Over the Black Sea to Turkey    
Saturday, 16 June 2007

We left Warsaw this morning for Ankara, Turkey at 8:40 am.  We were cleared to flight level 100.

Our route was over Ukraine and Black Sea .

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Weather was clear during our flight. Once we passed the Black see and approached the land over Turkey , we run into high clouds and finally we had to land through thunderstorm. The air traffic controller made no attempt to vector us around the thunderstorm. It appeared as he did not have access to weather radar. We arrived at Esenboga Airport at 2:30.

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We had a serious setback in Turkey. Arshid told me that he got news from a reliable source in Iran that the government is planning to stop our flight over Iran at any cost. Force landing our aircraft or shooting us down where two of the options potentially being considered once we are over their airspace.


Arshid was very concerned about taking the risk and I decided to take the next two flights without my co-pilot. Overflying Iran was most important to our mission of inspiring Iran’s young generation, who have been following our flight.



Baku, Azerbaijan
Sunday, 17 June 2007

This next flight was over the high mountains of Eastern Turkey and Azerbaijan . I wanted to get an early start and depart by 7 am before the start of the midday heat that causes towering clouds to build up over the mountain. The ground handler tried to squeeze as much money as he could out of us, and kept us there to negotiation a hefty $612 for landing and handling fee. 



Freedom flight finally departed at 8:45. There was a very good tail wind, so it made up for lost time. With about 220 KT of ground speed at only 65% hp setting, the 845 nautical miles took about four and half hours.


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On the Eastern side of turkey, I had to climb to flight level 190, and maneuver around many high clouds.

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The city of Baku sits at the western shore or beautiful Caspian Sea that is very close to my heart with many childhood memories.


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I made friends with Farid and Rafet. We had an opportunity to exchange culture over dinner.  



Baku is a city rich with culture. Dancing to the tune of Lezginca on any street corner is common with the people of Azerbaijan . 

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