A British pilot has been dismissed for “buzzing” a control tower in a Top Gun-style stunt during the maiden flight of a Boeing jumbo jet.
The 777-300ER (not a jumbo jet) was on a VIP flight from Washington State to Hong Kong, with the chairman of the airline was on the flight. After take-off, the pilot did did a very low swoop, flying 28 feet over the Seattle runway. Local ATC knew what he was doing although he’d not filed paperwork for formal approval. He was greeted after landing in Hong Kong with cheers and champagne.
A man described by the Daily Mail as a senior pilot said:
Maiden flights are treated as a bit of a jolly for executives with lots of champagne flowing and these fly-bys used to be done for a wheeze in the old days.
Liem Bahneman was there and posted photographs on his photo site along with this description of the events:
Quite a hullaballo over at the Future of Flight museum for the delivery flight of Cathay Pacific B-KPF, as it was parked on their ramp and there was a large party on their deck.
The 777 rolled out and departed with a traditional wing-rock before disappearing in the low overcast.
I heard someone whistle and looked out and saw B-KPF in bound for a flyby. Got in position just in time to see it do its low pass. Very exciting, and it generated cheers from the crowd at the FoF.
You can see the photographs he took towards the bottom of the page, marked as Cathay Pacific B-KPF. That was it – there wasn’t a fuss – until a video of his photographs showed up on YouTube:
Wilkinson is planning an appeal – it will be interesting to see where it goes.