A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

Avon Calling

Chart: Southern UK
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: N18788, E13082
   Tower: N18709.546, E13074.039
   Aircraft: 1900
   Tower: 625
Heading: 230
Time: Daylight

You're over the River Severn, an estuary that flows into Bristol Channel just ahead of you. And to the left of your course you'll see the Avon River, a small one as simulated, but a large one in the history of voyages.

There are two rivers named Avon in England. This one is the Lower or Bristol Avon (Bristol is the metropolitan area you can see out the left side). Where it flows into the Severn there's a town called, logically enough, Avonmouth. The other is the Upper or Shakespeare Avon, due to its proximity to Stratford-on-Avon.

Many an early voyage departed England via Bristol and that inconspicuous rivermouth down there, the most notable of them being that of John Cabot (who was not English but Italian, born Giovanni Caboto). Prior to his time, the merchants of Bristol had carried on an extensive trade with Ice-land via the port.

Hired by Henry VII, Cabot sailed the Mathew and its crew of 18 men out of Bristol on May 2, 1497, in search of a western route to India. After 52 days at sea they landed at Cape Breton Island, or possibly Nova Scotia, thinking they had reached the northeast coast of Asia. On a second voyage a year later, he is believed, though he seems not to have had the vaguest notion where he was, to have reached Greenland and sailed on to Chesapeake Bay, arriving safely back at Bristol in autumn of the same year. His voyages were the basis of English claims in North America. (Think what he could have done with a few VOR stations out there!)

Continue your flight, and after you pass Avonmouth keep a lookout out the left side for the airport at Bristol. When it's just ahead of your left wingtip, turn to a long final for your landing on Runway 15. Elevation is 627 feet.

There are numerous waterfront inns in Bristol, and I suggest we stop in at one of them, Llandoger Trow, for a grog. was once a pirate den, and in Treasure Island, Robert Louis Sty venson made it the favorite hangout of Long John Silver.

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