I flew within 1 nm of the Isreal border and their hyper-vigilant air defense system.
The empty wastes of the Saudi Arabian desert.
"Far below me, a yellow haze hid the desert to the east. Yet it was there that my fancies ranged, planning new journeys, while I wondered at this strange compulsion which drove me back to a life that was barely possible....I knew instinctively that it was the very hardness of life in the desert which drew me back there - it was the same pull which takes men back to the polar ice, to high mountains, and to the sea. To return to the Empty Quarter would be to answer a challenge, and to remain there for long would be to test myself to the limit....It was one of the very few places where I could satisfy an urge to go where others had not been....in those empty wastes I could find the peace that comes with solitude, and, among the Bedu, comradeship in a hostile world." - Across the Empty Quarter, Wilfred Thesiger
A haboob (sand storm) was still raging over the central and eastern Saudi Arabian desert 24 hours prior to my departure from Jordan.
I arrived early at the empty King Hussein International airport to prepare for my flight to Bahrain. N944JK, with it's crew of one, appeared to be the only departure this morning. I went straight to customs and security and skipped the Post Office, Bank, Cafeterias, VIP Lounge, Duty Free Shop, and Gift Shops, and clinic.
After passing through customs and security, I was given a tour of the GA flying club and fueled the plane. I was granted permission to take-off and climbed to 9500 ft and skirted the Israel border. N944JK then flew past Wadi Rum before heading east over the magnificent dunes and mountains of the western desert. For the last three hours of flight, conditions worsened to 1 mile visibility in a brown haze. I worried about the amount of dust (and sand) being ingested in to the engine.
Manama, Bahrain. At 118F, I was cooking in my nomex flight suit prior to departure.
Visibility varies from marginal VFR to IFR during the summer due to constant dust storms. Temperatures were so extreme I paid to park the plane inside an air conditioned hanger owned by a local sheikh. Incredibly, only two weeks ago I was shivering over the Greenland ice cap. Now, I worried that my cabin canopy would melt if the plane was left exposed outside.
Before my trip, Eddie (G.A.S.E) warned me about one of his client's experience flying through the middle east in peak summer temperatures. Apparently , the client's around-the-world trip was halted due to failing avionics and a melted canopy.
My iPad, running the flight planning and navigation app Foreflight, crashed several times in flight due to the unbearable heat. My iPhone 7, a backup to the iPad, was not affected. The panel avionics with cooling fans worked flawlessly throughout the entire trip with the OAT -15c to +48c.
The magnificent Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The columns are covered with gold leaf and inlaid with semi-precious stones and mother of pearl.
Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE is the world's tallest building (828m or 2717 ft).
Sail shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah - The world's most luxurious hotel. I could not believe the display of wealth in the United Arab Emirates.