British Airways Boeing 747 Flight Deck Experience by Air Utopia
A review by Marlon Carter
AirUtopia is by no means a newcomer to the world of Aviation documentaries. Over the years they have released many interesting DVDs and this time we will be having an exclusive look at the brand new B747=8F operated by Global Supply Systems on the behalf of British Airways World Cargo.
This is the first time we have the privilege of flying onboard this aircraft and we will be flying from Stansted to Frankfurt and then onward to Chicago. Let’s have a look at some of the highlights of this amazing DVD.
We begin our exclusive journey onboard one of the newest freighter aircraft (The 747-8F) with a short narrated presentation on the history of Global Supply Systems and their transition from the 747-400 to the 747-8F. Many of the added benefits of this new aircraft were highlighted in great detail and it is a thrilling prospect that we will now have the opportunity to fly onboard this aircraft on revenue flights from Stansted to Frankfurt and then onward to Chicago.
Prior to our departure from Stansted, Steve Monaghan, the chief pilot at Global Supply Systems takes the viewers on a tour of the 747-8F cockpit with detailed presentations on the overhead panel, displays, systems, electronic checklist, EFB, flight controls and much more. Also included is a tour of the massive main deck of the aircraft, which shows the vast cargo capacity that has made the 747-8F a valuable asset to cargo operators.
In preparation for our short flight to Frankfurt, the flight crew boards the aircraft and begins their preparations for our departure. Most of the actions performed by the crew were explained through the narration of the Chief Pilot. During the flight to Frankfurt there were many opportunities to admire the amazing views from the cockpit on takeoff, climb and during the cruise. While enroute, there were many discussions that covered topics such as the newly designed wing tip winglets, along with details on the career progression of the Chief Pilot himself.
The procedures for the approach and landing were both observed and narrated for the benefit of the viewers to keep up to speed on the actions of the flight crew. After an uneventful landing at Frankfurt, we spend 2 hours on the ground as cargo is offloaded and loaded in preparation for our final flight to Chicago.
During our 2 hour stopover at Frankfurt, one many wonder why it’s necessary to be on the ground for such a long period. Truth be told, cargo operations are significantly different to passenger operations and the reasons for the lengthy stopover were nicely explained to the viewers. As an added bonus, the Chief pilot takes us on a tour of the lower deck of the aircraft showing the equipment bay area and a narrated walk around inspection of the aircraft. After a few final comments on the aircraft, we head back to the cockpit where we join a new crew as they prepare the aircraft for our flight to Chicago. The First office on this flight is Terry Bennion. After our departure from Frankfurt, Terry will be keeping us entertained on our long journey by telling us a little about his aviation history. In addition to this, he also shares his thoughts on the 747-8F and the many conveniences offered in comparison to older aircraft.
One aspect of this flight that I found very interesting was the fact that there are no flight attendants onboard. This means that the flight crew are required prepare their own coffee and meals. For a cargo airline, one may not expect to see high quality meals onboard, but to our surprises, the galley of the aircraft is well stocked with a large quantity of food and snacks that can easily rival what is served on passenger airlines. Apart from these entertaining moments, I especially appreciated the stunning views from the cockpit while cruising across the Atlantic. The approach and landing at Chicago was another visual highlight that featured the stunning skyline of Chicago at night brining this journey to an end.
While I thought that this program we very intriguing, I also thought that it could have featured another flight or two. But in the end, this is perhaps one of the only opportunities that we have thus far to have a firsthand view of the daily operations of the world’s newest cargo airliner. Such an exclusive presentation is well worth the price of $19.99 and I would strongly recommend having this program as part of your video collection.