The A380 is one of the world’s most impressive aircraft – no other passenger plane matches it for size and glamour.
So that means British Airways A380 captain Dave Wallsworth, from Manchester, has one of the downright coolest jobs in aviation.
And now we can all see him at work, because he’s published a fascinating video of a landing at Johannesburg - showing the crew inset over a forward view - to help demystify what happens in the cockpit and reassure nervous fliers that even on a gigantic aeroplane, there’s nothing to worry about.
British Airways captain Dave Wallsworth has published a fascinating video of an A380 landing in Johannesburg
Captain Wallsworth said that he hopes the video reassures passengers that those on the flight deck are 'in complete control of the situation'
CAPTAIN WALLSWORTH ON THE A380
Captain Wallsworth believes there's no better airliner than the A380.
He said: 'For me, the A380 is the best airliner in the world. It is the quietest, most comfortable aircraft around, both for passengers and crew. It also gives me a buzz every time I get on it. It’s an amazing piece of machinery.'
But just because he's a captain on an A380, doesn't mean he can fly other aircraft in the fleet.
He said: 'A commercial pilot can only be qualified to fly one aircraft type at any one time. So although I spent many happy years flying the A320, I’m now not allowed to fly that particular type anymore.'
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘I hope that what people take away from it is that we carry out each flight professionally but in a relaxed atmosphere. That there really isn’t anything to worry about. And that if people can see we are enjoying doing our job, they will also feel confident we are completely in control of the situation. I also hope the film inspires the next generation of airline pilots.’
He explained that the question he gets asked most about his life as a pilot is – ‘are you worried about the responsibility of flying such a big aircraft?’
He said: ‘The answer is, of course, no. If that kind of thing worried you, you wouldn’t be doing the job.’
The most common misperception, he said, is that his job is ‘glamorous’.
Many would disagree, but he insisted that ‘for a long-haul pilot it is effectively shift work’.
He said: ‘We have several nights out of bed each month. But it certainly has its compensations, especially for people who love to travel and see all corners of the globe.’
The Johannesburg landing video, recorded with permission from BA in July, shows the final few minutes of the approach as Captain Wallsworth and senior first officer Jeremy Goodson, with senior first officer Philip Gillespie observing, bring A380 ‘The Princess’ in to land on Johannesburg runway 03R.
The Johannesburg landing video, recorded with permission from BA in July, shows the final few minutes of the approach as Captain Wallsworth and senior first officer Jeremy Goodson, with senior first officer Philip Gillespie observing, bring A380 ‘The Princess’ in to land on runway 03R
The descent through the final 1,000 feet is handled manually by the senior first officer
High-flyer: Captain Dave Wallsworth
The crew are incredible calm and focussed as the plane descends.
On-screen graphics explain some of the commands that Captain Wallsworth is issuing, such as ‘flap full’ and ‘gear down’.
The plane touches down after being guided in by a ‘glideslope radio beam’, which keeps the aircraft on the centreline of the runway.
The descent through the final 1,000 feet is handled manually by Goodson.
Captain Wallsworth, who's been with BA since 1989, added: ‘I get a buzz I get every single time I carry out a take-off or landing. Part of me still can’t believe they let me do this. It really is a dream come true.’
For more on Captain Wallsworth, visit captaindave.aero. He can be found tweeting here.
For more on the British Airways A380 service, click here.
Captain Wallsworth, who's been with BA since 1989, added: ‘I get a buzz I get every single time I carry out a take-off or landing'. Pictured is a British Airways A380 over the cliffs of Dover