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LEG 6_ UACC – Astana to VIAG – Agra

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LEG #6 UACC – Astana to VIAG – Agra

 ~Avoiding China.

 

 

What should have been a very straightforward Baton exchange, ended up like a typical British attempt at the Mens 4 x 100 mtr relay team on a bad Olympic final.

 

I quote from JG’s pirep –

‘The cameras left Russia in the diplomatic bag and were analyzed in London’.

 

True enough, the cameras had left Russia in the diplomatic bag.  But, as JG was so late in arriving, I had been spotted by some of the locals who decided I should go on a sight-seeing tour of the rapidly expanding, eclectic city of Astana. Check it out.

Looking at some of the weirdly wonderful modern architecture, who was I to refuse such a generous offer? I have been known in the past to take any freebies that might be on offer after all.  So with no sight of JGs flight number appearing on the arrivals board, I made a hasty retreat with my newly found friends, hoping to be back in time to greet JG and The Baton.

 

Truth be told, I did get a little merry whilst on the whistle stop tour of Astana but it’s considered rude not to drink a toast by the locals……isn’t it??

 

I got back to the airport and there was no sign of JG nor might I add, The Baton!

 

I was told that whatever was in the parcel that JG had left for me had been sent on to Almaty in the diplomatic bag which was en-route to the UK.

 

So I filed my flight which was to get me to Agra in India in time to pass on The Baton, should I ever get hold of it again, to Beejay aka Ozwookie.

 

My route was to avoid any flying over Chinese air space, as they didn’t like the idea of any aircraft with a so called diplomatic bag with unknown contents coming anywhere near their country.  So it was to be a circuitous route over some of the most volatile airspace in the east of Europe. Great!  Cheers JG.

 

My route using Plan-G.

 

  • Start in Astana in Kazakhstan,
  • Fly over Kyrgyzstan airspace,
  • Into Uzbekistan,
  • Into Tajikistan,
  • Permission to fly into Afghanistan,
  • Overfly Pakistani airspace,
  • Into India.

 

 

01PLAN-G.jpg

 

And so it was. I was to make an unscheduled stop in Almaty first to retrieve the precious cargo.

 

One of my new friends in Astana was interested in why I was even here and after telling him about the challenge we faced as a collective, to get The Baton around the world and safely back to base offered the use of his private Hawker 850XP.  Well you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth do you!

He even had a special livery quickly painted on to his rather bland looking jet which, once we got to Agra would be removed simply by spraying a certain chemical over the artwork, leaving his aircraft as pristine as the day he purchased it.

 

As I wandered around to the hangar where the said jet is based I could not believe my eyes.  For a quick paint job, it looked fine and dandy.

02Surprise_Livery.jpg

 

After all initial checklists were followed I taxied out to the active runway and requested clearance for takeoff.

 

 

Lining up at Astana for a dawn take off.

 03Dawn_Takeoff.jpg

 

Leaving Astana with my new BFF as my co-pilot, heading for Almaty.

 04Takeoff.jpg

 

Turning for Almaty and hopefully The Baton!

 05Turning_For_Almaty.jpg

 

Once established on bearing 145º I climb to FL160 and settle back for a relatively short hop, all things considered.

 

The early morning sun really lights up my trusty steed, showing off the paint job nicely.

06Dawn_Sunhine.jpg

 

After a short flight of around 80 minutes  I’m on final approach in to Almaty where I hope the diplomatic bag or at least The Baton is waiting for me.

 

Turning on to Final Approach.

07Final_Approach_Almaty.jpg

 

I park up as directed by ground control and make my way to the VIP lounge. My co-pilot, new BFF appears to know quite a few influential people in these regions.

 

Parked at Almaty.

08Parked_At_Almaty.jpg

 

Once inside the lounge, I am greeted by a pleasant enough chap who says that a suitcase was left for me, which was removed from a diplomatic bag and says that he was to apologize for any inconvenience that may have befallen me.

 

I found myself a quiet sofa where I could examine the suitcase and it’s contents when to my surprise I found this little lot.

09AlmatyVIPLounge.jpg

 

 Well what was I to do?

There was a note inside the book, which was also in the case and it read ‘Do not let HQ know but I’ve lost the Hangar Credit Card so I’ve left you with this. Keep this to yourself as it might pay towards anything that may crop up’ signed JG

 

So with suitcase onboard, myself and new BFF co-pilot set our course for UT64-Namangan in Uzbekistan, which will be our turning point for UTDK-Kulyab.

 10Suitcase_Onboard.jpg

 

Well, I’m hoping that the store credit card will make it to Agra before I get there because me and my new buddy are keeping this dosh to ourselves. Muwahahaha!  (Only kidding so keep your knickers on).

 

Hasty departure from Almaty.

11Hasty_Departure_from_Almaty.jpg 

 

Once we are out of Almaty we have to climb to over 16000ft to clear the mountain ranges between Almaty and the Namangan waypoint in Uzbekistan.  We have already been granted permission to fly through the Uzbek’ airspace, since we won’t be touching down.

 

The cloud and weather start to close in as we arrive over the mountains.  Hopefully we will have sufficient altitude for the weather not to cause us any issues.

 

In comes the weather.

12Weather_Closing_In.jpg

 

Passing the Toktogul Resevoir in Kyrgyzstan.

It is the largest water reservoir in central Asia with a surface of 284 sq km and an average depth of 215 meters. It was created in 1976 with the construction of a dam.

13Toktogul_Resevoir.jpg 

 

 

Safely over the first mountain range, we can afford to descend a wee bit as we approach the flat Fergana Valley.  This area was once an important staging post on the Silk-Road for goods and people travelling from China to the Middle East and Europe.  After crossing the passes from Kashgar in Xinjiang, traders would have found welcome relief in the fertile abundance of Fergana, as well as the possibility of purchasing further high-quality silk manufactured in Margilan.

 

Passing over Namangan and the Fergana Valley.

14UT64-Namangan_WP.jpg

 

With around 450nm from Namangan to Kabul, I thought I could take a rest and let my co-pilot take over after all, it is his aircraft.

So I catch a little shut eye and dream of what I’m going to spend all the lurvly lolly in the suitcase on.  It was a very loud crackle on the radios that woke me as we neared the border of Afghanistan.  It transpired that my new friend had forgot to ask permission to enter Afghan’ airspace and we were being threatened by a very irate Major General Mohammad Dawran serves as Chief of Staff of the Afghan Air Force.  It was indeed some extremely sweet talking that my co-pilot managed to persuade them to allow us to land at Kabul, unescorted, where we would undoubtedly be able to arrive at some sort of compromise.  My thoughts were again thinking of the amount of dollars we had in the suitcase and just how much persuasion was needed to leave us enough to share out once we got to Agra.

 

So we were left to follow our original planned route with the exception of actually landing at Kabul.

 

Kabul in sight.

 15Kabul_In_Sight.jpg

 

Almost there and my little heart is pounding.  Once I have my hands on so much dosh, I hate letting it slip through my fingers.  (Whose round is it)?

 16Arriving_At_Kabul.jpg

 

We parked where we were instructed by a now calm Major General and off we both went with suitcase in hand minus The Baton and a substantial amount of the cash.  Time to do some palm greasing methinks.

 

Although quite a stern looking guy, Major General Dawran was quite the pussycat.  Well, once he saw the wad of dosh we had to grease his mucky palm with.

Although he was happy with our account of what we were doing and for us to include his photograph, he wanted us to pixelate his face for some reason. 

17Mohammad_Dawran.jpg

 

He actually seemed quite impressed with the whole idea of what we were doing for and on behalf of Mutley’s Hangar.  So much so that he insisted on showing us around the base at Kabul.  For strict security he asked us not to take any photographs of the base as we were heading in to India and Pakistan and he physically shuddered at the thought that these countries could, inadvertently get hold of images of the base, which could be used in future attacks.  This we agreed to because we wanted to see the base for ourselves. Apologies guys but no pics of the base.

 

Heading over the border and in to Pakistan, we encountered our first spots of rain on the entire journey so far. 

18RaininPakistan.jpg

 

With the Himalaya to the north of us we make our way to Srinigar airport, our next waypoint.

Over the hills and towards Srinigar airport, then a bearing of 155º and hopefully get to see the Taj Mahal en-route to Agra Air Base.  Major General Dawran has ok’d our landing there so we are all clear to go.

 

Himalaya to the north.

19Srinigar_Bound.jpg

 

Smog is building as we approach the large city of Agra.

20Smog.jpg

 

Having made it this far, we thought a wee jolly around the Taj Mahal was in order.  Gear down in readiness for the four mile jump to the air base and we do a circuit of the beautiful palace, or rather a mausoleum.  Based on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, it was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. See more here

 

21Taj_Mahal.jpg

 

 

And around we go for a final looksee.

 22Taj_Mahal_2.jpg

 

We now set a heading of 255º and head towards Agra Air Base, where I hope we get a comfortable greeting.

 

After four-ish miles we were on final approach for the airbase and all looked fine.  At least there didn’t appear to be an angry mob waiting for our arrival.

 

 

Gear down, Flaps extended.

23Gear_Flaps.jpg

 

 

Touch down and the landing was a smooth affair.

 24TouchdownatAgra.jpg

 

 

 

Ground Control directed us to a suitable parking bay and told us where we might find the lounge.

 

 

Once we had parked up and gone through all the usual checklists, we left the aircraft in a cold and dark state. The lucky suitcase at the foot of the exit stairs.

25Arrived.jpg

 

 

All that was left to do was to go and find out if the credit card had arrived.  Hoping that was the case (no pun intended), we both went to seek out the lounge and hopefully Beyjay aka Ozwookie.

 

Having found Ozwookie, he let me in to a little secret.  JG had told HQ about the loss of the Hangar Credit Card, so it was agreed that JG draw several thousand dollars out of the account and pass it on to me.  The sting in the tail, I hadn’t just landed a rather large haul of spare cash. It was to be handed over to the following pilot to use for Hangar business only.

 

I had to let HQ know of the small hiccup regarding Afghan air space but that I had only used a couple of hundred dollars, to secure the unrestricted flight over their air space.  Oh and I gave my co-pilot a few dollars for his kindness in allowing me to fly his Hawker with the livery he was so kind to commission.

 

He must have the gift of persuasion because he even managed an escort to see him safely back in to Kazakh’ air space.

26Escort.jpg

 

So with the suitcase and The Baton handed over to Beejay, I just had to find a way of getting back to dear old Blighty.  It’s over to you Beejay, Safe Skies!

 

 

Special thanks go to Mutley’s Hangar member – Ozwookie for his VIAG scenery, which gave an extra dimension to Agra Air Base. Many thanks.

 

27VIAG_By_Ozwookie.jpg

 

Software Used:

  •  Sim - LM P3Dv4
  •  Aircraft – Carenado H850XP with ATWC Livery
  •  Scenery – Orbx FTX Global
  •  VIAG – Courtesy of Beejay aka Ozwookie
  •  Mesh – FSGlobal Ultimate Next Generation.   
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classic.png

 

Superb PIREP Brian, you certainly had an interesting trip and some dealing with some rather unsavoury people :D

 

Now remind me, where is the Giza card?

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5 hours ago, mutley said:

classic.png

 

Superb PIREP Brian, you certainly had an interesting trip and some dealing with some rather unsavoury people :D

 

Now remind me, where is the Giza card?

JG lost it Boss, honest Guv' it wasna me.  I suspect this could hold things up a while until you can send a replacement to Ozwookie but then, he has got a case full of dollars to be going on with. Minus the few I used in the bar at Agra. :whis:

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Bravo :clapping: Nicely crafted Brian, a real treat.:)

 

Have a nice flight back, you deserve a good rest.:yesa:

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Excellent yarn, Bri.  Good job and a big attaboy on the suitcase graphics.  That was very nicely done.

 

John

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Great PIREP there Brian :thum:

Nice paint job on the Hawker too. 

I do hope that Joe can sort out a replacement Giza Card before I get to Macao... although I earned a ton of reward points, my personal card got a real hammering last time. I was not a happy bunny :unsure:

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Thanks for your comments guys, glad you enjoyed it. 

@allardjd, doing the photoshopping is always fun for me. I also added my face and the cup of coffee was white but people that know me, know I only ever drink my coffee black. So I swapped out the coffee.

I also like to get the baton in at least one of my screenshots. Great fun.

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4 hours ago, needles said:

I also added my face

 

Are you sure your headset wasn't on to tight, they seem to have shrunk your head! From what I remember you got a right fat 'ead :D

 

@hlminx Don't panic, I've stopped the old card and had a new one printed :thum:

 

MH-FUEL-CARD.png

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Great PIRP and sorry about the card guys. It had slipped down behind the Ejector sear in the PR1. Apparently a member of the ground crew found it there with an old sixpence, some fluff and a sticky hairy old spangle.  It has been cut up so don't worry about it.

 

Brian, MI5 3/4 want receipts for your use of the briefcase of cash. I expect you have them so could you post them to:

 

The Gentsbogs

Out-the-back 

85 Albert Embankment,

Vauxhall,

Lambeth.

London

SE1 7TP

 

Thanks.

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Be careful addressing the envelope, Brian, cos BehindTheBogs at 85 Albert Embankment is owned by Ernst Blufeld, front man for S.M.U.R.F. and I've heard he does quite well on misdirected mail . . . 

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