Take-off: Dubai International Airport (Dubai) – ICAO: OMBD
METAR OMDB 022000Z 04003KT 350V090 CAVOK 25/19 Q1018 NOSIG (decode)
Landing: Turbat International Airport (Pakistan) – ICAO: OPTU
no METAR available in the vicinity, TAF of nearby airport:
TAF OPGD 021530Z 0218/0318 31008KT 5000 HZ NSC TEMPO 0222/0302 VRB03KT 4000 FU NSC BECMG 0305/0307 21005KT 7000 NSC FM031500 00000KT 4000 FU NSC
Last minute changes
After an extended stay in Dubai, it’s time to get going. My first plan was to fly from Dubai to Oman, a shorter flight with a duration of about one hour, but I decided last minute to do a longer flight. So I planned a cross over the Gulf of Oman, barely touching the coastline border between Iran and Pakistan, to land at Turbat International Airport, near the city of Turbat in the southwest of Pakistan. This flight would take me over two and a half hours and would be our longest flight to date.
We are heading towards India, but with the range of our plane and the foreseen flight time per leg, it isn’t possible to achieve this without landing in a neighboring country first. The reason for this this specific airport is because it was the only airport in the southwest of Pakistan which had a fuel station in FSX (which you can see as a yellow dot on the airport diagram in the flight planning software Plan-G). There are other international airports in the proximity, like Gwadar International Airport (which seems to be rebuild in 2015-2016), but not a single one with a fuel station in FSX. So when you’re planning your own tour around the world, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the actual FSX (or other sim) airport data, because otherwise you’re in for a surprise with your fuel planning. However, we have set our own rules and despite the fact that we want to avoid it as much as possible, if the real-world counterpart has fueling, then we can also refuel through the FSX fuel/payload menu. But, as said, that won’t be necessary for this destination airport.
Where’s the water?
After a few strong coffees, we departed very early in the morning (virtually… pfew 😀 ), around 5 AM, when it was still dark at Dubai International Airport. Why? Because we want to vary a bit with the time settings, we also wanted to get a glimpse of the Fly Tampa Dubai Rebooted scenery during nighttime, and the plan was to see the sunrise above the Gulf of Oman.
Early in the morning, the traffic was limited, so I disabled the FSX AI Smooth add-on, also because I had some weird crashes lately. I’m not entirely sure if this add-on had something to do with the crashes, but if I don’t need it to regulate busy AI traffic, then I’ll keep it disabled to spare resources.
After clearance, we did our take-off from runway 12L, the same runway we used for the guided tour around Dubai in our previous flight. The conditions were great, no significant clouds or wind conditions, so a perfect opportunity to see the sun rising from our pilot seat, if we don’t get clouds along the way… In Pakistan there’s limited availability of METAR reports, so we consult the TAF (Terminal Area Forecast) report of a nearby airport.
Although it doesn’t really matter in a virtual world, we try to take in account the danger and prohibited areas on the flight plan (red and orange zones in Plan-G), so above the Gulf of Oman, we fly via intersection EGTAL to avoid a red danger area (probably military airspace?) and at the intersection we take a turn to the left to fly northeast to the coast of Pakistan. We enter the mainland just at the coastal borderline between Iran and Pakistan.
I expected the scenery to look a bit like the Middle Eastern countries, only with less sandy surfaces, but I was wrong. As soon as I entered the Pakistani mainland, we had – again – lots of desert-like grounds. Looking at Google Maps, there should be lot of riverbeds, but they seem dried out in the satellite images (probably according to seasons?), so I’m not gonna complain about not seeing any water or rivers where they’re supposed to be.
The destination airport has only a non-directional beacon (NDB), so when we got our landing runway assigned from air traffic control, we set the NDB frequency and the course (heading of the runway) to get some instrumental direction with the landing. We also kept an eye open for the terrain proximity on the MFD (multi-function display) of our G1000 glass cockpit, because we had quite some terrain elevation near our approach. For the remainder we had to rely on our own (relative) expertise to bring this visual and manual landing to a successful conclusion.
The C400 Corvalis TT is a really fast aircraft, and it was getting quite late, and I waited too long to use the speed brakes to get to a lower speed to extend the flaps. All those things, together with a misjudgment of my remaining distance to the airport, resulted in a fast and steep approach. Fortunately, we managed to flare well and let the speed bleed out above the long runway, so eventually the touchdown was smooth and the plane was still alive. 😀 Welcome to Pakistan!
Don’t forget to take a look at the screenshots at the bottom of each flight report, because they offer a visual representation of the story.
The terrain of southwestern Pakistan seems mostly flat, dull, boring and no fun to fly over in FSX. However, when I checked my Google Maps tracker, there was supposed to be more declivity.
So how do we solve this flat terrain? I went searching for a solution with my best friend Google and stumbled upon FreeMeshX, from the good people of Nine Two Productions. FreeMeshX is a global terrain mesh replacement for the stock terrain mesh inside Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Prepar3D and features LOD-10 (level of detail 38-m) coverage for almost the entire world. This would give us a more realistic terrain and would avoid seeing endless surfaces of unrealistic flat and dull terrain.
Why is it free? Because the source data from NASA is also free and Nine Two Productions think that the existing solutions are too expensive, so they used this free data to convert it to a compatible format. The only drawback is the size of the downloads. I did a quick count and it’s about 70 GB (yes, gigabytes) of data for all data, without the patches. Luckily, you can download the data per continent, but beware of possible bandwidth limits from your internet service provider.
For now, I started downloading the mesh data for Asia, so I hope to we can see some terrain improvements in our next flight!
Last but certainly not least, I want to thank you as a reader or follower of this flight simulation tour around the world.
After being online for a little over two weeks and having limited social media exposure, this website has reached over 5000 views (mine not included 🙂 ) and I have received lots of nice and appreciating comments. This means a lot to me and keeps me motivated to keep flying and write good flight reports.
So, a massive THANK YOU to each and every one of you!!!