Professional performance delivers the goods


Flight Safety Australia has a present for our readers, which as well as being an aviation-enthusiast’s delight, also carries a positive safety message.

This northern autumn, flew with a Lufthansa Cargo crew from Frankfurt, Germany to Tokyo Narita, Japan and videoed the flight, using multiple miniature cameras. The result is 1 hour and 42 minutes of exemplary crew resource management and hazard perception, of the kind that happens every second of every day in the world of professional aviation.

The Lufthansa crew is multinational, with the Boeing 777-200F flown by Captain Rikard from Sweden, Swiss Senior First Officer Sebastian, and German First Officer Benjamin.

The journey begins at the pre-flight meeting with dispatch, and follows the pre-flight walk around and pre-takeoff checklists as the crew prepares the 350 tonne aircraft for its 10-hour flight. It’s an anti-drama of quiet competence and cooperation as the crew divides, monitors and cross checks through myriad tasks.

The video is honest enough to hint at the ennui that can be involved in a life in the skies. ‘Well, this will be fun,’ Captain Rikard declares, somewhere over Siberia, ‘I haven’t been to Japan for at least a week.’

But if he is bored he gives no hint of it in his relaxed, but authoritative, control of the flight deck. The Swiss senior first officer, whose hobby appropriately for a man of Alpine origins is paragliding, takes every opportunity to keep his hand-flying skills sharp. After disengaging autopilot and autothrottle for a manual approach to Narita he goes further: ‘If you don’t mind, I’d like to fly without a flight director,’ he asks the captain, who approves but keeps the left side flight director on.

A highlight of descent is the extraordinary diction of the Narita approach controller, although notably it causes not a flicker of concern to this multilingual crew. The result is as it should be, an anticlimax, as the flat Midwestern accent of the 777’s automated flight deck voice intones the final few feet of altitude. The tone of watchful, but relaxed, professionalism continues until the moment the last engine is shut down.

Flight Safety Australia wishes our readers and followers a happy and safe Christmas holiday. We will be back online in early January, after the CASA shutdown.