Tue Nov 23 13:15:06 UTC 2010
Last weekend, the Brazilian TV programme Fantástico presented a very nice
feature about WorldFlight in general and the Coventry crew in particular. Now
with English subtitles, you can enjoy our four minutes of international fame:
Sat Nov 13 15:01:25 UTC 2010
After a week of catching up with the real world, the crew of Speedbird
744 now is busy sorting out the thousands of photos and hours of video
shot during the event. I'm particularly proud of the following two
videos posted on YouTube which show in great detail what amount of work
it takes to land 250 tonnes of aircraft safely.
Thu Nov 11 21:01:25 UTC 2010
One of the prettiest photos yet: we witness sunrise at FL370 on our way
into Darwin. Cpt. Hoppie left, F/O Spock right. This sunrise marked our
final day, as we went from Darwin via the Gold Coast down to Sydney.
Jeroen and Jake welcome daylight at last
Mon Nov 8 14:53:23 UTC 2010
Back at home, I am still recovering from the sleep deprivation. Stay tuned
to this blog for more videos and photos to come!
Sun Nov 7 10:31:55 UTC 2010
WorldFlight 2010 has arrived back in Sydney!
After the usual big sim gathering, formation flying, past-the-house,
under-the-bridge, over-the-top, and touch-and-go (2x), we lined up
with Sydney 34L and parked our trustworthy bird where we had picked
her up nearly a week ago.
It has been our best WorldFlight yet, with no major malfunctions, no
major operational screwups, excellent ATC cover, and great media coverage.
Most of our own footage and photos are still stacked onto SD cards and
hard drives, and will be sorted out over the next days. We simply did not
have the time to dump the machines and upload all media, also due to
bandwidth restrictions (need to keep the sim running).
Thanks for all donations we've got -- it's money well spent.
The Coventry crew now drops into the usual black hole for a while. Getting
the drone of the sim out of our ears taks days!
WorldFlight 2011 is just 358 days away ...
Not bad, 30 minutes delay on a 7-day schedule
Sun Nov 7 07:36:04 UTC 2010
We encountered serious instrument conditions on the foggy Gold Coast,
so the BAW744 crew got excellent opportunities to prove their IMC
capabililties. Now for the final leg into Sydney!
Sat Nov 6 23:42:24 UTC 2010
My last flight as captain has been completed with the aircraft safely
parked in Darwin, Australia. We've entered the departure continent again
and just three flights remain: to Townsville, Brisbane, and Sydney.
Out of Denpasar we quickly got settled in the cruise, enjoyed some fabulous
Indian-style ATC cuisine, and received early directions for a visual
approach to runway 11 at Darwin. From where we came this was nearly a
straight-in from cruise altitude, one long glide to the threshold. Funnily
enough there wasn't anything visual. We got recleared to the VOR approach
to 11 while on intermediate final, and broke clouds around 1500 ft. An
uneventful landing and long taxi back brought us to stand #2 and the next
crew can take her to Townsville in about one hour.
In the mean time, weird sounds emerge from Coventry Base, as the media
crew puts together our next video ... stay tuned!
Sat Nov 6 18:52:04 UTC 2010
A delayed takeoff from Singapore now brings BAW744 to dangerous skies.
As the Worldflight convoy heads for Denpasar, we get close to the Merapi
The Merapi active volcano is scarily nearby
Sat Nov 6 17:41:33 UTC 2010
Speedbird 744 welcomed (real) 747-400 Captain Jon Bunting on the flight
deck. Unfortunately his real-world schedules did not permit him to join
the flight crew this year, but he found the time to drop by. The
improvements that John Davis made on the sim last year strengthened
Jon in his opinion that BAW744 really is an impressive piece of kit
which easily gives a better operational ambiance than the real simulators.
After all, the real sims are sweat boxes where pilots are tested to
their limits. These simulators are never used to do full gate-to-gate
flights. They fly from incident to incident, and skip all routine. BAW744
reverses it and offers "operations normal" highlights and boredom instead
of sheer terror. John knew what his choice was.
Yet another TV crew visited Coventry Base to shoot BAW744 in operation. It
will go out tomorrow (Sunday) on ITV Central TV. While Roddy sets up the
aircraft for the flight from Singapore to Denpasar (Indonesia), the other
crew members are worried over the Merapi volcano which lays nearly directly
under the flight route. Will this significantly influence our journey...?
Captain Davis being shot for Central TV
Sat Nov 6 07:57:15 UTC 2010
It is Saturday morning, and the 744 base in Coventry can as well be called
Tranquility Base. Downstairs the overnight crews are now fast asleep scattered
over the floor and sofas, upstairs Jake and John are starting up the engines
for the flight from Mumbai to Madras, and I am slowly recovering from my deadly
schedule last 48 hours.
My flight this early morning from Karachi to Mumbai was uneventful, but already
delayed at the start due to late arrival of the airplane and then a lot more
due to a large queue of departure clearance requesters without radio
discipline. BAW744 leaves Mumbai an hour late, and we will need to work
efficiently during the stopovers to gain this time back.
As it is now weekend, we expect some more people to come aboard. Also online
the difference is noticeable. The last legs into Australia are always very
Some more photos and videos have been produced that should go online RSN.
Fri Nov 5 22:19:01 UTC 2010
After a day of nearly successive flights, I sign off with a big smile.
The last two flights I have been guiding Jake, our "second officer
customer" around. Although he has experience on the topic, Jake did
not formally qualify as crewmember for BAW744 and was enrolled as "just"
a second officer, assumed to be part of the crew but not independent.
In two flights, the second of which he occupied the right hand seat all
the time from startup to shutdown, Jake proved to be a worthy companion
to say the least. We enjoyed a flight from Istanbul into Tel Aviv, and
then on to Kuwait City. Traffic and general chaos were sufficient to
put up a very realistic and challenging environment, in which Jake could
pretty well hold his own. Chapeau!
Now off to bed. Up again at 03:30, this time hopefully my alarms and the
fellow crew members will be able to actually wake me up ...
Fri Nov 5 13:59:31 UTC 2010
We now definitely are past the half of Worldflight 2010, both in air miles
and in number of flights. As our Departures and Arrivals board scrolls
down with each flight, the first Australian destinations pop up at the
bottom. Always both a welcome and a sad moment. But the Middle and Far
East will still bring the unexpected challenges, as usual.
Australia in sight
Thu Nov 4 19:46:17 UTC 2010
While approaching into Cairo, the BAW744 at Coventry Base welcomed a
TV crew from the Brazilian channel GloboTV. They have followed us closely
throughout the whole preparation for the next flight Cairo to Patras,
and taped all departure procedures and other aspects of a "routine"
When approaching Patras, our worries about the situation there grew. Patras
(actually Araxos Air Force Base) is a no-radar airfield, which means there
is just one VORDME procedure to get aircraft in, and separation is
procedural. With the amount of traffic heading for the field, this promised
long holding delays.
We entered the hold at FL120, 12,000 ft, and after two orbits Hoppie
asked the controller for estimated time of further clearance. To our
horror the answer was "expect six zero minutes in the hold" -- a full
hour. The airfield can take one aircraft per 10 minutes. The poor guys
entering the hold at FL300 should wait for three hours!
As captain of BAW744, Hoppie decided that even one hour holding was no
option as there wasn't sufficient fuel aboard for that plus an approach
to Araxos plus a deviation to Athens in case of some problem with the
single runway. After consulting home base, BAW744 left the holding stack
at Araxos and headed for Athens, where we simply got straight in and
dropped our 300 passengers in a hotel.
It was fun to have to contact Athens Tower 80 nm out, and then see the
controller team ramp up quickly as it became clear just how much traffic
Athens would get Real Soon Now.
Malcolm and Roddy are just starting the engines for the next leg to
The Brazilians really got a good example of what WorldFlight is about!
Thu Nov 4 13:04:47 UTC 2010
A fellow team from Australia, flying a 737, managed to be in the
landing sequence just before QF25, our 744 sister ship. Watch how
the 737 crew skillfully fends off the big bird. :-)
You can hear Speedbird 744 (us) calling in around 1:00 into the video.
Also, there are more photos and videos of Speedbird 744, just visit
the main sim site.
Wed Nov 3 22:13:57 UTC 2010
Late Wednesday night, and while we plough on into Johannesburg, I get my
head down to get my last good night of sleep. Tomorrow at 08:40 a gruelling
schedule kicks in that will keep me without proper rest for the best of 48
hours. Worldflight enters its fourth day and the real buzz is just to come:
up towards North-Africa, a tour of Europe in daylight with a TV crew looking
over our shoulders, the Middle-East, India, Oceania, and back to Oz.
It's a big planet, this.
Wed Nov 3 16:05:56 UTC 2010
The ocean is behind us and we've entered the African continent. An
uneventful approach into Windhoek brought the Queen to a first-row
stand right in front of the tower. While the crew gets a bit of rest,
the aircraft patiently awaits her new assignment: Kaapstad!
All aircraft systems idle except electricals
Wed Nov 3 10:01:41 UTC 2010
A beautiful landing at Ascension Island after a looooooong shift for
Malcolm. Next leg is Eastbound -- Africa!
Don't hit a Vulcan or Victor
Wed Nov 3 07:01:20 UTC 2010
Coventry Base wakes up to the dissonant sounds of SELCAL bi-tones as Speedbird
744 makes her way over the South Atlantic. Malcolm and Andy had signed up to
take us from La Paz in Bolivia via Asuncion in Paraguay to Rio de Janeiro in
Brazil. Operations resemble oceanic, as there is little radar cover in these
vast expanses of rain forest, Mato Grosso do Sul. But the real oceanic is now
upon us: from Rio to Georgetown, Ascension Island in the middle of the South
Atlantic. 2031 nautical miles to go. Island fuel reserves seem
pointless, as there simply is nothing around Ascension Island where we could
go in case of runway trouble. Hopefully none of the Worldflight aircraft
suffers a bad landing ... an increasingly realistic possibility, given that
most crews by now get quite tired.
"Where are we?" "Wednesday."
Tue Nov 2 22:03:17 UTC 2010
La Paz is difficult. Not only is it a very high altitude airport
which brings its own challenges, but the way the air traffic controllers
organised the arrival wasn't making it easier. With no advance warning
or suggestion at all, we had to hold overhead the airport, then fly
outbound on a specific radial, turn inbound to intercept the ILS for runway
10, when visual abort the ILS and switch to a left hand circling
approach for 28, land, don't burn up the brakes, backtrack, expedite to
alpha and leave the runway for the next aircraft. All very doable,
especially with a capable glider pilot like Roddy at the helm, but
a challenge if you need to find it out 10 seconds before you have to
LOVE IT! :-)
Tue Nov 2 15:46:04 UTC 2010
I wrote up a nice feature article about Worldflight on Roger-Wilco, "the
world's first air traffic management blog". It gives a brief overview of
what is the technology under Worldflight and how it came into existence.
The flight from Cancun to Panama City was uneventful, except for some
tropical storm that required us to deviate up to 10 nm left of track. It
remains wonderful to see that the PS1 weather radar can actually show CB
cloud formations way ahead that then materialise on a completely different
visual system. ATC was very helpful and we got a straight-in to Panama
City. As I write this, I hear the crew landing at Quito, always interesting
due to the altitude of this airfield.
Speedbird 744 parked at Quito with other Worldflight aircraft
Carl and me swapped seats in the next flights, so I will be F/O into La Paz,
"El Alto". Fun, another airfield that is as high up in the air as its
runway is long.
Tue Nov 2 02:43:51 UTC 2010
"Houston, we have a problem"
Heading into Denver, at 12 miles out, it became apparent that we were not at
all picking up any ILS, so we asked in a hurry for a visual which we did
not really get in time. Nonetheless, Captain Hoppie decided to
get a shot at the Space Shuttle approach: zero thrust, high-altitude
airport, landing speed 165 knots with full flaps. The actual approach
went fine, landing was a greaser spot on the airspeed, and centerline
tracking was excellent. Reversers came out as required and then it was
just waiting for the 165 knots to bleed off. Which took "a wee bit"
longer than expected, due to (most likely) mishandling of the autobrakes
and failure of the crew to detect this in time. BAW744 went straight
through the approach lights (but perfectly on centerline) and came to
a full stop 20 meters before the airport perimeter fence. Ok, this still
counts as "landed at Denver". With the wheel brakes showing zero temperature
accumulation, BAW744 leisurely ran back to the terminal and we could nicely
view QFA25 coming in.
A good practice for our next stop: Houston, Texas.
Mon Nov 1 21:48:57 UTC 2010
With over one hour delay due to technology and bad luck, the Coventry team
is on its way to Regina, Canada. We know that we will have simulator
limitations in Regina, so likely Moose Jaw will be our diversion airfield.
Speedbird 744 climbing out of Seattle
Mon Nov 1 20:27:17 UTC 2010
Captain Granville skillfully got us into a heavily clouded, rainy Seattle.
The traffic was dense and the mostly native controllers had to vector us
all over the place. ILS intercept was at 6000 ft, and when we finally broke
clouds Granville greased her onto the 16C. After docking, captain Granville
and first officer Hoppie toasted on Seattle's four main assets rolled into
one sim: Boeing, Starbucks, Rain, and Microsoft.
Hoppie this year got a uniform; Malcolm provided the UK Worldflight shirts.
Mon Nov 1 16:08:52 UTC 2010
Food! John and Hoppie cooked up bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, baked beans
and buttered toast for the six Worldflight crew members currently on
Coventry base. Now the kitchen is spic & span again and the flight
crew (Carl and Andy) bring us into San Francisco runway 28R. We are again
ahead of schedule, so the preparation for the next flight still is an
hour away. Granville and Hoppie get ready for their turn, into Seattle.
Mon Nov 1 13:33:10 UTC 2010
While the aircraft works its way from Hawaii to San Francisco, we are
busy catering to the media. A photographer/videographer currently
is on the flight deck to shoot material for a national news agency,
and I write some articles for web sites all over the world. Which
should remind the reader that the whole purpose of Worldflight is
also to raise money for charities. Please look around your screen for
the DONATE! buttons and consider making a contribution.
Granville and Malcolm take us to Honolulu
The new three-projector 180° visual system that John has built works
great. When I was first confronted with the result, I actually got slightly
ill by the attack of the system on my peripheral vision. Especially when the
sim stopped during taxi, the effect was rather strong. Luckily I got used to
it in the mean time.
Mon Nov 1 04:08:39 UTC 2010
It is now very early morning Coventry time, yet in Fiji it is midday and the
Worldflight convoy gets ready to leave for Hawaii. Seven hours straight.
Malcolm as F/O and Granville as Captain will take the bird across the
Pacific, led by just their sense of direction and Radio Aloha. In the mean
time I will try to get some sleep. Next door, the heavy noise of a 747-400
flight deck rumbles away. Oh yes, I remember. This is Worldflight. Just
seven days to go...
Mon Nov 1 00:59:04 UTC 2010
Enroute to Nadi (Fiji), we pass Noumea and find ourselves nicely in the middle
of the pack. The weather is fair, and an uneventful departure from Sydney
is a good start of a new Worldflight.
Worldflight passing Noumea
Sun Oct 31 22:10:33 UTC 2010
The first crew, as usual PC and Hoppie, has entered the flight deck and the
passengers are getting aboard. Worldflight 2010 is about to depart. Sydney is
buzzing with traffic. The weather enroute to Nadi isn't all too good, but
hey, we need to work for our money.
Sun Oct 31 09:16:10 UTC 2010
Waking up to a rainy Coventry, John and myself started to get everything in
gear. By now, organising Worldflight is more or less routine, but it still
remains a lot of work. In the mean time, the usual suspects start putting
our their own shot at WF 2010. Martin Erdelen produced a wonderful puzzle
that you may enjoy if you have donated to our charity! Please use the button
in the left margin.
So, it got started. Just two days to go, and it is a thrill to see that
several of the cog wheels that make up Worldflight have already found
each other and cause traction. What many, many people have been working on
for a year now comes together. People travel around to be at the right time
at the right place, IT systems get linked, simulators get brushed off,
logistics and catering drop in place. It is clear that Worldflight
celebrates its tenth anniversary: much of the organisation is a well-greased
machine, lovingly maintained by a shipload of volunteers.
I enjoy the traditional start of joining one of the UK teams in Coventry by
boarding the Stena Brittanica, which happens to have been replaced by a
brand-new ship under the same name lately. Hats off, honest. I spent the
best part of last week near Paris for a business meeting, and the hut aboard
the Brittanica is larger and more comfortable than my hotel room in
Tomorrow morning I disembark at 07:30 local British time, drive leisurely to
Coventry, and meet John "PC" Davis who, again, hosts me in his house, home of
Coventry Worldflight 2010. Sainsbury's is just around the corner...
Even just one week before Worldflight takes to the skies again, I decided to
build yet another mashup gimmick. By now, the ACARS system has a direct
bridge into Twitter. This means that all Worldflight planes now dump their
status to the Worldflight time
line on Twitter automatically. Pilots and air traffic controllers can
use ACARS to directly inject tweets into the time line as well.
Hopefully, this small addition to our arsenal of online noise makers will
lead to a few more donations for our charity. We do need it!
Tue Sep 14 17:39:38 UTC 2010
Guess what. I'm going to do it again...
Our route for 2010
Mon Dec 21 19:15:46 UTC 2009
Six weeks after, I spent some time gathering all produced media and putting
all nicely together on one page. For more photos
and information about the 2009 World Flight, just see the web site of John's
wonderful 747-400 simulator.
The final figures are in from Accounting: World Flight 2009 as a whole,
i.e., all international teams together, raised a staggering €
20,500 for our combined charities!
Next year's event will celebrate the tenth anniversary of World Flight as
we know it. I'll try again to be part of it, for sure.
All cleared to go for 2010!
Fri Nov 6 12:23:30 UTC 2009
Together with dozens of pilots, WorldFlight has a number of air traffic
controllers who guide the planes in and out of the airports. Many local
controllers join in from over the whole world to make the event a success.
Traffic levels are consistently high, and squeezing planes in can lead
to scary situations.
One in, one out...
Fri Nov 6 10:12:26 UTC 2009
A bit sad: I handed in the keys to the Boeing 747-400 as the flight into
Anchorage was my last one for World Flight 2009. Real world commitments
prevent me from joining the crew during the rest of their journey into
Sydney. The flight board already shows this final destination...
The end of the journey is in sight.
However, I am positive that the crew will successfully complete the trip
and raise money for the Air Ambulance in the process! I will be taking a
boat back to the Netherlands late tonight, but World Flight goes on.
This blog will be updated as news trickles through.
Fri Nov 6 08:10:05 UTC 2009
Aboard BAW744 from Edmonton to Anchorage, we (again) try to make up for lost
time during our previous two flights. There is a pattern: we are nicely
in time with the departure, then a silly technical problem develops which
delays us 20 minutes, after which we end up at the tail of the queue and
ATC sends us around the block. For the arrival in Great Falls, we got
a 150nm downwind at 220 knots. Hurray.
We should have a red 'end of convoy' tail light.
Thu Nov 5 16:15:52 UTC 2009
Barely recovered, I set out helping John in getting yet another round of
English breakfast out the door. We are late out of Washington DC after some
tech problems, and need to hurry up. Bruce Cobb, F/O on the real machine,
joined us to fly two legs into Kansas City and Fargo. We will get
Here we go again.
Thu Nov 5 11:16:24 UTC 2009
Wow... over ten hours on the flight deck straight. According to the Rules
I now have to rest for at least eleven hours... will not happen...
Thu Nov 5 03:41:57 UTC 2009
Just beyond NAVIX over the Atlantic Ocean, still 420 miles to go to Santa
Maria, we are nicely in trail with the other planes as we head West.
Heading Out of Africa, ready for new discoveries.
Thu Nov 5 01:42:02 UTC 2009
While the current crew tries to get the plane into Rabat and is
confronted with ATC that is struggling with the traffic, I get ready
for a full night of oceanic. From Rabat to Santa Maria (Azores) as
first officer, and then on to Bermuda as Captain. Who said that the
life of long-haul pilots was easy?
Wed Nov 4 10:43:52 UTC 2009
After a few flights of running slightly behind schedule, entering Europe
marks BAW744 as 20 minutes early. Well done, crew! Next stop: Vienna,
then on to the UK. Follow our progress using all the
telemetry we provide.
We are nicely in time.
Wed Nov 4 10:25:45 UTC 2009
Feeding the crews is a major challenge, especially deep into the night
and flying with a rumbling stomach does not make you feel very good. Thanks
to LSG Sky Chefs we have nice inflight food, but nothing beats the smell
of bacon and eggs drifting up the stairs to the flight deck.
Chef John cooks up flight crew support.
One of our F/Os practices his hostie skills as he contemplates to take a major career step.
Wed Nov 4 09:24:07 UTC 2009
We had the great pleasure to have Jon Bunting, current captain for Virgin
on the 747-400, as active crew member on our flight from Diego Garcia into
Colombo. With me as Captain and Jon as First Officer, I felt a bit uneasy
at first, but Jon's attitude towards the event has been wonderful. With
his expert operation of the radios and great skills in maintaining the
global picture, we got the plane straight into Colombo.
John (R) explains to Jon (L) how we do the planning.
Mon Nov 2 09:59:00 UTC 2009
Simulators are complex machines and when you push them hard, such as with
World Flight, they are more likely to misbehave in interesting ways. At
Learmonth, we encountered strange ground effects, and had to find creative
workarounds. The resulting delay was quite impressive. However, with over
six hours of Indian Ocean ahead on our way to Diego Garcia, we can
make up for some of the lost time.
We will most certainly not overfly the destination by 150 miles.
Mon Nov 2 01:18:18 UTC 2009
From overhead Griffith at flight level 350, we speed towards Perth at a
ground speed of 507 knots and are about half an hour behind QFA25, the
reference plane for the whole World Flight pack.
As always the departure from Sydney was a bit hectic with so many planes
and software dropping off once in a while, but we pushed through it all
and now join the beautiful queue in the blue Australian skies.
The Hairy Bikers visit the sim!
Sun Nov 1 20:14:37 UTC 2009
It is now two hours before boarding, and we are so relaxed we spend time
on creating a nice inflight crew menu instead of frantically fixing things
or moving stuff around. Crew members start trickling into World Flight
Base, and we all feel ready to go.
Click to enlarge.
Sun Nov 1 17:25:32 UTC 2009
LSG SkyChefs have been very generous again: we got a wonderful supply of food
and beverages from their base at Birmingham Airport. This will get our
crews through the long nights over the ocean without any problem. Having
real airline food adds to the authenticity of the event. Thanks, LSG!
John tries to stuff yet another box with airline meals into our catering shuttle.
Sat Oct 31 08:52:52 UTC 2009
We're making final adjustments to the simulator. John got a new Captain's
MCDU and I put new MCDU software under it, so that we now have two
independent MCDUs on the flight deck.
Today we need to get some supplies for the operation, fix up a keyboard that
can do better, and do a training flight or two. On Sunday we go to pick up
our donation of airline meals from LSG SkyChefs at Birmingham Airport, and
set up the whole house for another edition of World Flight.
Tue Oct 27 08:17:57 UTC 2009
World Flight 2009 starts up... while last-minute engineering takes place on the
simulator hardware, pilot rosters get drafted and redrafted, and heaps of
supplies pile up at Dispatch, we all flex our fingers to face the challenge.
Enjoy the 2009 promo video that was put together from last year's footage!
Mon Sep 28 11:25:10 UTC 2009
This year's route will bring us from Sydney via India, Russia, Eastern-Europe
and Western-Europe to the mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. Then
Westwards to the United States, via the Bering Strait to Russia, down through
the Far East and then back to Australia. Click on the map to enlarge.
Thu Nov 13 09:31:40 UTC 2008
The third video of UK World Flight 2008 is available. It shows our departure
from Brisbane, the gathering of the Seven Deadly Sims at Williamstown, the
formation flying to the Sydney Harbour and the final Bridge and Barrel Roll
the show, and see you back next year!
Notice: the embedded player below might not work; but the "Enjoy the
show" link just above does.
Mon Nov 10 09:53:53 UTC 2008
Our resident World Flight virtual photographer Martin Erdelen has kindly
provided a number of great shots of our approach to Sydney, including the
traditional group arrival of the large sims and the airliner aerobatics.
Please go to his
web site for all photos.
BAW744 going under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 300 knots, reaching a minimum altitude over the sea of 16 feet.
Mon Nov 10 09:23:27 UTC 2008
As usual, the whole trip ends on another vessel, in this case the
Stena Brittanica. For fun I keep the Speedbird 744 position updated...
see Current Flight for the progress towards Hoek van Holland. Our ETA
is 15:00 UTC. We're picking up a stiff tail wind and the weather is
not going to improve.
Hoppie tries to relive the excitement and challenges of the 744 flight deck...
Sun Nov 9 11:11:53 UTC 2008
World Flight 2008 ended in Sydney as planned. After the formations leaving
Williamstown went over the House, under the Bridge, over the Top, and back
to Sydney International, we did a 34R touch and go, followed by a leisurely
right turn and back into 34R for full stop landing.
Thanks to all our donators, for the nice amount of money we raised for the
Air Ambulance (of course, more is always welcome -- this page stays open
until February 2009), and maybe meet you all again next year.
We have some extra photos and videos to upload, so please come back to this
blog a few more times to check out the goodies.
Cristina finally gets to eat...
... while John and Steve look slightly worn out.
Sun Nov 9 07:07:01 UTC 2008
While Steve and Andy lower the gear for the arrival in Brisbane, John is
preparing to set up the sim after landing and I do the paperwork for our
special return to Sydney via Williamstown.
Sat Nov 8 18:41:15 UTC 2008
Saturday, the last full day of World Flight 2008. We went through the Southern
part of the Far East, via India, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam (both North and
South), and Brunei. Traffic levels kept up very high, though controller
availability varied. I flew the leg into Brunei with Andrew, and we were down
to the Mk II Eyeball for much of the flight. Getting into Brunei proved to be a
challenge, with severe thunderstorms underway, and neither enroute nor approach
radar control. We got ourselves into the hold overhead the airfield and had
tower talk us down until we could do the full course procedure outbound and
back into the ILS. On final Andrew took over manually and brought us very
smooooothly into Brunei International Airport.
Tomorrow morning (UTC) we will fly the final leg, from Brisbane into Sydney.
As always, the large full-size flight decks will perform a separate stunt, for
which this year Carolina has provided the
Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, then cut it with an axe... or actually seven axes!
We will fly to an airbase North of Sydney, where all large sims will wait
for each other. Then we will fly out in formation (with airliners, that is
not exactly standard procedure) and one by one do the basic Sydney Harbour
Run: past the House, under the Bridge, and then a barrel roll or two. We will
then be picked up by Sydney Director and guided towards the airport where
we left seven days ago... it actually does not seem that long!
Fri Nov 7 20:26:51 UTC 2008
It is a very busy day for me. My first flight at three o'clock locally in
Coventry, and now preparing for my fourth. We went all the way from Casablanca
via Porto/Lisbon, Dublin, Innsbruck, Istanbul, Tiblisi, Ashgabat, and now on to
Tashkent. In this part of the world, familiar aviation terms and units (feet,
knots, nautical miles) are rigorously replaced by metric units (meters,
kilometers, kilometers per hour). This plus native air traffic controllers and
a mixed-language environment makes for "interesting" flight experiences. With
the flight into Ashgabat stuck in the hold at 5000 meters, Steve and I study
the papers for the flight to the unfamiliar town of Tashkent. In pitch black
dark night, of course.
Fri Nov 7 12:43:08 UTC 2008
On the way to Innsbruck, we passed very close nearby Coventry, and got a
clearance to deviate 5 nm left of course to blast overhead UK World Flight
Spot on! Just one wingspan off, due to waypoint turn anticipation.
Fri Nov 7 09:12:11 UTC 2008
With the pantry downstairs trembling while BAW744 upstairs starts the
engines for the flight to Innsbruck, we see the other planes of the
group slowly taxiing out and departing from Dublin. The weather in Coventry
is shiny sunny -- what will await us in Innsbruck, with an airfield that
most definitely does not accomodate heavy jets?!
Dublin Airport buzzing with World Flight traffic.
Fri Nov 7 06:42:38 UTC 2008
A routine flight Casablanca-Porto got an interesting twist when the weather in
Porto deteriorated quickly. Lisbon was nominated as our diversion airfield just
in case. When overhead Espichel, Porto indeed dropped below minima and after a
brief hold overhead Fatima we turned to the South-West to drive into Lisbon for
an early morning coffee with friends and family.
Here's the Porto weather report: LPPR 070530Z 35002KT 0200 R17/0450V0650D R35/0450V0750D FG VV000 12/12 Q1018
The 0200 part means 200 meters visibility; VV000 means no vertical visibility.
For Porto, with no CAT III landing facilities, this means closed.
Currently tracking from Lisbon to Dublin, with a bit of delay due to a late
departure of our sister ship QF25 in Casablanca (we try to stay close to her to
facilitate the air traffic controller's job).
The Australian team has a dedicated ATC group with their own extensive setup, providing cover for the whole event in case there is no local ATC online.
Thu Nov 6 17:48:41 UTC 2008
Actual jet lag now sets in. With a couple of flights in the middle of the
Coventry night, and little sleep during daytime in an overcrowded house,
many pilots feel drowsy and start to make errors. This is the time you
really want to have two if not three people on the flight deck, all aware
of the operational details of the flight, covering each other's hiccups
as a team.
Thu Nov 6 14:23:20 UTC 2008
Deep inside Africa, we track towards Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. The absence
of any traffic except the core World Flight group, the unusually thin binders
of the airport charts (sometimes with just three pages, one of which is
intentionally left blank) and the lack of facilities such as taxiways make for
a very interesting trip. It has a drawback as well: no radar means lengthy
procedural separation, no taxiways means lengthy backtrack procedures, and all
together we run late. Luckily everybody runs late, so the group still
stays more or less together.
The amount of planning paperwork to get World Flight going is staggering. Flight plans, weather charts, pilot rosters, layover slots... it all needs to match up.
Thu Nov 6 07:38:37 UTC 2008
At the shores of Lake Victoria, we have parked our ship on Entebbe
International. Due to excessive ATC delays we are running late, but do not want
to hurry (hey, this is Africa!). While the sim cools down for half an
hour, you may watch more
photos of UK World Flight and even our
Captain Carl Beeby and First Office Ryan Ashmore Plan the Descent.
Wed Nov 5 19:26:58 UTC 2008
Underway to Cape Town, we have been waiting for QF25 as they appeared to have a
TV camera (professional style) on the flight deck and delayed their departure
from Windhoek. Five minutes behind we're now cruising along, hoping for our 1/2
a second of fame as we may appear on voice or even out of their wind shield...
Wed Nov 5 15:19:53 UTC 2008
Our sister ship QF25 in Sydney apparently has some technical issues, as we see
Sim Doctor Ivan the Great and Rodney "Go Around!" Redwin open the overhead
panel on the
Australian live video link. Our own soda straw DSL line won't support such
a live link, but we do have Sim TV in the living room.
Ivan and Rodney poke into the sim internals while Matt isn't watching.
Wed Nov 5 12:24:40 UTC 2008
With just four minutes delay after a very crowded crossing in which we
had to slow down to M0.75 (737 speeds, shame!), we are now parking
our aircraft in Luanda, Angola. The airport infrastructure isn't
stellar: as you can see there are no taxiways and every airplane has
to backtrack all the way over the runway. We landed and temporarily
parked off the runway at the midway turning point, after which a
Qantas 767 landed and made it to the far end. We then raced our way
over the runway back to the terminal with another plane on final,
we reached over 80 knots (!) and made it just in time for the
Holding position at the midway turning point, ready to backtrack.
Wed Nov 5 10:00:00 UTC 2008
After another oceanic crossing we have left Ascension Island and set course for
Luanda, Angola. The island probably has not seen this amount of heavy traffic
since the British mounted their attack on the Falklands in 1982.
Our pantry is working at full capacity (even setting off the smoke-in-the-cabin
alert!) creating a fabulous full cooked English breakfast for the flight
Our own Sky Chef Cristina keeps the operation going!
The result, ready for dispatch...
... which goes without any problem...
... and assures a succesful arrival at Luanda.
Tue Nov 4 19:09:02 UTC 2008
Some Google Maps shots out of Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Late, but within ten minutes of QF25, so okay. ATC seems to keep the big sims together this time.
Lining up and holding on the Santa Cruz runway.
Out of Santa Cruz and heading for Asunción, Paraguay.
Tue Nov 4 18:33:02 UTC 2008
Tuesday traditionally is the heaviest day of World Flight, as lack of sleep
and ruthless schedules start taking their toll. This year is no different.
However the operation itself runs like clockwork. No major simulator
malfunctions, no major operational issues. The only reason why we are behind
schedule is that the sheer amount of traffic causes delays just as in the
real world. Spending 30 minutes in a holding pattern before allowed into
Quito is not good for the schedule, but great for World Flight!
Mon Nov 3 23:36:43 UTC 2008
The uneventful but very nice flight to Monterrey leaves us free to go to sleep
at a reasonable time for a change. The crews are well taken care of by the
Sky Chefs catering we've received as a donation, the simulator is working
quite nicely, ATC and traffic is good, and technology-wise everything seems
to cooperate. Some people even claim this isn't the real World Flight
because the major emergencies such as broken throttles and blown projector
bulbs have not happened yet. But we still have five days to go...
Mon Nov 3 19:54:04 UTC 2008
My second flight this year takes us from Tucson, Arizona to Monterrey,
Mexico, a short trip of about one hour and 15 minutes. I am studying the
weather forecasts and the airports while waiting for the other crew to bring
the Queen in from San Francisco. We're a bit late (though only 10 minutes
behind QF25) so every minute I can scrape off the turnaround is good.
Mon Nov 3 13:45:53 UTC 2008
While Steve and Toby get us from Hawaii to San Francisco, we are reminded
that a powerful impressive machine such as a 747-400 (even simulated) can
be brought to a screeching halt by two empty penlite batteries. A quick
rush to the local corner shop causes 15 minutes delay while all aircraft
try to squeeze out of the airport. We're running late, but not by far as
late as last year!
Mon Nov 3 04:41:58 UTC 2008
Hello Pacific! Another beautiful tropical island with a 3km runway and
parking space for two medium-sized jet aircraft. And here we come in with
about 40. Add in the difficulties clearing the runway due to the inadequate
taxiway structure at Faleolo
and hey presto, the first major traffic jam around Samoa since last time
World Flight was here.
And this is just a handful of aircraft (not all of them use ACARS for position reporting)
Mon Nov 3 00:44:19 UTC 2008
Approaching Norfolk Island, our crossing from Sydney to Apia is well underway
and we are very happy to report all systems okay. ATC is great, we have
a lot of planes airborne, and for once BAW744 is ahead of QF25.
Sun Nov 2 21:21:00 UTC 2008
As the first major activity for World Flight 2008, Steve took a car full of
catering provided by LSG Sky Chefs to
Coventry! We have a ton of real airline stuff to keep us fed during the long
and hard days and nights to come. Hats off to the people at LSG for this
excellent start of WF 2008.
This is no simulation... the real stuff came in!
Sun Nov 2 16:21:41 UTC 2008
Six hours to go... while the house is filled with the sounds of heavy
hammering as John makes a last-minute modification to the Captain's seat,
Cristina and Carolina have hauled in a heavy load of snacks for the crews,
Steve is picking up 30 real airline meals from the local airport, and I
fix up all tiny loose ends that World Flight brings.
Sun Nov 11 12:22:49 UTC 2007
We're in! World Flight 2007 has ended at Sydney Kingsford Smith with all
participating aircraft gathered at the international terminal.
During the descent into Sydney, all large sims were picked off the normal
arrival route and deviated to Richmond, an airforce base nearby. When all
planes were together, engines running and ready to go, World Flight
Formation was cleared for the Harbour Run. Visually we thundered out at 350
knots below 1000 ft, dived under the Bridge, down to 3 ft radar altitude
(!), pulled up in a barrel roll perfectly executed by John "PC" Davis and
then headed out over sea to be sequenced in for the 34R landing.
Huge thanks to all people involved in World Flight 2007, and to all our
sponsors who brought a considerable amount of money in for the Air
See you next year at World Flight!
Fri Nov 9 23:40:48 UTC 2007
Nearly midnight locally in Coventry, but bright daylight in the sim,
approaching Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky -- yes we are back in Russia, this time
via the Bering Street over from Alaska. Breathtaking views of volcanous
mountain ranges fill the sim's windshield while Carl and John guide the
Queen down. Unfortunately our DSL line is gone again, so we cannot share
these moments with the world, except for this soda straw line via the
Approaching the end of the world, see you at the other end
On the positive side, we are back with the World Flight group. We had to
skip the leg Vancouver-Anchorage for it, but being back under the ATC
umbrella was considered more important. VATSIM has been offering great
services, only interrupted by the @£$%@£!@ DSL line going flat.
Fri Nov 9 08:03:30 UTC 2007
Pushing on through the night takes its toll. One by one, the all-nighters
drop off. Luckily we do have sufficient pilots to keep going... and going...
This is your captain snoring
Andy dozes off in between flights
And Andy even dozes off DURING flight, left seat no less
Fri Nov 9 04:45:52 UTC 2007
Blogging from the flight deck, underway from Aruba to Mexico City. Long
night flight over deep water... just my style! I could in any case replace
some flight deck equipment. One hour to go.
Thu Nov 8 23:23:01 UTC 2007
Ok, it was becoming a running joke in World Flight, but our Canadian
colleague Tim claimed he sent us (and others) smoked Pacific salmon about
three months ago. Of course it never showed up and everybody was convinced
it was a prank... and guess whom we encountered this morning on our
Incredible, but there it was!
No wonder it took so long to get here!
But the contents makes up for all past pranking! Huge thanks, Tim!
Thu Nov 8 17:17:41 UTC 2007
Just landed in Miami. More photos coming up soon... watch this channel.
Thu Nov 8 01:00:05 UTC 2007
We're in! Next stop is Gander,
Newfoundland. Atlantic Ocean, here we come.
The crew doing preflight, shot from the TV screen downstairs in John's living room.
The flight board shows our progress, not too bad really.
Thu Nov 8 00:43:05 UTC 2007
While the night settles over the Atlantic Ocean, the relief crew ploughs on to
We are late, but not too late. Not bad after a diversion to Newcastle for performance problems!
Even SimGods need to sleep once in a while
Wed Nov 7 21:50:02 UTC 2007
We're in Newcastle. ?!?!? Yes, Newcastle. Enroute from Birmingham to Glasgow
the crew noticed a worrying tendency of the plane to not want to climb. 700
fpm below FL100 is bad, period. They decided to deviate to Newcastle, and
Roddy Maddocks made the most perfect brilliant steady manual landing
ever performed on UK WorldFlight. We're now deciding whether to go to
Glasgow or directly to Kevlavik, assuming we can fix the problem.
Wed Nov 7 18:57:17 UTC 2007
We had to fly Lisbon-Prague without ATC, had ATC from Prague to Amsterdam,
no ATC from Amsterdam to Birmingham, and now ATC is back up. While we dive
into the fish and chips provided by our local sponsor Beech Tree Fish Bar,
the next crew already is aboard and prepares for Glasgow.
Wed Nov 7 16:20:00 UTC 2007
Nearly a year after the passing away of our good friend and World Flight
pilot Jörg Löhnig, World Flight 2007 routes in its entirety
overhead the new waypoint JOERG in honour of Jörg and his final resting
place. While everybody gathers on the flight decks of the various flights,
several special routines are performed.
The whole familiy gathers (Cristina takes the photo)
A low-pass below 2000 ft at 350 knots...
... followed by a steep climb of more than 11,000 ft/min at one time... God Speed, Jörg!
Wed Nov 7 14:02:21 UTC 2007
Well. The guy from British Telecom showed up and decided to replace the full
phone wiring from the overhead drop down to the junction box. While he is
busy, obviously our thin soda straw to the world is severed... we are
currently parasiting on a neighbour's modem... which actually offers
'interesting options' to keep going... back for more soon!
The BT guy literally went onto the roof to fix the line break (also known as 'a dis')
Real wires... real technology...
And then some higher tech to decode the error messages of the test equipment while the sim just carries on flying World Flight
But we just go on... the Alps on our way to Prague
Wed Nov 7 11:31:33 UTC 2007
Lisbon! After catching a nasty windshear overhead the city on approach, we
are now safely parked on midfield and can get some real coffee.
Our catering department keeps our passengers happy
Printing tickets and assigning seats to our paying passengers
Wed Nov 7 10:37:19 UTC 2007
Leaving Moscow for Odessa several flights ago, we decided to tank up 150
tonnes of fuel to keep our options open to skip a stopover or two (or six)
to catch up. Although quite common for a 744 (with a maximum takeoff weight
of nearly 400 tonnes), the extra fuel load required some attention during
takeoff, which was long and slow. After Odessa we headed for Amman and it
became clear that that would put us in the middle of the pack. We even ended
up having too much fuel aboard for our maximum landing weight! So here came
a World Flight Special: dumping fuel for real. We made shots of the panels
during the dump (unique indications coming on) and even have photos made
from the cabin showing the fuel spraying out of the nozzles...
Getting rid of
excess fuel on the way to Amman
The fuel spraying out of the wing tip nozzle
Wed Nov 7 10:08:37 UTC 2007
Underway from Tripoli to Lisbon, all systems still work! Andy "Occy" Keeney
and Mathew Davey will fly both this leg and the next one to Prague, trying
to stay as close to QF25 as possible.
Brian & Miriam Woodward and Morgan Taylor visit the sim
Tue Nov 6 23:21:16 UTC 2007
Pfffff... Amman-Riyadh proved to be a challenge. The first flight with full
ATC caused some getting-used-to as our equipment is not yet totally up to
specs yet. A few sim malfunctions and a few weather-induced 'real'
malfunctions made for some true fun. Near the end of the flight the sim
started to pick up irritating quirks and we are now rebooting the whole lot
for the flight to Jedda.
And oh, hey, DSL still wor gfhfrtrsdustsss NO CARRIER
Tue Nov 6 17:31:49 UTC 2007
BAW744 now decided to cut off a few legs. We are currently enroute directly
from Moscow via Odessa to Amman, skipping Limnos completely. This will bring
us back under the ATC umbrella for World Flight, and if our #$#%$@#@ DSL
line does not drop off again, we might actually join the rest of the crowd.
Tue Nov 6 14:47:55 UTC 2007
Exciting events in Moscow... during takeoff, the throttle driver failed
(hard) and throttled down three engines. Fun, since this provided the crew
with a unique opportunity to test their aborted takeoff skills! They ended
up at the far end of the runway, everything still in one piece, tyres not
However we are still on the ground in Moscow...
Tue Nov 6 13:21:17 UTC 2007
DSL! DSL! We have DSL! While PC powers the sim totally down to clear up some
nagging 'features' such as a partially defunct MCP/EFIS panel, Hoppie
updates the outside world of our progress. Well, progress. We are still
stuck in Moscow. Luckily the World Flight route goes from Moscow to Odessa
and then takes a long Eastbound turn, followed a few legs later by a
Westbound parallel route. BAW744 may skip over to make up several lost hours
at once. We fueled 150 tonned just in case we need them...
Tue Nov 6 07:03:06 UTC 2007
Although our online performance is shakey, we are not exactly doing nothing
over here. Steve has produced a great video of UK World Flight, and it won't
be the last one! Get it here
Tue Nov 6 05:50:09 UTC 2007
Back online in Novosibirsk, playing catch-up with the rest again.
Tue Nov 6 04:45:14 UTC 2007
It all went very well. We caught up nicely, and even got SquawkBox up and
running on my notebook so we finally appeared online with ATC. Just as we
set out in Yakutsk, with all the chattering around us that goes with
WorldFlight, the inevitable happened: the well-known total failure of John's
DSL line to the world. After a few phone calls, the phone (wire) company
acknowledged a problem with a line essentially feeding the whole street...
disappointed but not yet defeated we went to eat a great curry from one of
John's neighbours and then slowly to bed. During the night the line came
back on, and here we are again...
Mon Nov 5 13:50:29 UTC 2007
When making landfall in South-West China, it becomes apparent that no normal
routine can get us back under the moving ATC umbrella of the rest of World
Flight. We are now considering to tanker up in Nanjing, and letting the
Queen do what she does best: long-haul non-stop. We'll pass overhead various
planned cities instead of stopping over, making at least 60-70 minutes per
BAW744 trying to catch up with the moving ATC umbrella
Mon Nov 5 11:52:02 UTC 2007
Somewhere overhead Indonesia we managed to revive an old, deceased program
called SB747. Unlike more modern incarnations of the concept, SB747 does not
crash out at all. It just works... and reveals how much of the tail we
Mon Nov 5 04:56:39 UTC 2007
After a rather uneventful flight, we finally landed in Darwin around 04:30
which means we are royally late. While the new crew settles in, John tries
to get SquawkBox running again, which fails miserably. Hopefully we won't be
grounded for too long... we are already one hour late again...
Mon Nov 5 00:20:13 UTC 2007
OUT 1155Z, OFF 0004Z. That means a full hour delay. But we still will be in
Darwin before our scheduled departure time for the next leg, so this isn't
going to be a disaster. In the mean time we try to make the best of it and
drink our misery away.
Sun Nov 4 23:41:54 UTC 2007
The standard problems for WorldFlight apply: your ISP drops your line, your
router breaks down, and then your visual system refuses to go to full screen
without also crashing to BIOS. Nice. With 45 minutes delay and no radio
contact (i.e., invisible online) we try to get into the air for the first
leg in order not to fall too much behind. At least ACARS works properly, so
we can be followed via the trackers.
Sun Nov 4 09:17:24 UTC 2007
We have safely arrived in Britain and are enjoying a leisurely sunny
morning, getting ready for the major event of the day: Sunday Morning
Shopping at Sainsbury's! While our chef is out, Hoppie hacks up some new
items such as the sponsor logos in the AirShow.
Sat Nov 3 15:03:29 UTC 2007
Trying to pass the time aboard a nearly deserted ferry boat on the North
Sea, we have a really good warmup for World Flight. Luckily for the crews,
most flights last only a few hours because we avoid the long oceanic
crossings as much as possible. In previous years, this was not always the
case. Some people spent half a day locked up on a flight deck doing a night
Last year it went faster, this year it takes seven hours.
Sat Nov 3 10:32:05 UTC 2007
We're off to Hoek van Holland... see you at the other end.
Fri Nov 2 17:03:44 UTC 2007
While we all are preparing for World Flight, you can already feel the
organization pressure cooker getting warm... People don't notice how much
effort goes into this event until they are in the middle of it.
The sim is ready to go... just need the passengers and the crew...
All WorldFlight Teams
All teams have their own web site, united under the Worldflight Group
banner. Click the logo above for the group site. Click the flight deck below
for our own Boeing 747-400 simulator.