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Cathay pilot 'sacked for Top Gun stunt'

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Cathay pilot 'sacked for Top Gun stunt'

Old 24th Feb 2008, 09:23
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Cathay pilot 'sacked for Top Gun stunt'

If true, this must be up there with the 707 barrel roll - something in the Seattle drinking water supply, perhaps?

Boeing pilot 'sacked for Top Gun stunt'

February 24, 2008 - 2:29PM

An expatriate pilot with Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways has reportedly been fired for performing a Top Gun-style stunt in which he swooped metres over a runway in a new Boeing passenger jet.

Ian Wilkinson was piloting the Boeing 777-300ER on its maiden flight from the manufacturer's plant in Everett, Washington, when he turned around after take-off and swooped around 10 metres over the runway, the South China Sunday Morning Post reported.

Cathay Pacific chairman Chris Pratt was among the VIP passengers on board the plane when Wilkinson did his unauthorised fly-by of the Boeing factory on January 30, the newspaper said today.

Wilkinson was sacked over the incident at a disciplinary hearing last week, while a second, unidentified pilot, believed to be the co-pilot, has been suspended from training duties for six months, according to the Post.
Videos and photographs of the swoop have been posted on the internet and pilots' gossip forums, with some praising the stunt but others describing it as dangerous and poorly executed.

A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman told the newspaper that Wilkinson insisted the fly-by was "not dangerous" but said he had been sacked for not seeking approval for the manoeuvre.

The airline had a well-established approval process for such manoeuvres and had conducted them in the past at air shows but only "with proper approval in place", she said.

(from www.theage.com.au)

Last edited by zumBeispiel; 25th Feb 2008 at 00:48. Reason: Clarity (lack thereof)
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 09:45
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Fly past was perfectly safe and described by the Cathay DFO as 'spectacular' in his weekly newsletter to the crews. He attached photos of the flyby which looked very spectacular indeed.
As soon as the rumours of the pass being unauthorised started, however, a rapid 'distancing' stance was adopted ending up with a complete 180 by said DFO who put out a notice to crews saying that the pilot had been terminated etc etc.
Leadership in the modern age eh?
Hard luck Ian - now you know how the 49ers felt!! At least you were afforded the benefit of a Discipline and Grievance procedure - they weren't.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 11:19
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exagerate reaction

The video is gone,
Recently happens that anything embarrassing is going to be censored in U-tube. Is the case of the disastrous RTO test of the A340-600 by Airbus and now the low pass of the CX 777 in SEA. However for those who missed the show nobody can says that it wasn't a safely done maneuver. However it appear also from this photo that she had and AOA quite pronounced since her tail under fuselage was almost parallel to the ground.

looking than the last picture something is dramatically missing: the landing gear.

Last edited by ZAGORFLY; 24th Feb 2008 at 11:55.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 11:41
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Another picture.

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Old 24th Feb 2008, 11:53
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Well, that CX flyby surely looks safer than the flyby done in Evora, Portugal last summer, during an airshow.
Remember? TAP Airbus 300 doing a flyby with its tip in the grass. And that pilot didn't get fired!
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 12:04
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What's that, about 40ft off the tarmac?
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 12:20
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"Too low Gear, Too low Gear"


Nothing wrong with the manoeuvrer. Should have got clearance first though I guess.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 12:47
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"No it must have been an indication problem" we can confirm that the gear is up and locked. have a good trip.

Is that not what low fly by's are for????
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 13:14
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The problem with the unplanned flyby is just that. It was unplanned. It appears to have gone well but.....how many circuit breakers were pulled to avoid GPWS warnings? Did he get them all or was there distractions during the flyby. Did the airline insurance allow for airshow manoeuvers? Probably not. Did the Company Ops manual allow for unauthorized airshow stunts? Probably not. Did he ask the passengers in the back if they wanted to be part of his flyby? Don't think so. Was he going to try a banking peel off turn like the Air Portugal pilot did on the famous A310 stunt? Maybe or maybe not....we will never know because it wasn't planned. When you fly for an airline you are not flying for a flying club. These are expensive machines, being flown at high costs as part of a serious business plan. There is no room for individual impulsive expression. It sometimes ends in disaster. Fly the aircraft according to your flight plan and deal with unplanned events using the training provided and the experience in your background. When you do unplanned things you are asking for it.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 13:22
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Have airlines management gone completely stupid? I am a mere fare paying passenger, so I suppose I pay management their wages. Here they have fantastic photos to use in publicity, their profile is raised, great flying making all us boys wishing we had become pilots instead of boring lawyers or accountants etc, and a fantastic colour scheme being shown off to remind me that perhaps I should book CX next time I go to Oz from London. I would love to have been sitting in the jump seat, one to bore everyone about for decades to come. Really this world has lost its sense of fun and being thrilled. On second thoughts maybe CX won't get my business.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 13:24
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I highly doubt it was unplanned!
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 13:51
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Agree with what most posters have said so far, but it won't be long before the rules are rules, he broke the rules he deserve what he got blah blah posters come along.


Last edited by Bronx; 24th Feb 2008 at 18:40.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 14:01
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Agree with what most posters have said so far, but it won't be long before the rules are rules, he broke the rules he deserve what he got blah blah posters come along.
Not to forget the disadvantageous enviromental effect.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 14:08
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Does anyone have the ATC.

He may have cleared it with tower but not with CX or airfield ops (generally an analy retentive bunch of jobsworths). Would like to hear that as it may clear up some aspects of this nice fly past.

A10 warthog

No 777's have winglets as the wing is a nice peice if design and doesn't need them.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 15:34
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One can only assume that the guy is an ex display pilot and that he has had the necessary training for this exercise like the military guys get day in day out.If not then perhaps life would be easier and safer if he let one of the experts.Incidentially the spectacular barrell roll in a 707 by one of the Boeing test pilots was later attempted by a line pilot with catastrophic results.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 16:00
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Angel Low

Yes I agree this is LOW but its a superb picture Well done who ever took the picture
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 16:48
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I think he should have gotten a warning and have that warning posted to deter future unplanned flybys. But let the pilots be pilots and let them have pride and joy in flying. He shouldnt have been fired.

777-300ER doesnt have winglets . Doesnt need them apparently. Is it even available for the 777 series yet?
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 17:02
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Funny how a go-around from 50ft on a CatIII approach isn't considered dangerous and yet this is.
Like everything else in life the fun police assert their authority.
Shame that a company like CX with such a high ex RAF content can't deal with this in a professional "aviation-orientated" manner rather than behaving like the jobsworths that run every aspect of our modern nanny-state lives.
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 17:26
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It is not that unheard of to do farewell flybyes at Paine Field gear up down to ground effect. I certainly remember some different ones with quads. It's not aerobatic and should be perfectly safe and acceptable on a ferry flight without paying pax.

I have heard this one only became an issue because the CAA of Hong Kong hadn't been asked beforehand. As it had become known in public there was no other way out of it anymore.

PS: And here's a new german operator of the 777F looking for 200 experienced pilots. Might be a place for the sad skipper. www.aerologic.aero
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 17:35
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Nice flyby...good to know that there are still some real pilots out there!
Sorry he lost his job though...

Oh, Mr. 310guy...sounds like you need to get out more.
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