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Leg 10: Granada to Gibraltar

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(Originally posted 12/07/13)


Leg 10

Depart: Granada (LEGR)

Arrive: Gibraltar (LXGB)

Aircraft: Beechcraft Baron B58 (Carenado) *


Flight Plan: LEGR MLG LXGB

Distance: 98.2 nm


Scenery: LXGB RAF Gibraltar


The last flight of the Prologue to the Big Tour takes us from Granada to Gibraltar, a small British territory near the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula. I've been looking forward to this flight since I began the Tour: Gibraltar is often considered one of the most scenic and daunting airports in the world, but I haven't before made the attempt in X-Plane.


We'll be departing Granada from runway 27 and climbing over the layer of low-lying cloud that's still blanketing the area. After overflying MLG, we'll adjust our course for Gibraltar where visibility might be limited this morning.




As planned, we take off from Granada heading west, just after dawn.




It's a short flight to the south-west to the coastal city of Málaga, Spain. Here we catch our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea.




Nice morning for flying:




About 30 miles from our destination, we begin the descent. As expected, the visibility begins to taper off and landmarks become scarce while we pass over this corner of the Mediterranean. Before long, however, the Rock looms out of the mist.




The wind is blowing stiffly out of the east so we'll need to circle around the southern tip of Gibraltar and approach runway 09 from the harbor. The downwind leg offers us a good view of the Pillars of Herakles, the ancient boundary into the Atlantic Ocean.




Something in the waters below catches my eye as I begin the turn north. A submarine! Looks like he's steaming west toward the Atlantic. I can't help but recall a

; it's a good thing everyone is currently on friendly terms!




It's a sharp right turn onto final followed by a steep 5 degree glideslope down to the runway. There's a lot of activity going on in the harbor--the scenery author has done a good job of making Gibraltar look like the busy crossroads that it is.




Despite the 20 kt wind and turbulence around the Rock, we land without a hitch. Given LXGB's reputation as a "scary airport," I feel like I must have gotten lucky somehow. But, as we taxi toward the terminal, I realize that maybe the airport is more frightening for motorists than it is for pilots: after all, Winston Churchill Avenue intersects the runway! Just imagine an A320 barreling past you at a traffic signal--pretty spooky!




I power down the engines under the Rock of Gibraltar, bringing Leg 10 and the Prologue portion of The Big Tour to a close. Next stop: Africa!





Next leg: Gibraltar (LXGB) to Tangier (GMTT)

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