36. Yamaguchi-Ube to Fukuoka - 8 July 2004

  Kitakyushu below
  Coming in low

On this flight we leave behind the island of Honshu for the last time and return to the island of Kyushu, where we joined the home islands so many weeks ago (in the real world, though only a few days have passed in the virtual world).

A short, enjoyable hop of 46 nm at 4,500 ft -- though one I had to save and return to in the middle because a thunderstorm threatened to shut down our electricity. I plotted a direct course from Ube to the Fukuoka VOR, which is located on a peninsula that sticks out into Hakata Bay, 5 nm north of Fukuoka airport. En route, I passed over Kitakyushu and took a picture of its airport. About 15 nm from the VOR, I began my descent, clearing the mountains that ring the bay and leveling out at 2,000 ft. This turned out to be just perfect for that distance from the airport, as I found when I tuned in the ILS and found myself centered on the glidescope. At 1 nm from the VOR, I began my turn toward the airport and began my final descent. Visibility was low, but not so low that I had trouble seeing the airport. I came in low over the buildings of the city, just under the glidescope, but maintaining a steady angle of descent and reducing my airspeed with elevator trim. The landing that resulted was about as neat as you could ask for, though an engine failure would have been a problem -- need to come in a touch higher, so that I'm crossing the piano keys at 50 ft AGL; as it was, I was probably closer to 30.