How to fly around the world

07May10

It used to be that flying around the world was left to those with pilot’s licences. Now, just about everyone can do it. And like most of today’s modern conveniences, Google is behind this.

You see, they incorporated a flight simulator into Google Earth, and it allows you to take off, fly and land anywhere on the planet. I’m serious. So far, I’ve found my way onto the tarmacs of most major Canadian airports, a whole whack of American airports — including the tiny Mackinac Island airstrip — and even Kandahar Air Field.

Virtually everything is in bounds, and it’s all in three dimensions. The mountains west of Calgary rise from the foothills just as starkly as in real life, and Ontario is just as flat as you’d expect. It’s a lot of fun.

I’ve decided to take on a bit of a challenge in my free time. You guessed it. I’m going to fly around the world. It’s going to take a while, but I’m going to post pictures from my travels on this blog, and I promise that it will be an educational experience. I learned from Window Seat: Reading the Landscape from the Air (available here, by the way) that there’s a whole lot you can tell about the ground from high above. That purchase turned out to be rather serendipitous. I never would have thought I’d be embarking on a round-the-world adventure from the comfort of my own desk.

Oh, and I get to do it in an F-16. Google, praise thee.

I’ll be taking off from Ottawa and heading east.

See you in the sky.

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