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LUKLA Highlights Review by Marlon Carter. A few years ago, Just Planes visited Nepal to film the operations of Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines. While they were unable to capture flights into Lukla at that time, Just Planes has never given up on their quest to film the most dangerous airport in the world. In their latest offering, Just Planes has given us the chance of a lifetime to experience the excitement of flying into and out of Lukla. In addition to filming cockpit flights, for the very first time we will also have the opportunity to enjoy more than an hour of airport clips that feature various aircraft landing and departing. The first featured roundtrip flight in this program takes us from Kathmandu to Lukla onboard the Agni Air DO-228. After the aircraft was loaded we take a cockpit flight through the mountains of Nepal. The weather at the time was bit cloudy and this made the approach a bit bumpy. While on approach with the runway in sight to it was quite easy to see why this airport is one of the most dangerous in the world. The approach was very fast and it allowed no room for error on the part of the pilots. After a tense landing and quick taxi uphill to the ramp, it became quite evident that nerves of steel are a mandatory requirement for pilots flying in this region. To gain a better appreciation for the majestic experience of flying in the mountains of Nepal, Just Planes has included clips of each flight from a camera mounted on the exterior of the aircraft! The replay of our first flight gave us an entirely new perspective and appreciation for the beauty of this region that all will enjoy. Our return trip to Kathmandu was equally as exciting as our landing. As we line up for departure, one can only imagine what is running through the minds of the pilots and passengers. Departing on a short runway is no problem for the DO-228 but when you factor in the possibility of an engine failure, turning for a safe landing may be quite a challenge due to the mountainous terrain that surrounds the airport. Nonetheless, we safely depart Lukla and after a 40 minute flight we arrive at Kathmandu in one piece. The next segment of this program takes us back to Lukla for a spotter’s perspective. As we observe the operation of various flights into and out of Lukla one can truly appreciate the skill of these pilots. The types of aircraft that typically fly to Lukla are mainly Twin Otters and DO-228s but on various occasions, helicopters can also be seen operating in and out of this airport. This segment covers nearly 1 hours’ worth of action and I think this is definitely one of the shining points of this program. As an added treat to the viewers, Just Planes takes us on a mountain flight onboard Guna Air’s B1900D. After a brief presentation by an airline representative, we join the flight crew for a tour through the mountains of Nepal. In addition to a cockpit view, this flight is also captured with a pilot cam which gives us a bird’s eye view of the beautiful scenery below. The final segment of this program features the operations of Sita Air and their DO-228 flights to Nepalgunj, Simikot, Jumla, Simara and Kathmandu. This was a major highlight of this program as it features many fantastic views from the cockpit and exterior of the aircraft while flying to these remote airports. My personal favorite was the approach to Simikot which was visually stunning from the camera mounted near the nose gear. I think that everyone who is a genuine aviation enthusiast will enjoy this video and will be equally impressed with the skill of the pilots that fly into these dangerous airports. This video does not feature any cockpit presentations or aircraft walk rounds but it certainly makes up for this with nonstop action from the air and from the ground. This is definitely a program you don’t want to miss. Additional Information What I Like About Lukla · Great scenery · Creative editing and camera views · Features very unique destinations and aircraft · HD and widescreen format
Air Canada Highlights Review by Marlon Carter. Canada has once again opened its doors to the public by allowing them to observe their hard working flight crews in action. Many of the Air Canada DVDs that were released in the past featured international destinations from the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. With the release of this Blu-Ray featuring the E175 and E190s, Just Planes and Air Canada is offering one of the most unique programs in their series to date. It is very rare that anyone would have an opportunity to film flights to U.S airports and in this series we will be visiting La Guardia, Denver and Washington DC for the very first time! Toronto-New York Our first round trip takes us from Toronto to La Guardia with Capt. Jeff Lewis and F.O. Gorde Stevens. Prior to departure, we join the flight crew at the dispatch office as they review the flight plan using the companies dispatch software. In this segment the captain takes us line by line through the dispatch release and explains the significance of each section. If you have always found it difficult to understand the dispatch release, then this is the segment you won’t want to miss! After the briefing was completed, we join the crew onboard the EMB-175 Fin# 384. During the moments before our pushback, viewers will have the opportunity to see the procedures associated with a cockpit configuration checklist, FMS setup and a thorough departure briefing. While enroute to New York there were a few highlights worth mentioning. For example, the captain shows the viewers how an approach briefing is carried out. In addition to this, the views from the cockpit on approach were stunning to say the least and it was one of the very few opportunities that anyone will have to see NY from the cockpit window. Adding to this experience was the replay of our landing from a camera that was mounted on the cockpit window for a “bird’s eye view” of the arrival. After an overnight in New York, we join the crew once more as they prepare the cockpit for an early morning departure back to Toronto. This leg of the trip features briefings, FMS setup and amazing views of New York at dawn. While enroute to Toronto the captain explains the significance of the aircraft logbook and how it is filled out. This is an aspect of being a captain that is seldom seen but after seeing this presentation you will see why so much emphasis is placed on maintaining an accurate aircraft logbook. After a presentation with the approach briefing, our First Officer in command of this sector safely lands the EMB-175 in Toronto which brings our first exciting U.S trip to an end. Toronto-Denver The second round trip flight in this video takes us to Denver. Prior to departure, we join Capt. Nigel Jackson and F.O Tania Lor as they program the FMS and carry out other checks before pushback. One of the highlights of this departure featured the aircraft de-icing process which was necessary due to a buildup of frost on the aircraft overnight. Another highlight was the approach to Denver. While on final approach, it was quite exciting to experience seeing this vast airport from the pilot’s perspective. In addition to filming the landing from the cockpit, we also have the added treat of seeing a replay of the landing which shows a Southwest 737 landing on adjacent runway almost in sync with our aircraft. Toronto-Washington DC After an uneventful return to Toronto, we once again join Capt. Jeff Lewis as he prepares for our trip to Washington DC. KDCA is famous for its “River Visual” approach and I had to admit that I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t have the opportunity to experience this. Nonetheless, this flight is definitely a high point of this program. The approach to KDCA featured many opportunities to enjoy the scenery of both the city and airports such as the Andrew’s Air Force Base. The landing was uneventful but it also provided an opportunity to see the operations of other U.S airlines which is not commonly seen in these videos. After the passengers were boarded and cockpit preparations were completed, we swiftly departed on our final flight of this program back to Toronto which can only be described as short but sweet. In conclusion, this video is without question a unique addition to the series of Air Canada documentaries. In addition to flying onboard the EMB-175 for the very first time, we also had the opportunity to experience 3 major U.S airports from the pilot’s perspective. Opportunities such as this are becoming increasing rare, but thanks to Just Planes and Air Canada, you can enjoy this experience in the comfort of your home for years to come. If you are interested in experience the world class service of Air Canada, flying to unique U.S destinations and learning more about the duties of Air Canada flight crew, then I would highly recommend this program! Additional Information What I Liked About Air Canada E175/190 USA · Great scenery · Creative editing and camera views · Features very unique destinations and aircrafts · HD and widescreen format · Fantastic Airline and Flight Crew. · The price of $30.00 is fair