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To Indonesia

It was WADB Bima.

LPFR, Poland

The FBO at OJAQ has a very nice GA terminal, friendly and helpful staff and even an own apron with easy access to the aircraft. Handling was expensive but the service provided was good.

RM on the FBO’s apron at OJAQ before departure

Kuwait via Saudi Arabia

As always we took off early at OJAQ to benefit from the cooler air and better performance. We probably were a bit naïve but we didn’t check the weather for the flight to Kuwait, OKKK until the morning we left and it took us by complete surprise that convection and icing was forecast for the last third of the flight. We had never been to this part of the world before but this was the desert, after all. Sure enough we entered IMC after about three hours and started to collect a little ice. We had lost contact to ATC even at FL170, but an airliner relayed our request for descent and it was approved immediately. We had to fly through showers for quite a while. Towards the end of the flight it was hazy, not much to see even down low.

Leaving OJAQ

Still over Jordan

A little ice over the desert

Showers near the Iraqi border

Oil fields (?) in Kuwait

Some sort of settlement in Kuwait, probably also oil related

OKKK is a large airport with two long parallel runways. Many taxiways are currently blocked due to WIP on a massive new terminal. Avgas comes in drums and can only be paid in the local currency (KWD). We had to get sufficient amounts before we left Germany. It took an hour and a half till the fuel arrived, luckily it wasn’t that hot on that day.

Refueling at OKKK

Kuwait City is an interesting place to visit even though it doesn’t boast any real attraction. It’s lively and still a bit rough around the edges. It has nothing of the somewhat artificial feel of Abu Dhabi (see below). Apparently many migrant workers from South Asia live here and that influences the atmosphere at least in some quarters. We tried to sample the local food, if only in our hotel’s restaurant and it was surprisingly good. It has to be enjoyed with water and juice though, as Kuwait is completely dry.

View from our hotel

Mubarkiya Souk

Fish market

The famous Kuwait Towers

A mosque at night

The national dish ‘Majbous’ can be had with chicken or mutton but has to be washed down with water

On the day of our departure we had the only really bad experience with handling. The FBO has a very posh GA terminal and is expensive but they don’t even know how to file a flight plan. They had confirmed the day before that filing was OK but did nothing. They couldn’t get us in contact to AIS, they didn’t even know what that might be. In the end the handler at our destination had to file the flight plan and we were delayed by two hours.

ATC on the ground was very hard to understand at OKKK and they have complicated procedures with handovers during taxi. In fact, taxiing is confusing and long due to the closed taxiways.

Abu Dhabi via Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar

We hadn’t intended to fly to Abu Dhabi City in the first place. However, we lost the parking permit we already had at Al Ain, OMAL due to the delay in Jordan and we couldn’t get a new one, allegedly because some of the Abu Dhabi Royals wanted to go hunting in the area. Our only option was Al Bateen Executive, OMAD.

The flight along the Persian Gulf was uneventful but again it was hazy. ATC was very good – easy to understand and even a few shortcuts were available on request. Our destination OMAD is located on Abu Dhabi Island and is used by private jets. Approach control again was very good. They offered us a direct approach without any delay to the opposite runway actually in use if we could accept six knots of tailwind. Otherwise they would have to vector us as number three behind two jets.

The positive impression didn’t last long once we were on the ground. Refueling again took for ever. They actually have an electric pump to get Avgas from the drum to the plane but it didn’t work. They tried and tried again but to no avail. Finally they had to pump it manually with what appeared to be a rather inefficient pump to say the least. Then they found that RM’s parking position that had been allocated before, wasn’t ideal. Although there was absolutely no language barrier, they couldn’t say what they didn’t like about it. After lengthy internal discussions they found a spot two or three hundred meters away. Unfortunately they didn’t have a tug suitable for a little Mooney. Reluctantly I offered to taxi over but they didn’t wanted that either. Finally a hilarious caravan formed, consisting of the local ramp agent wearing a traditional attire plus high vis, Mrs. terbang and me in our funny pilot shirts and more than half a dozen Indian workers pushing RM.

Leaving Kuwait

Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia


Halul Island (thanks Anthony for the name 😀)

Final at OMAD

The caravan mentioned above 🤣

Alcohol is allowed in the UAE, they gave the VOR an appropriate name 😉

Abu Dhabi tries hard to attract tourists and is full of hotels. Apparently supply exceeded demand at the time of our visit so even a five star could be had at a very reasonable rate. All buildings in the city are new and architects of a few of them seem to have a somewhat iffy taste. The only thing that remains from old Abu Dhabi is the fort and it has been restored to a degree that it feels like Disney Land. One of the main attractions is the Great Mosque. It was the largest in the world when it was built a couple of years ago and is really impressive.

The city is full of restaurants dishing out all sorts of food. Italian seems popular, but there are English pubs and German places and what not. Of course there are loads of Indian joints catering to the migrant workers, only local food doesn’t appear on any menu, so we had to feast on cheeseburgers and the like. No photos of this stuff, @Dan will thank me for that 😉

Hotel Rixos Marina

The fort (Qasr al-Hosn)

Abu Dhabi skyline

The Great Mosque

The use of the FBO and the posh GA terminal is mandatory at OMAD and the service they provided on arrival was mediocre at best. Our handling agent told us that not before long he could have put us through the main terminal at a significantly lower price, but not any more. At least on departure things went well and we were airborne on time.

terbang using the GA terminal at OMAD

Last Edited by terbang at 19 Nov 08:28
EDFM (Mannheim), Germany

No worries @Terbang, keep them coming, all of them 😇

A fantastic trip, superb pictures and text! I don’t do Backface, though I was able to watch a couple more pics u posted there before I got expelled (ok, it was only asking for my sign-in).

Thanks for sharing, keep it all coming, please 🙏🏻

I spent quite some time in some of the different arabic places when flying pro, but that was long time ago and things sure have changed, not all for the better. OTOH seeing Kuwait in the daylight is a happy surprise.

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Very cool! Mind sharing approximate costs for landing/handling? We took the Indian ocean route via Seychelles / Maldives / Sri Lanka / Banda Aceh / Singapore, so didn’t get to fly through the Middle East or India. It would be interesting to compare notes.

Wonderful to read. So many memories! Thank you VERY much for sharing.

ESOW, Sweden

Dan wrote:

Thanks for sharing, keep it all coming, please 🙏🏻

I spent quite some time in some of the different arabic places when flying pro, but that was long time ago and things sure have changed, not all for the better. OTOH seeing Kuwait in the daylight is a happy surprise.

I would subscribe to this point of view!

Socata Rally MS.893E

Another vote of thanks for this stupendous read – and the beautiful photos!

EGBW / KPRC, United Kingdom


You gotta love the casualness in the story a’la just another walk in the park…


LESB, Spain

Pakistan via Oman

On this leg we had to fly across open water for a significant distance for the first time since we reached Egypt. Before the Arabian Sea, we overflew Oman at FL 170. This had been our cruising altitude for most of the previous legs as well mostly because airways were not available lower down.

FL170 is also a level our Mooney is quite economical at, she does a bit over 150KTAS at 8.5GPH up there in the actual (warm) conditions and quite heavily loaded. It is really slow for a Mooney, but only this way our fuel planning worked out. You either buy one or two drums of 200 liters. As we have a total capacity of 405 liters only, buying two drums would mean wasting a lot of precious Avgas, as nobody will arrive empty. In the end it worked out, we got away with buying 200l at each of the ‘drum stops’ all the way to Indonesia.

Except for departure and arrival there was not much to see on the flight to Karachi, OPKC. This was in part because of the once again hazy weather but it’s of course a drawback of flying high.

Great Mosque in Abu Dhabi on departure

Over Oman


The Arabian Sea


Short final at OPKC

On the ground we were greeted by our handling agent, a customs officer, a couple of fuel guys and half a dozen armed soldiers. We were a bit bewildered, but everybody was friendly and to our surprise after half an hour the aircraft was refueled and we were land side! Handling worked the opposite way here compared to the Gulf region: there is no FBO, the agent guides you through C+I to the main terminal, you pay in US dollars cash while sitting on a filthy chair in the worn waiting hall and all that in a couple of minutes. We actually liked it better this way.

OPKC on the ground

Unfortunately the security situation in Karachi and most of Pakistan is poor. There are travel warnings in effect by most western governments and we therefore opted to stay just one nite. A pity, as we had never been to Pakistan before.

The hotel we stayed at was better protected against terrorist attacks than European airports. We had to pass a two stage barrier system to reach the premises. To our surprise there was a pool bar with local beer and a restaurant with tasty curries and naan.

The second, inner barrier

Pool bar with Pakistani beer

Apparently our little Mooney was considered a major threat by local authorities as it was still guarded by armed soldiers when we arrived at her parking stand early the next morning. Again, everybody was friendly and we didn’t have to wait long for C+I or anything else.

OPKC in the early morning

The permit business also got enhanced by a second stage for the coming legs. So far our agent (the excellent Mike of White Rose, as mentioned) had sent us relevant permit numbers a day or a couple of days before the flight and we would write them as a remark into field 18 of the ICAO flight plan. Now two codes, ADC and FIC were required in addition. The local handling agent gets them (from what ever source) not long before scheduled departure and passes them on to the crews nowadays usually via WhatsApp. I never understood what the reason for this is and how it really works. In the beginning I thought it’s an Indian thing, but in fact we received these codes till Myanmar inclusively. ATC may ask for the codes from the first contact on the ground but at least in our case they rarely did. It was only once or twice on the three flights we were provided with these codes.


Before departure from Karachi we learned that Avgas at our next destination Nagpur, VANP would arrive only with two days delay and we would have to stay four instead of the planned two nites. We were a little upset in the beginning but it turned out to be a really good thing.

The flight to VANP was really the most uneventful on the whole journey so far. No cloud, no thermal but also almost nothing to see because of the haze.

Leaving Karachi

Approaching Nagpur

On the ground at VANP

India requires business visas to enter the country as air crew and to get these an invitation letter is required. Our handling agent provided the letters beforehand and we applied for the visas online back in Germany. Complicated forms have to be filled out but we managed and in the end it worked.

We know India quite well, we had been there before both on business and on vacation. Nobody goes to Nagpur for vacation though, the city is noisy and chaotic like many in India but has no attraction at all. Therefore we were less than happy about the delay initially. However, I found on Google Maps that there is a jungle national park, Padam Pench, not far to the north. They claim that Kipling was inspired by this jungle when he wrote the Jungle Book, however, according to Wikipedia there is little evidence that this is true. Anyway, we booked a resort for two days and an Uber took us there for cheap in two and a half hours.

We had booked a ‘mud house’ which was lovely and the food at the resort was delicious. Jeep tours to the jungle are offered and when you’re lucky you can spot one of the 83 tigers that live in the park. Resort staff told us that half of the tours are that lucky, the other half come back without a sighting. At least we saw a large male from some distance. Moreover there was deer, monkeys, elephants and even a leopard but that really didn’t come close. In the afternoons we strolled around the Indian countryside what we also enjoyed a lot.

Our ‘mud house’

On the Jeep

Really resembles the Jungle Book

There he is, the tiger

We love Indian food and it was really good at the resort

At the beginning of the dry season harvest is almost complete

A little lake

Hazy as always

We drove back to Nagpur in the morning after a hearty breakfast of Poori Bhaji and Parathas, we had booked a hotel there for the last nite. In the afternoon we went to the airport for refueling. Getting airside required filling out forms to get temporary badges in exchange of our passports but we didn’t have to wait of too long and refueling worked quickly. Once it was complete, the handling agent, three of his men and both of us had to wait for an hour for a car to pick us up. Luckily wages aren’t high in India. Back at the hotel they served tiny portions of many tasty Indian dishes accompanied by a Kingfisher (Indian beer, not so tasty).

Refueling at VANP

Indian food at the hotel

Handling in India followed the same paradigm as in Pakistan and later in Bangladesh. It wasn’t that quick though, processes in India are bureaucratic and take time. Moreover, Mrs. terbang lost her Swiss knife as there was no way to get it through security control. It’s still with the handling agent and he promised to find a way to get it to the plane when we land there on our way back. We’ll see.


Chittagong or Chattogram as it is called now is the place to get Avgas in Bangladesh, so this was our next destination. There was some convective activity on the way but FL170 proved to be a good altitude once again. It’s high enough to see and avoid the nasty stuff and temperature was around zero so you don’t pick up ice immediately if you hit a little cloud. It was hazy once again, so not much to see even where there were no clouds.

Leaving Nagpur

A little convection to give us a taste of what was to come in the tropics

Approaching Chittagong, VGEG

Final at VGEG

Refueling was quick and easy in Bangladesh

We had been to Bangladesh before, on vacation. In fact we did a really memorable trip from Dhaka to the Sundarbans on a paddle steamer more than a decade ago. As Chittagong doesn’t have the reputation of being a major tourist destination, we decided to stay just one nite at a hotel close to the airport. It belonged to the ‘Chittagong Boat Club’ and was pleasant enough. There wasn’t much to do than watching ships from the terrace, though.

Watching ships

Bangladesh was the last of our South Asian stops. Again handling worked fine without much hassle and with the mentioned cash payment in the main terminal’s waiting hall. Still expensive, but cheaper than in the Middle East and at least as competent and quick.

Last Edited by terbang at 22 Nov 02:16
EDFM (Mannheim), Germany

Whoaa, thanks, and more of the same please

Spent one month of pro flying (A310 Bangladesh ops) out of Dakha too long ago. Chittagong and many other interesting places were on the menu, a time I loved and will always remember.

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland
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