A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

The Tower of London

Chart: Southern UK
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: N18663, E13758
   Tower: --
   Aircraft: 206
   Tower: --
Heading: 148
Time: Daylight

The very words, "Tower of London," can inspire a towering horror in the soul. The infamous structure, just this side of the ghoulish-looking bridge named for it, is the essence of all that was medieval and monstrous.

Built originally as a fortress by William the Conqueror, it later served as a castle, but then became a prison of numerous towers, with dungeons for such famous personages as Prince Elizabeth, Sir Thomas More, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many more. Among those beheaded or otherwise murdered inside those walls were Ann Boleyn and Katharine Howard (Henry VIII's queens), Richard III's nephews (smothered on his orders and his queen's relatives, Lady Jane Grey (briefly Queen of England in 1553) and her husband Guilford Dudley, Sir Thomas More, Sir Roger Casement, and many other of En-gland's notables. Its last prisoner was Hitler's deputy, Rudolph Hess, who was interned here after his arrest in Britain until the 1946 Nuremburg Trials.

There's also a Jewel House in the tower complex, where the Crown Jewels are displayed under tight security, as are the Koh-i-noor Diamond and--the largest cut diamond in the world--the Star of Africa.

Just beyond the tower is, of course, the Tower Bridge, with its massive Gothic towers and thick suspension cables. Your thing will be to fly under the center section, between the towers.

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