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Leg 17 Nội Bài (VVNB) to Macau (VMMC)

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The 17th leg of the Around The World Challenge takes us from Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi to Macau International Airport at the eastern end of Taipa Island.

I arrived in Hanoi a few days early to have a chance to take in the local culture and acquire an airplane. Luckily for me, there was a Beechcraft Kingair available for today’s flight. The rental price was 56,283,259 Vietnamese Dong. I had no idea what that was in U.S. dollars and the rental agent couldn’t tell me, but as I had just paid 23,000 Dong for a meal and a bottle of Bia Ha Noi Vietnamese beer, it sounded like a fair price. Besides, I put the whole thing Joe’s card anyway. Thanks Joe!

I met up with Rosario and he gave me the baton, bought me a drink and wished me luck.

Doing the pre-flight walk around.


Now to do a bit of pre-flight planning on the iPad.


Time to get going. Engine one started.


Now I’ve got engine two going as well.


I’m ready to go but that damn fuel truck driver still hasn’t moved. Doesn’t he realize that I’m on a very tight schedule. I need to get out of here before customs confiscates the ATWC baton. I hear that it would go for a very large sum on the black market. But I’d hate to lose it after Rosario did such a fine job delivering it safely from Dien Bein Phu.


Fuel truck finally moved and takeoff clearance received. Everything is good to go. Wheels up!


Leaving Nội Bài International behind us.


Making the turn towards TEBAK waypoint


Continuing the climb to cruising altitude.


Passing Tam Dao National Park off to the left. I only wish that I had taken some time to see it.


That’s the South China Sea off to the right.


The sun is now beginning to set behind me.


Now that I’m at cruising altitude of 30,000 ft and I have some time to relax and settle in, I take out the iPad again, only this time instead of studying charts I think I’ll catch up with Kasper’s review of the Diamond DA-40XLS on the Hangar.


Quite a long way to go, but everything appears to be humming along smoothly.


The sun is nearly gone now.


Passing over the Xi River below. Time to begin the descent.


Descending towards Macau International Airport on Taipa Island.


Runway 19 coming into sight.


On final. Maybe I should have arrived in the daylight. I had forgotten that this runway is completely surrounded by water, connected to land only by the taxiways. Overshooting could land me in the drink, and the taxiways are even narrower.


Landed just off to the left.


The official hangar lights up the night like a beacon.


Pull her all the way in.


Checking that the baton is still safely stored in the side pocket. I’m going to have a word with Joe about these hangars of his. The least that he could do is stock them with some food and beverages. After all, one works up quite a thirst on these long flights. :D

Joe, if you’re looking for me I’ll be in Rua do Cunha in Vila da Taipa trying out the local fare of Almond cakes, egg rolls, coconut flakes and peanut candy. If you can’t find me there, stop by the front desk of the Golden Crown China Airport Hotel and have them ring my suite. I charged it to your corporate card of course. Nothing but the best for the pilots, right guys?


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