I had been wintering in the Aegean Sea flying my old Grumman Goose around the islands. The nature of flying is flying. I decided to fly to India for the remainder of the winter. To get there I flew east along the southern shore of Turkey to Lebanon then south to the Gulf of Aqaba and the Israeli city of Eilat.



East of Eilat is Al'Aqabah, Jordan and a 5,800 foot mountain range looming above the Gulf of Aqaba. It was my plan to fly due east at 90 degrees to the northern Persian Gulf then fly southeast to the Gulf of Oman, the north shore of the Arabian Sea to Karachi, Pakistan and, from there, to India. That is where I plan to spend the remaining two or three months of winter.
I took off from Eilat airport around noon without a flight plan, banked east and climbed to 6000 feet. I wanted to fly through the mountain passes and enjoy the scenery.
According to ATS at Eilat airport the winds were calm and the skies where clear. In the mountains it became hazy and the horizon disappeared and I was struck by heavy turbulence, the worst I have encountered during instrument flying. I could not control the old Goose with the flight surface tabs. The old machine doesn't have an autopilot. I had to take control of it with the yoke.
I ascended to 9000 feet, above the haze and about 2000 feet above the peeks of the mountains. The air was calmer but I had to constantly control the tabs.

When the haze cleared I was surrounded by a vast expanse of sand with a few scrub trees. Ahead there was another cloud bank. I decided to fly under it.
I was being pressed closer to the ground by the clouds.
At 3,680 feet above sea level, I was less than 1,000 feet above the desert. Every few miles I was forced to descent a few hundred feet.
To the north I saw a slight depression in the desert landscape. I flew into it and resumed my eastward heading. I knew by the gps map that the eastern slopes of Saudi Arabia before the lowlands of Iraq where ahead of me.
It cleared and I was able to gain a safer altitude. When I had that vantage point I saw another bank of cloud ahead. This time I decided to climb above them.
At 12,000 feet the air is thin. Unlike jets, prop planes can't fly as fast. My speed dropped to 130 knots and I was forcing the engines above the advised rpm.
At the first opportunity I reduced the engines to an idle and dove the Goose back down to the thicker air at 4,000 feet where I could make 160 knots at a reasonable and safe rpm. The desert would not be a good place to crash land.
Even though I was making good time, it was getting late in the afternoon. I had other things I wanted to do. I decided to land and camp out in the desert. The Goose, although it looks like a boat can also be landed in places where the are no airports. It has large wheels and an extremely tough suspension.

I landed the plane and thought I might sleep out in the desert under the wing rather than in my berth.




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