Lonely Planet Writer

Fear of flying? Check out this pilot’s YouTube videos

A British Airways pilot has started posting videos that capture the complex process of take-off and landing. Last month, Captain Dave Wallsworth uploaded footage of his A380 G-LXEA touching down in Johannesburg, following it up at the start of 2018 with a departure from Heathrow. Dave narrates the videos, explaining each step of the process. In this way, he hopes that the project will help demystify his role, and put nervous flyers at ease.

An A380 taxiing at Heathrow Airport. Image by Nick Morrish / British Airways

I remember as a child being fascinated by aircraft, and being incredibly excited to be allowed into the flight deck to see what was going on”, he tells Lonely Planet. “Unfortunately, that’s no longer allowed, so we now have a whole generation of people who haven’t had the opportunity to come and see what we do. I can’t change the rules, so this is the closest I can get to bringing people back in. Simply put, I want to effectively give people a seat in the flight deck with us.”

For Dave, it’s all about explaining the process, while letting would-be apprehensive passengers see how calm life in the cockpit actually is. “Many people are nervous about flying”, he says. “As a pilot, I was very conscious when making these videos to show how relaxed an environment the flight deck is. Everything is done in a calm and professional way, which can almost look boring! It’s a far cry from how many have seen the flight deck portrayed in movies. We want to show that we’re totally at home when flying, and hope this helps to allay some fears. We’ve received quite a lot of feedback along exactly those lines, which is wonderful to hear.”

Dave offers viewers a glimpse inside the A380’s flight deck. Image by Stuart Bailey / British Airways

So far, Dave has showcased two destinations, but he has plans for lots more videos. “The Heathrow take-off was chosen as that’s the airport the majority of British Airways passengers will be familiar with”, he explains. “For the landing in Johannesburg, we were very lucky to have had a beautiful African sunrise which gave a lovely light to the video. It also gives people who weren’t planning to travel to South Africa the opportunity to see some of it from the air, and maybe encourage them to make the journey to explore this wonderful country themselves.”

Dave hopes to produce a whole series of educational videos. Image by British Airways

“In future”, he continues, “I plan to film take-offs and landings at all our A380 destinations, some of which will be in the dark, generating a completely different view and experience. I also want to produce some more detailed, descriptive, and narrated videos for those who would like to know what we are doing in a little more depth. This is definitely just the start of the project.”