Two Air China Pilots Standing In The Cockpit During Takeoff

@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?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “We got ourselves a brand new 747, let’s take this bad boy out for a spin!”

    Wow, didn’t know Boeing was still producing [and still has an unfilled backlog of] passenger 747-8’s, thought they were all freighters now. Wonder if they will *ever* fly with a full cabin (in the COVID-19 era).

  2. Missed the point about this video being from 2014, which negates my earlier comment.

  3. Two leading bloggers posting the same video from, umm, 2014? At nearly the same time? With identical commentary? Forget future mergers in the airline industry. Maybe there needs to be blog merging. 🙂

  4. Was PI/US flight attendant. Back in the day pilots used to cram the cockpits of 737-200/727-200 going back and forth from CLT/DFW getting the former Braniff pilots back and forth to work. Nobody thought a thing about it.

  5. Lots of cigarettes/pipes but never cigars. That was saved for “debriefing “!

  6. Gary, we understand that there isn’t a lot to post right now, but please stop copying your posts from Lucky, including his original post about his upcoming travel, which got an insane number of hits and comments so you felt like getting in on it to drive traffic to your site too. You aren’t going to get to Lucky’s league by literally copying him, you need to have some exciting thoughts of your own too. I stopped reading TPG because all of his posts are things I’d seen on Lucky’s blog or elsewhere a few days earlier and now you’re getting just as bad.

  7. Is it common to start a blog by pointing to someone else’s blog if you are the first to report it?

  8. @RCB did you click the link? because it’s not pointing to someone else’s blog. did you read my reply to you? because I did not say I was ‘the first to report’ the 2014 video.

  9. So your defense against me complaining about you not doing your own original content and just taking things from Lucky is that you took it from Lucky’s Twitter and not his blog? Okay then…..

  10. Ken Fisher, back in the day, flts between DEN-CLT often times had 10 standing. Non Revs were not left behind…….

  11. So what! They were excited. You can see them jumping up and down in the video giving the good old Homer Simpson yell: “WU HU!!”
    And after they landed they yelled:
    “WU HU, WE FLU!”
    *** I soooo crack myself up

  12. Being a retired airline employee I gave this blog more of my morning read time than it deserved. Unfortunately it deserves even less now. I was under the impression that this was a blog that would help readers maximize their points and miles, learn of new programs and destinations and warn of pitfalls. Evidently I was wrong. I’m having a hard time justifying giving Gary 5-10 minutes of my time . . . even when I want to help a fellow Austinite.
    BTW, that’s 5-10 minutes if I skip Howard Miller’s dissertations.

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