airport,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Day 43: 24 April 2012: Islamabad, Pakistan - Delhi, India (365.5 nautical miles)

Departing Islamabad, Pakistan, with
the Margalla Hills in the background
Parked at the gate, Indira Ghandi
International Airport, in a foggy
Delhi, India

Day 44: 25 April 2012: Delhi, India - Dhaka, Bangladesh (770.7 nautical miles)

A low pass over the Taj Mahal in Agra,
India, with the Yamuna River beyond
Cruising over the Ganges River in
India's Bihar State
Parked at a busy Shahjalah International
Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Day 45: 26 April 2012: Dhaka, Bangladesh - Bombay, India (1017.9 nautical miles)

Flying over the Padma River while
departing Dhaka, Bangladesh
On final approach to Runway 14 at
Chhatrapati Shivaji International
Airport, Bombay, India  
Touching down

Day 46: 27 April 2012: Bombay, India - Colombo, Sri Lanka (823.2 nautical miles)

Flying south along the western coast
of India en route to Sri Lanka
Parked at Bandaranaike International
Airport, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Day 47: 28 April 2012: Colombo, Sri Lanka - Malé, Maldives (420.7 nautical miles)

A view of heavily-urbanised Malé
Island, capital of the Maldives
Landing at Malé International Airport,
located on Hulhulé Island
Parked at the gate, Malé International
Airport.  The skyline of the capital
Malé is visible in the background 
Day 48: 29 April 2012: Malé, Maldives - Diego, Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory (693.1 nautical miles)

Flying over the aquamarine waters
of the Indian Ocean, en route to
Diego Garcia
Landing at Diego Garcia Airport
in low cloud, fog, and rain
Refuelling at Diego Garcia Airport
in pouring rain

Day 49: 30 April 2012: Diego, Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1,856.2 nautical miles)

Cruising over the Indian Ocean at dusk,
en route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Day 50: 1 May 2012: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Singapore, Republic of Singapore (162.1 nautical miles)

Flying low over downtown Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia.  The Petronas
Towers and KL Tower are seen in
the background
The 1,017 foot tall, 55-story Menara
Telekom tower, headquarters of
Telekom Malaysia
A view of the Singapore skyline
on descent into Changi Airport
Parked at the gate at Singapore's
Changi International Airport

Day 51: 2 May 2012: Singapore, Republic of Singapore - Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei (689.6 nautical miles)

Flying over National Stadium,
Flying past downtown Singapore
Cruising over Big Subi Island (Pulau
Subi Besar) in the South China Sea, en
route to Brunei
Parked at the gate at Brunei Intl'l
Airport, Bandar Seri Begawan,

Day 52: 3 May 2012: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (2,115.4 nautical miles)

Waiting for takeoff clearance while
an A321 prepares to depart Brunei
International Airport
Flying over Sulawesi Island, Indonesia
Sunset over the Molucca Sea, en route
to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Day 53: 4 May 2012: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea - Honiara, Solomon Islands (758.5 nautical miles)

Taxiing for takeoff from Port Moresby,
New Guinea
Descending into Honiara,
Solomon Islands
Parked at Honiara International Airport

Day 54: 5 May 2012: Honiara, Solomon Islands - Port Vila, Vanuatu (692.1 nautical miles)

Flying past Makira Island in the
Solomon Islands chain
Cruising over the volcanic Epi Island,
en route to Port Vila, Vanuatu
Landing on Runway 29 at Bauerfield
International Airport, Port Vila,
Day 55: 7 May 2012: Port Vila, Vanuatu - Sydney, Australia (1,340.8 nautical miles)

Descending toward Runway 34L,
Kingsford-Smith International Airport,
Sydney, Australia
The Sydney skyline as seen just before
touching down at Kingsford-Smith
International Airport

Day 56: 8 May 2012: Sydney, Australia - Canberra, Australia (127.2 nautical miles)

Climbing out of Kingsford-Smith
International Airport in Sydney
Flying over Sydney Olympic Park.
Seen here are The Dome (bottom left),
Sydney Showground (bottom right), and
ANZ Stadium (upper right)
Flying low past the skyscrapers of
downtown Sydney
Downtown Sydney, including the
iconic Opera House and Sydney
Harbour Bridge
Flying low over the Sydney Football
Stadium (left) and Sydney Cricket
Ground (left)
Leaving Sydney, en route to the
Australian capital, Canberra
Cruising over the Blue Mountains
National Park and Lake Burragorang
Flying over Lake George during the
approach to Canberra
Cruising over Parliament House,Canberra
Flypast of the Australian National War
Memorial in Canberra
Canberra's Black Mountain, with the
195.2 metre tall Black Mountain Tower
seen at the bottom
Flying over Lake Burley Griffin, with
the National Carillon on the left, and
the High Court of Australia and the
National Gallery of Australia
on the right
The Manuka Oval, a 13,000+ seat
stadium for cricket and football
Another flypast over Lake Burley
Griffin.  The vertical water jet of the
Captain James Cook Memorial is seen
on the right.  The water jet throws
6 tons of water up to 147 metres high  
Final approach to Runway 35 of
Canberra International Airport
Parked at the jetway

Day 57: 9 May 2012: Canberra, Australia - Wellington, New Zealand (1,253.1 nautical miles)

En route to Wellington, New Zealand
Sunset over the Tasman Sea
A beautiful, moonlit night approaching
New Zealand
Parked at the jetway on a bright,
moonlit night at Wellington
International Airport

Day 58: 10 May 2012: Wellington, New Zealand - Nuku'alofa, Tonga (1,308.4 nautical miles)

Departing Runway 34, Wellington
International Airport
A low flypast of downtown Wellington,
New Zealand.  Notable buildings
include the Majestic Centre, BNZ
Centre, and the Intercontinental
Wellington Hotel 
Flying past the Museum of New
Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and
Chaffers Marina, Wellington
A view of Wellington Harbour and the
Cook Strait beyond while climbing
to cruising altitude
Sunset in the South Pacific Ocean,
en route to Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Night landing at Fua'amotu
International Airport, Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Day 59: 11 May 2012: Nuku'alofa, Tonga - Funafuti, Tuvalu (830.5 nautical miles)

Climbing out of Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Cruising over the French oversea
collectivity of Wallis and Futuna Islands
Parked at Funafuti International Airport
in the tiny atoll of Tuvalu.

Day 60: 12 May 2012: Funafuti, Tuvalu - Apia, Samoa (606.7 nautical miles)

Landing at Faleolo International
Airport in Apia, Samoa

Day 61: 13 May 2012: Apia, Samoa - Yaren, Nauru (1,482.1 nautical miles)

Taking off from Apia, Samoa
Refuelling at Nauru International
Airport after landing
Day 62: 14 May 2012: Yaren, Nauru - South Tarawa, Kiribati (392.1 nautical miles)

Landing on Runway 09 at Bonriki
International Airport, on the Kiribati
atoll of Tarawa

Day 63: 15 May 2012: South Tarawa, Kiribati - Belize City, Belize (via Honolulu, Hawaii) (5,985.1 nautical miles)

Climbing out of Tarawa bound for
Honolulu, Hawaii
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean while en
route to Honolulu for a refuelling stop
before continuing on to Belize City
Cruising past Lake Chapala, Mexico's
largest freshwater lake
Parked at the gate at Philip S.W.
Goldson International Airport,
Belize City, Belize

Day 64: 16 May 2012: Belize City, Belize - Ottawa, Canada (1,782.2 nautical miles)

Heading north along the Belizean coast
Cruising north over Lake
Ontario near Kingston, Ontario
en route to Ottawa
Passing low over downtown Ottawa
A slow pass over Ottawa
prior to landing
A victory pass over Parliament Hill
and downtown Ottawa
Streetview of a low pass over
Parliament Hill, marking a successful
end to the Diamond Jubilee
Commonwealth Air Tour
Shortly after landing on Runway 32
at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier
International Airport
Taxiing to the gate
Parked at the gate after the end of a
64-day, 57,035 nautical mile
global odyssey

God Save the Queen!

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