Unfortunately, our departure from Lahore is delayed. The ordered tanker does not work. We have to delay our flight plan back for more than an hour. That increases a little bit the pressure. Today we have a flying day and want to fly up to Baku. Since the jet stream is currently on our flight route, we have to expect strong headwinds. Therefore, we can not make it all the way to Baku and have planned a refueling stop in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
After getting the take-off permits, we head for Afghanistan. Afghanistan requires a minimum Flight Level of 260. Our Silver Eagle comes close to its limit. In addition, we have very high temperatures and a density altitude of almost 31,000 feet. We are slowly "crawling" up. Despite some skepticism about whether we will make it at these temperatures, our plane does not disappoint. We made it!
Shortly before the Afghan border, we wonder what kind of ATC we will get over Afghanistan. Our assumption is correct. When handing over the Pakistani ATC to the Afghan ATC, we are greeted by an American controller with a deep Mid-West slang. Okay... The airspaces over Kabul are administered by the Americans :-)
Afghanistan is a very mountainous country. No wonder no one has ever managed to defeat the warriors there. So many mountains and valleys ...
When we were handed over to the Turkmen ATC by our American ATC, the landscape changes. It is flat and barren. An unreal lunar landscape.
The landing in Ashgabat is easy. A gigantic airfield that is almost empty. We stand lonely on a apron larger than that of Francfort. The fuel truck comes and we can quickly refuel. Shortly to the toilet and after a few stamps, we can continue our flight. Interesting: Almost everyone on the apron asked us if we had cigarettes. Seems to be a need over there.
Interesting architecture of the airport!
Unfortunately, it's already getting late. We will have to fly over the Caspian Sea at night. Shortly before sunset we leave Ashgabat. From above, the airfield looks like a sword, right?
We cross the Caspian Sea at night. Fire is burning everywhere. The oil platforms, which ensures the wealth of these countries, know no break. Impressive how many places are burning.
We land late at night in Baku. A professional crew welcomes us. After 15 minutes we are through the customs and sit in the shuttle to the hotel. Hungry, we order a kebab plate that tastes gigantic. After more than 8 hours in the air, we lie down and sleep right away.