16. Yaizu to Tokyo (Haneda) - 31 May 2004

As in most of my recent flights on this tour, I decided to navigate by visual landmarks, with reference to navaids where necessary.

  Approaching Mt. Fuji
  Fuji-san fills field of vision
  Entering the coastal plain
  The city, with Fuji-san in distance
  Approaching Tokyo proper

Instead of making straight for Tokyo, I took off from Yaizu to the north and circled around Mt. Fuji. No doubt this would have been more impressive if there had been more clouds. Or perhaps I should have made the "climb," as is traditional, at sunrise. In any case, I have learned that the -san suffix in Fuji-san just means mountain (as does -zan), and is not the same -san that one appends to a surname in order to form an honorific title (e.g., Wiruson-Okamura-san). One thing I did notice as I approached the mountain is how quickly it fills one's field of vision.

I passed Fuji-san on the left and turned east toward Tokyo, making my descent into the wide, urban plain that stretches out along the harbor.


Visibility was good (enough), so I was surprised when ATC said that Haneda was closed to VFR traffic. Then I looked at my map again and realized that the airport in front of me was not Haneda; I was too far south. The skyscrapers that I saw were probably those of Yokohama.

I turned north at the shore and as I neared the real Haneda, found myself suddenly enshrouded in mist. Aha! I decided to wait for a few minutes, circling over the bay, and sure enough the weather cleared long enough for me to obtain a VFR clearance.

By this time, however, I was disoriented. Nevertheless I made for the airport, verified that there was a runway on my assigned heading (not obvious from my initial sighting), and entered the traffic pattern for a competent landing.