@onemileatatime points to video of six Air China captains taking delivery of a Boeing 747-8 and flying it from Boeing’s Everett Delivery Center near Seattle back to Beijing.
This is purportedly the delivery flight for Air China’s first (of currently 7) Boeing 747-8 aircraft, which means it would have taken place in the fall of 2014. And there’s something really striking about the departure. All six pilots are in the cockpit, engaging in some chit chat while being towed out – and all six stay. In fact, two of them remain standing for the takeoff roll and climb out.
That’s not something you see every day. Now, chit chat while being towed doesn’t actually violate the U.S. sterile cockpit rule that only activities necessary for safe operation of the aircraft can be carried out when below 10,000 feet (technically, during critical phases of flight). However they’re being recorded.
What’s unusual is standing in the cockpit for takeoff. U.S. rules are clear that pilots must be belted in at the controls, and everyone else has to be belted in for takeoff and landing. There is no standing in the cockpit.
Foreign airlines operating out of the United States are required to be licensed and conduct operations in accordance with FAA standards. This isn’t a commercial or charter flight but they’re being videotaped.
Then again Air China pilots violate electronics rules broadcasting duties to social media. And sometimes a pilot will pretend to be blind, walking around the airport with a cane or let Mandy Moore sit at the controls. Still I don’t think I’ve ever seen pilots take off standing in the cockpit of a 747 before. Have you?