Tour around Africa: Stage 24 - Matratin (HL80) to Benina - Benghazi (HLLB)
MS Flight Simulator VFR Flight Plan
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In this VFR - GPS Flight Plan we take off from the small aerodrome of Matratin (HL80) [Libya] and land in the airport of Benina - Benghazi (HLLB) , first taking to the east and flying over the gulf of Sidra towards Marsa al Brega, then to the NE towards Ajdabiya and finally to the north.

Find below a short extract and screenshots of the main points of the route. In this journey around Africa I have used the Cessna 172S (Skyhawk)

After taking off from the aerodrome of Matratin we take to the east.  It is a clean afternoon but quite windy, with wind speeds up to 25 knots.

This small aerodrome is serving the port of Sidra and it doesn't have a control tower.

Soon we leave Ras Lanuf to the right.

Ras Lanuf (Arabic: راس لانوف‎ Raʾs Lānūf, also: Ra’s al-Unūf ) is a Mediterranean town in northern Libya, on the Gulf of Sidra. The town is also home to the Ra's Lanuf Refinery, completed in 1984, with a crude oil refining capacity of 220,000 bbl/d (35,000 m3/d). The oil refinery is operated by the Ra's Lanuf Oil & Gas Processing Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned National Oil Corporation. Additionally, the city houses the Ra's Lanuf petrochemical complex – a major oil terminal – and oil pipelines: the Amal–Ra's Lanuf, the Messla–Ra's Lanuf, and the Defa-Ra's Lanuf pipeline

Ras Lanouf was part of the Greek Pentapolis colonies. The traditional western boundary of the Pentapolis lay at Arae Philaenorum. Some historians claim it is 40 km west of El Agheila, while others place Arae Philaenorum near Ra's Lanuf, and the modern Italian commemorative arch featuring the Philaeni stood here before its destruction in 1973.

On 3 April 1941 there was a British war communiqué that in the North Africa Campaign in World War II in the night of 1 April 1941 Allied bomber aircraft heavily attacked German/Italian motor transport at Ra's Lanuf and destroyed many vehicles.

Beginning in 1984, a major urban development program for Ra's Lanuf was initiated by the Brega and Ras Lanuf Higher Committee to accommodate employees of the nearby oil industries, and envisaged for 40,000 inhabitants. The general design of the town layout was to be linear, following the coast and allowing extensive views and easy physical connection with the sea from all parts of town.

The town's structure was based on a functional hierarchy, containing three centers forming public zones with community facilities extending to the Mediterranean coast; these are in turn surrounded by high-rise housing blocks. A pedestrian route links different public, commercial, and recreational facilities to residential areas. The project was carried out by Devecon Engineers and Architects

On 4 March 2011 after heavy fighting, anti-Gaddafi Libyan rebels captured Ra's Lanuf. The rebel advance was halted in the Battle of Bin Jawad and a counter-offensive by government forces opened the second phase of the Battle of Ra's Lanuf. After a heavy bombardment from air, land, and sea the government forces retook the city on 10 March. On 27 March rebels retook control of Ra's Lanuf as part of a rapid advance as 24 hours earlier they had retaken the strategic towns of Brega and Ajdabiya, but within a matter of days rebel forces retreated from the city once more in the face of a new government counter-offensive. On 23 August, rebels recaptured Ra's Lanuf from government loyalists and continued their advance towards Bin Jawad and Sirte; however, sporadic fighting continued in Ra's Lanuf into September. (*1)

Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex and port Aerial view of the town of Ras Lanuf  

We move away from land to fly over the Gulf of Sidra.

After about 60 NM of flying over the sea we get close to land and to the town of Marsa al Brega.

Near Marsa al Brega we turn to the NE.

Brega /ˈbreɪɡə/, also known as Mersa Brega or Marsa al-Brega (Arabic: مرسى البريقة‎ Marsā al Burayqah, i.e. "Brega Seaport"), is a complex of several smaller towns, industry installations and education establishments situated in Libya on the Gulf of Sidra, the most southerly point of the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the former Ajdabiya District, which in 2007 was merged into the Al Wahat District. The town is the center of Libya's second-largest hydro-carbon complex.

During the Libyan Civil War, the town quickly fell under control of the Libyan opposition. Government forces attempted to capture the town on 2 March but were repelled; their attack on 13 March was successful, though rebels later recaptured it on 26 March. In April the rebels were again driven out of the Brega area, and a several months long stalemate formed. On 11 August 2011, the rebels claimed they had retaken the eastern part of Brega  (*1)

Port of Marsa al Brega Marsa al Brega mosque as seen from the sea-side Oil installations in Marsa al Brega

Flying near New Brega

In reality, Brega consists of several urban settlements, several kilometres apart, mainly divided between Old Brega (or "Western Brega") and New Brega (or "Eastern Brega"). Adjacent to and south-west of the port, equally two kilometres north of the airport, lies "Area 1". Some 6 kilometres to the east, on the other side of the hydro-carbon complex, lies "Area 2". The original settlement of Brega, now partially abandoned, lies some kilometres to the south, to the south of the highway linking western and eastern Libya. 10 kilometres to the north-east of "Area 2" lies "New Brega", a purpose-built residential area for oil workers.

In between "Area 2" and "New Brega" (with much sand between them) lies "Al-Najm University of Technology" ("Bright Star University of Technology"), which was founded in 1981.

Brega lies surrounded by the Sabkhat Ghuzayyil a large, dry region below sea level. (*1)

Leaving the Mediterranean sea for now and getting inland towards Ajdabiya.

Overflying the town of Ajdabiya.

Ajdabiya (Arabic: أجدابيا‎, romanized: Aǧdābiyā) is a town in and capital of the Al Wahat District in northeastern Libya. It is some 150 kilometres (93 mi) south of Benghazi. From 2001 to 2007 it was part of and capital of the Ajdabiya District. The town is divided into three Basic People's Congresses: North Ajdabiya, West Ajdabiya and East Ajdabiya.

During the Libyan Civil War, the city changed hands several times between rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces, with the anti-Gaddafi forces finally securing the town in April 2011. Although, as many civilians had fled from the fighting, one March 2011 report described the city as a "ghost town."

Later, During the Second Libyan Civil War, the city was taken over by the Ajdabiya Revolutionaries Shura Council until it was taken over by the Libyan National Army on 21 February 2016.

Ajdabiya has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh). For a location very close to the Mediterranean Sea it is very prone to strong heat waves and has reached above 47 °C (117 °F) as early as in April in spite of the sea having mild surface temperatures that time of the year. This is due to hot winds from the Sahara Desert bringing extreme temperatures north. In summer Ajdabiya is similar to interior climates in Southern Europe, except drier. Winters are mild, with occasional rainfall. (*1)

By samisamisami, CC BY 3.0
Ajdabiya museum
By Hdrza - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Leaving Ajdabiya and taking to the north towards the airport of Benina, our destination.

Our old friend, the desert, accompanies us the rest of the flight

Final approach to the airport of Benina, near the city of Benghazi, at sunset.

As usual the control tower in MS FS2020 sent us to land in the most complicated runway.  In this case it send as to land in runway 15R even when the wind was blowing at 20 knots from the north!  Something that MS FS2020 should really look at!

In  the general aviation parking of the airport.

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(*1) Credits: The descriptive texts are mainly an excerpt of those provided by Wikipedia. Visit Wikipedia to read the full descriptions.

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