Tom Horne

Around the World–Job Done!

July 25, 2008 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

Well, Air Journey LLC’s escorted around-the-world trip is now fully logged by all 8 of its pilot-participants. As you may recall from my earlier blogs, this saga began back in May at Quebec City, then crossed the Atlantic to Inverness, Scotland and Paris. On July 22, the trip officially finished the home stretch as the airplanes cleared customs in Alaska and then re-entered the good old continental United States. The trip itinerary included stops in Malta, Egypt, Dubai, Oman, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, and Russia. Air Journey president Thierry Pouille declared the trip a success, but admitted that the pilots and passengers were a bit bushed after the two-month-long circumnavigation. Journey director J-P Arnaud took 10 days off to decompress from all those briefings, permits, and reservations he had to manage.

The airplanes on the trip included a PC-12, a TBM 700, a Cessna Mustang, a Royal Beech Duke (a turboprop conversion), and a Cessna Conquest II.

There were only two reroutings due to unanticipated events, Pouille said. The biggest road block came when the group tried to enter the People’s Republic of China. PRC officials denied the group entry, a setback I discussed in a previous blog, so the group forged ahead to Taiwan and South Korea.

As for mechanical problems, there were a few. The Duke needed new vacuum pumps and the PC-12’s AHRS units momentarily lost its bearings in a zone of magnetic anomalies called the “South East Asian Anomaly,” for example. Then its flaps malfunctioned. The biggest mechanical was with the Conquest II. Its landing gear wouldn’t extend, so repairs were made–twice–in Bangkok. Bad idea. The crew had to extend the gear using the nitrogen blow-down bottle three times, and even flew one leg with gear down until additional repairs were made in Hong Kong.

But all’s well that ends well. Want to go on Air journey’s 2009 RTW trip? It’s $68,750 per person, and leaves May 13, 2009 from Bar Harbor, Maine. The stops will be the same as this year’s trip, with the exception that the PRC is crossed off the list. Bali will take its place. For more information, go to the Web site and see blogs of the 2008 trip. With any luck, I’ll be along on a few of the 2009 trip’s legs. Air Journey will also be at EAA AirVenture–in Hangar D, at booth 4095–so you can sign up there and meet the Air Journey staff.


3 Responses to “Around the World–Job Done!”

  1. chris doyle Says:

    Hong Kong is PRC ().

    Did you have a Mandarin speaker with you?

    If you need help getting through the bureaucracy, my daughter may be able to help.

    The Chinese are very wary about foreigners who can’t speak the language with a high degree of competency. They also look for a fair understanding of the cultural differences. This is for your own safety.

  2. T. Schumer Says:

    Actually there were twelve pilots who participated in the RTW flight, we also went to Morocco and Santorini, Greece. There were two TBM 700’s, the second was flown on only a few legs of the trip and joined us in Asia. We didn’t make it into China, but we did spend a wonderful week in Hong Kong. We had a few instances- some pretty scary ones, when we lost the AHARS, but the good thing was we had excellent steam-gage back-up so we were still able to fly the ILS.

  3. Chris Says:

    Actually, just to be technically clear, from an aviation perspective, Hong Kong is NOT China. Hong Kong is symbolically part of China, but according to Hong Kong’s constitution Hong Kong maintains fully independent executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government under the One Country Two Systems. The governing law in Hong Kong is English common law, NOT China law. The currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar, not the Chinese RMB. Cars in Hong Kong drive on the left (China on the right). Hong Kong and China have completely separate passport control (flying from Hong Kong to China is an international flight). Hong Kong people have Hong Kong passports, NOT China passports. Similarly, Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department is completely independent, and follows the UK system (in fact, the Hong Kong FIR uses imperial feet altitudes, whereas China uses metric altitudes). The two official languages in Hong Kong are English and Cantonse (not Mandarin). The aviation language (including the regulators) is only English. In fact, the CAD includes British staff, including ATC.

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