Larnaca To Muscat 1454nm
19th August 1998. We departed from our Hotel at 0500 to ensure on time arrivals over various FIR boundaries. We were given quite a run around by various officials for landing charges, customs clearance & obtaining Met & Notam information. We suspect we would have taken even longer if we weren't wearing Captain uniforms!
We were airborne at 0740 after carefully cross checking the way points off both GPS's. Well before reaching top of climb we could see the mountains at Lebanon. Beirut airspace was entered inside of 10 minutes of our requested time we had requested 3 months earlier at FL230. We flew through Syrian, Jordanian & Saudi airspace with many track changes. We paralleled the Iraqi border and were questioned several times by US AWACs about type and destination. We had a great view of Dubai before changing track for Muscat. After 6 hours airborne we landed in 38 degree dry heat with a ground speed of 237.72 knots average.
We quickly cleared customs & although we had the next day free, we decided to go to the Met office to see where the monsoonal trough was located for our next long sector. From Mumbai onwards it appeared to be on our track so to mitigate some of the afternoon thunderstorms, we decided on a pre dawn departure in two days. The next day we refueled in 50 degree heat out of drums. 700 litres took close to an hour. We topped up the oxygen bottle and retreated to the air conditioning at the Hotel.