A year ago today, Mike Laver and I didn’t even realize it was the Labor Day holiday back in the United States until we’d spent half a day flying on the other side of the globe. Today’s flying was 844 nautical miles from Muscat. Oman, to Mumbia, India–then another 862 to Colombo, Sri Lanka–total flying time, 6.8 hours. Sometime during the first leg, I noticed the sun dancing across the airplane’s throttle quadrant and snapped a few frames (above).
We were on the ground in Mumbai for less than an hour–another “technical stop” in which we just refueled and departed, and never technically entered the country. Think Snowden and his lengthy stay in the Moscow airport, before he was allowed to formally enter the country. That hour in Mumbai, incidentally, was long enough to disqualify me from donating blood platelets to our local Red Cross for one year.
Leaving Mumbai and overflying India–then a fairly short overwater leg to Colombo, Sri Lanka–we see a growing number of larger cumulus buildups. This doesn’t some as a surprise, because we’re approaching the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), an area that encircles the earth near the equator where the northeast and southeast trade winds come together. Vertical motion, usually driven by solar heating, leads to convective activity that frequently becomes thunderstorms. They’re a fact of life here, and fortunately, they don’t often climb to our cruise altitude of 25,000 feet until pretty late in the day.