I decided to do a trip totally within Chinese airspace, especially given the aggressive programme of airport building that is currently going on in China. Air traffic there is controlled by the military — also, all altitude clearances from ATC are given in meters, but the Chinese have devised their own special Metres to Feet conversion table which seems to assumes that 300 metres is equivalent to 1000 ft <gulp> and which must be used by all aircraft for conversion. (IRL, another consequence of the fact that the country’s airspace is largely controlled by the military is that they leave little room for civilian aircraft even as the domestic airline industry is booming, so that the airways are chronically congested and delays are frequent. Happily, that doesn't affect simmers).
The trip started at Lhasa, Tibet (ZULS) and ended at Sanya "Phoenix International" (ZJSY) — here's the map: as you can see a ground distance of 1211 nm became an air distance of 1603 nm....
The take-off was not entirely without interest. At an elevation of 11,713 ft Lhasa Gonggar airport (ZULS) is among the highest airports in the world (see the list at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest_airports ). Only aircraft that have been specially adapted to be able to land and take off at such high altitudes (and whose pilots have been specially trained) can use it — fortunately the Brian's Charter 744 has received such modification. Even so, I used nearly every inch of the available 13,123 feet of runway for my take-off, and then climbed gently and with extreme care, since the thin air at that altitude doesn't provide as much lift (and, of course, the engines don't provide as much thrust) as at a normal airport, either. Just for interest, I had previously tried the Microsoft trike at ZULS, and sure enough it was unable to get off the ground.
With the surrounding terrain being somewhat inhospitable (!!), it pays not to stall when climbing away from Lhasa Gonggar!
Fast forward to the end of the cruise, which included a couple of step climbs, and here you find me approaching the ToD.
And here are some parts of the instrument panel at the start of the descent.
After the cold snowy peaks of Tibet, the shores of the South China Sea provided a more welcoming appearance. Sanya airport is at the southern tip of Hainan, the southernmost province of China.
Unlike ZULS, Sanya Phoenix airport presents a routine challenge when it comes to landing a 747-400, since its 11,155 ft runway is located at an elevation of just 95 ft. In 2016 the airport handled over 17 million passengers. Here are a few shots of the approach and landing —
And soon after that I was shutting the aircraft down at gate 6.
OK, now for the trip back — the approach into Lhasa Gonggar is "interesting", to say the least. ;-)