Take-off: Jaipur International Airport (India) – ICAO: VIJP
METAR VIJP 161830Z VRB03KT 2500 HZ NSC 11/00 Q1015 NOSIG (decode)
Landing: Indira Gandhi International Airport (India) – ICAO: VIDP
METAR VIDP 161830Z 10004KT 1800 R/28/29/P2000 HZ 11/04 Q1015 NOSIG (decode)
Be a tourist
After our last landing, in pitch black darkness, I was curious to see how Jaipur International Airport would look like in the morning. The haze, smoke, smog or whatever you like to call it, was still there and it was obvious that the darkness itself wasn’t the only complicating factor during our last approach.
Anyway, time to get going, so after filing our flight plan, we got cleared for take-off at runway 9. There wasn’t a lot of traffic early in the morning, so after our quick run-up, we took off and climbed out to 6000ft and set course in eastern direction to the city of Agra, the home of Taj Mahal.
After 40 minutes of flight, we came close to the city of Agra and requested ATC a lower altitude to get a good view on the Taj Mahal. ATC wouldn’t let us go below 4000ft, but with the current weather conditions along the route that wouldn’t be a problem. After crossing Agra Airport (VIAG), we came into viewing distance of Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal (from Persian and Arabic, “crown of palaces”) is a white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by a Mughal emperor to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three (yes, three wives… 😀 ). The construction project employed around 20,000 artisans and now attracts some 3 million visitors a year.
Landing with bad visibility
Once we passed Taj Mahal, we changed our course to northwestern direction and headed for New Delhi.
With the flight preparation, we noticed that the runway visual range was limited (R/28/29/P2000) with the smog conditions in New Delhi. Touchdown zone visual range was more than 2000 meters, so with an ILS approach that shouldn’t be a major problem.
With this METAR report, just before the flight, I also noticed that FSX data for this airport was outdated. In FSX, this airport only has two runways 10/28 and 09/27, while in reality this airport has three runways. I did find a few freeware scenery files for this airport, but I was just about ready to take off and it’s always a struggle between add-ons to get these working (not to forget about airport elevation with mesh and vector add-ons) and there were 5 different versions, so to avoid any unwanted obstacles (like the Kuwait freeware scenery), I decided it would be best to use the default scenery. We’ll probably update the scenery before departing to our next destination.
About 60nm out, we received our first instructions from ATC for the ILS approach at runway 10 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. When we came closer to the airport, we were instructed to descend to 2600ft and got vectors to get aligned to intercept the localizer and glide slope signal. There was lots of traffic, so I decided to fire up FSX Smooth AI, to avoid any unwanted traffic incidents (like we had during our approach in Dubai). The landing went okay, not perfect. We disabled the approach autopilot a little earlier than usual, because the alignment with the runway was a bit off-center, despite having the course set correctly. The touchdown was a bit harder than expected, so I still have to work on that flare, but with the bad visibility I’m satisfied that we put our plane safely to the ground.
Well, you can see it for yourself (watch full screen HD for best experience, visibility gets better around 5:30):
We’re coming very close to Nepal and the Himalaya mountains. I have already taken a quick peek and the options for our next destination are a bit limited, especially with available fueling possibilities in FSX. We’ll have to check real-world information if there are fuel stations at surrounding airports, so we don’t break our rules by fueling at an airport where there normally isn’t fueling available.