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Sunday, September 15, 2013: Day 22 - Nagoya-Petropavlosk, Russia
091513 Front-page coverage in Sept 14 newspaperIt was a sad day for me leaving Nagoya after all of the excitement over the past couple days (photo left: N50ET's arrival makes front-page news.) Our friends from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have been so hospitable and gracious during our stay. I cannot thank them enough for their kindness, and I now have a much clearer understanding of how our MU-2's were created and the integrity behind091513 Waiting to leave Nagoya 
their support. My friend Zipper has told me over the years about his trips to Nagoya when he was a demo pilot for MHI and what a great group of people they are. This morning, once again Yoshi was right there to help us, and the three of us rode by taxi to the airport. Once we arrived, there was Tod and Masan to see us off. We had to delay our departure to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk for approximately 45 minutes because of the strong tailwind--yes, we finally got tailwinds--and the Yuzhno airport was closed up until 0400Z. (Photo right: Waiting to leave Nagoya.) When it was finally time to leave, we made our final farewells, and we were on our way. With the fast-approaching Tropical Storm, Man-Yi, I was anxious to get airborne, and though we already had some rain, it fortunately was clear for our departure. 

At 25,000 feet we were in cloud and icing conditions for most of our flight to Yuzhno. It is very easy flying in Japan; like in the US, you are in radar control and VHF all the way. The Japanese Contollers in most cases are very easy to understand. As we enter into Russia Khabarovsk Control, the controller was again easy to understand. He gave us a STAR into Yuzhno and descent to 1600 meters--yes, meters. But I was ready and fully prepared because Ross Russo told me last night at dinner that this could be an option. We flew a full procedure ILS approach to runway 19 using the meter conversion chart on the approach plate and broke visual at about 500 feet, or perhaps I should say 152m. After landing we taxied to the terminal building and parked in Bay 4. We were met by our handler, customs, and I presume immigration. We were given the option of going to the terminal and clearing customs or staying at the aircraft and going on to Petropavlovsk to clear customs. Because we were staying the night in Petropavlovsk, I thought clearing at Petro made the most sense. Mike--speaking fluent Russian through many hand signals-- seemed to get N50ET fueled as needed.

091513 Arriving in Petropavlovsk 1628I cannot believe that we are actually in Russia--but we are because the Garmin says so. We wished everyone well and again we are ready for departure. It has been easy so far in Russia, and the Controllers are good to work with. At 25,000 feet we are in cloud the entire way to Petropavlovsk, though we did not see the Sea of Okhotsk; that was such a shame, because I have always wanted to see the Sea of Okhotsk. Today we are blessed with a 65 knot tailwind--I could really get used to this kind of speed--and believe now I will get tailwinds all the way to Aiken, which is only 5136 miles away and 15 hours and 15 minutes at this speed. Looking at the Petropavlovsk approach chart, we have a 9035 ft. mountain on one side and a 4056 ft. mountain on the other side of the airport. Petropavlovsk just advised us that the weather is clear and 17 degrees centigrade. As we approached Petro it was another STAR and another ILS approach.  We broke out at 11,000 feet and landed at Petropavlovsk safe and sound to beautiful scenery (photo above left: arriving in Petropavlosk). We were met by our handler, customs, and immigration. Everyone was very helpful, and it has been yet another great stop. Today, something happened to 3 hours of our day, so it was a late night when we arrived at the hotel and checked into our rooms. Although the restaurant was closing in 15 minutes, they prepared a meal and brought it to our rooms along with a Russian beer.