The Emerald Isle, Ireland is well known for being the country that oversees all traffic in the air in the European half of the transatlantic corridor. Also known for beautiful shores and cliffs despite somewhat miserable weather, Ireland does seem to make up for the horrid weather. And just for good measure, their stout is the best that anyone could find, and I would willingly go to Ireland, just for the stout again.
The wealthiest country in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is also the ninth largest country by land area, and is also a major oil and gas producing country in the region. It is also well-known amount space enthusiasts for being the country at which the Baikonur Cosmodrome is located, the launch site for the Soyuz, Proton, Zenit, Tsyklon, Buran and Dnepr rockets.
First, to correct most people, the Isle of Man is not technically a part of the United Kingdom other territories would usually be considered to be. Although it is a possession of the Crown, which means that it would be possession of the Queen, it is not directly a part of the United Kingdom. Not to mention, this small island is also the host to one of my favourite motorsport event, that being the Isle of Man. Considered to be one of the most dangerous motorsport event in the world, with 260 fatalities in just over a hundred years of its history, and even though it’s notorious for the amount of risk each participant takes, it is only really a dream of mine to watch this event live, in person.
Currently used by the United States Air Force, Wake Island is a site where tests frequently take place, which may include missile testing, radar systems as well as high altitude area defense system. It is also an exclusive economic zone of the United States of America.
This atoll consists mainly of shallow lagoons and reefs, as well as some reef-rock islets. This atoll plays host to scientists and researchers who go to the island for research purposes. To visit this atoll, permission must also be obtained before being allowed to go, as a result of wanting to maintain the cleanliness of the island for research purposes.
Formerly used for Guano mining, this island was really only inhabited by those who were involved with Guano mining, a compound used a lot in the agricultural industries. Today though, this island serves no purpose to the United States or itself at all.
Stroopwafels, tulips, canals, windmills and the country that took the land from the seas that were supposed to own it, the Netherlands is one of my favourite countries, and if it weren’t for the language barrier, a country I would be willing to move to. Not to mention, Netherlands could easily put itself on the international stage again this year with Max Verstappen currently leading the F1 championship in the 2021 season, and is the favourite to take the title at this point in time.
Once an island used for refuelling for transpacific flights by the Air Force, as well as a stop for Navy ships, the Midway was more or less second to Pearl Harbour in importance to protecting the west coast of the United States. However, since being decommissioned in 1950, it was recommissioned in the late 60s to aid in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Listed as an unincorporated territory of the United States, the island is administered by the Department of Interior, and has been closed to the public. It is listed as a part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands and was declared a marine national monument in 2009.
Another island listed as a United States Minor Outlying Island, Johnston Atoll has had a much more violent recent history than other island and atolls. The site of nuclear weapon testing, it was severely contaminated in 1962 when a missile, with a live warhead, exploded, spilling radioactive materials such as plutonium all over the launch pad.
Just another minor outlying island that’s listed under the United States Minor Outlying Islands, this was used for Guano mining, though not a lot was performed. Not to mention, the atoll itself is very much unknown given that it hasn’t been explored too much.
Howland Island is another island that’s a part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands, and as such, the United States has an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles in all directions where no foreign vessels may conduct business without permission given. That said, this island is also well known for being the island on which Amelia Earhart was searching for, but never reached on her flight to Honolulu.
Baker Island is another one of those United States Minor Outlying Islands that was occupied during times of war, and has since been abandoned. That said, remnants from the military do still remain on the island, with the most prominent being a kilometre and a half long airstrip that has since been covered with vegetation and deemed unsafe to use. It is also an exclusive economic zone of the United States of America, and entry is only allowed by permits given by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A country with a painful history, though a rich one given the location of it being where the silk road ran through. That said, plenty of its rich history was ruined or destroyed in the last few decades due to unrest within the country that I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with. It’s a beautiful place, having had the opportunity to control there during my radar training, offering a enough of a challenge to controllers, but not an overly difficult airport with a solid plan in place.
This island was often occupied by Indonesian fisherman for hundreds of years prior, until a memorandum of understanding was signed in 1974 between Australia and Indonesia, recognising the Ashmore and Cartier Islands as a part of Australia, but allowing Indonesian fisherman access to the exclusive economic zone drawn by the islands, as well as shelter and facilities on the island. In more recent years, however, the island was often used by asylum seekers, who once the island, could claim that they have entered Australian migration zones, and thus, enter Australia as refugees.
Controlling at my 200th country and territory around the world, I took the opportunity to control at Norfolk Island, with strong winds presenting a strong challenge to all pilots who came. Those who came in their spitfires, of course, did experience quite bumpy weather and some interesting skills were displayed, to say the least.