Commercial Aviation Video Review
Viking Aviation Photo “Iran Air” and “Kenya Airways”
|Publisher:||Viking Aviation Photo|
|Description:||Impressive presentation of several Iran Air and Kenya Airways flights|
|Software Source/Size:||Blu-ray / HD DVD|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||May 21st, 2012|
Computer / Software Specifications
|Computer System:||- iMac 27″ 3.4Ghz Mid 2011
- Intel i7 3.4Ghz / 3.8Ghz during Boost Mode
- ATI/AMD Radeon HD6970 2GB
- 256Gb Intel SSD and 2Tb 7200RPM HDD
- Saitek Pro Flight System
|Software:||- Windows 7 x64 Ultimate (BootCamp) / Mac OS X 10.7.4
- Flight Simulator X Acceleration
- X-Plane 9
|Overall Time:||- Overall Watching Video 13 hours|
These days when you want to visit the flight deck or cockpit, you’ve probably figured out that this isn’t easy anymore unless you’re a commercial pilot your self or have pilot friends. But why would you visit the flight deck or cockpit?
For most flight simmers, the real “pilot’s kitchen” is the crème de la crème. For some reason, you want to see it with your own eyes and if possible, to see how instruments and DU’s (Display Units) respond during the different ground- and flight phases and how galleys and lavatories work as well as the cabin, including onboard service, if applicable of course.
That said, wouldn’t it be great idea to have a complete preview about what happens on a flight from origin A to destination B? With this in mind, different publishers offer you DVDs that give’s you an inside view of what happens in the flight deck during all flight phases.
Viking Aviation Photo
This review covers two of those “behind the scenes” impressions, created by Viking Aviation Photo.
Flightdeck Action I tells you all about Airbus A320/A300-600 flights of IranAir and Flightdeck Action II from Kenya Airways with the Boeing 737-800. The IranAir is a Blu-Ray DVD while the Kenya Airways is available on a Regular DVD.
Let’s go a little deeper into each Viking Aviation Photo DVD.
Blu-ray Disc “IranAir A320/A300-600”
The IranAir Airbus A320/A300-600 Blu-ray Disc offers you 3 hours of recorded time in full HD (1080p resolution), three complete IranAir flights:
Flight IR767 from IKA (Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, Iran) to GOT (Gothenburg, Sweden) and the return flight – IR766 – back to Tehran Imam Khomeini. Although you think this is the same stretch, the Airbus A300-600, which is used for this destination, is assigned the registration EP-IBB during the outbound flight and EP-IPC for the inbound flight to Tehran.
Furthermore, the Blu-ray disc offers a third Airbus A320 flight, with registration EP-IEG and flight number IR425. This flight starts in THR (Tehran Mehrabad, Iran) and has as destination SYZ (Shiras, Iran).
According to the DVD box cover “Fly to 4 different destinations in this cockpit video featuring Iran Air A320 and A300-600. You get to see A300-600 cockpit presentations, briefing and updates, cabin services and much more in this 3 hour view on flying with Iran Air. Captain Nazzazi tells you about the delivery procedure and tests when they received their brand new A300-600’s from Airbus.”
Pretty impressive, and now it’s up to me, sitting in front of my 55” Full HD television with built in Blu-ray player, to see, feel and experience these Iran Air flights, but above all, if they are really as informative as they say and as I hope. Before I start exploring the Iran Air Blu-ray disc, let’s first have a quick look at what the 2nd supplied DVD box offers.
HD (High Definition) Disc “Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800”
The Kenya Airways B737-800 HD disc offers almost 4 hours of high definition video material of 5 Kenya Airways flights.
The first flight example consists of two stretches. First, we’re on the outbound flight KQ760 from NBO (Nairobi, Kenya) to JNB (Johannesburg, Africa). Stretch 2 is the inbound flight – KQ761 – back to Nairobi. The second flight consists of three stretches.
Flight KQ576 from NBO (Nairobi, Kenya) to BGF (Bangui, Central African Republic) and after a short stop in Bangui, Kenya Airways continues, with the same flight number, to DLA (Douala, Cameroon) and finally, still with the same flight number, they fly back to NBO (Nairobi, Kenya).
According to Viking Aviation Photo “The friendly crews will be updating you as you watch and listen to ATC and follow the routes and navigation. You will be in the best seat on board, offering best views. Be prepared to enjoy the 737-800 with Kenya Airways.” What was applicable for the Iran Air Blu-ray disc is also for this Kenya Airways video DVD. That is …. Is it really an interesting video DVD as they promise? Let’s see and watch it!
Impression of the Blu-ray “Iran Air A300-600 Flights”
On behalf of Captain Hamid Mohasses and Fleet Manager Mr. Bazzazi, Viking Aviation Photo welcomes you on board of Iran Air Airbus A300-600 for flight number IE767, parked at Tehran Imam Khomeini. It’s around 15 minutes before planned departure and after a short introduction from Captain Mohasses, both crewmembers continue with the checklist. The filmed instrument- and other panels are easily visible, keeping in mind the back light of the sunny Tehran weather.
Where needed, the camera moves to different panels or zooms in at ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring) DU’s (Display Units) or EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) DU’s. While the cockpit crew continues with the engine start, pushback and taxi, ATC is constantly available to follow all details needed for this flight. But that’s not all; the movie shows a good balance between what’s happening inside the flight deck and what’s visible outside.
OK, it looks like there’s hardly any other traffic around, but nevertheless, crew caution is taken. This part of the movie deals only with the flight deck because too many things happen right in this small working space. The moment the push back starts, the crew starts with the engine start procedure and almost every bit of this procedure can be followed. If you wish, you could take your own engine checklist in your hands and follow them step-by-step.
Probably an idea for Viking Aviation Photo is to add a hardcopy of the different checklists of the applicable airplanes in the Blu-ray or HD DVD box. This allows “you” to follow the crew while they are busy with their checklist. The cockpit view continues while taxiing, during the take off roll, climb till and including the cruise.
As I know myself when I flew as ground engineer on board of Martinair Holland’s Airbus A310-200, cruise flight phase is a boring part and yes, there’s always ATC and other stuff to monitor in the flight deck, but generally, it’s more relaxed then the previous flight phases. This is the moment where the movie moves towards the business class galley and listens to the purser talk about his work. Once he is finished with his story, the camera shows you a different angle of cabin life.
It moves to the business class passengers and gives an idea how they are served and helped where needed. But, the most important part of the overall movie is and stays the flight deck and since you want to know more about the aircraft systems and their behavior, the camera returns to the flight deck where our captain takes the time to inform you about the operation of some systems.
Not all aircraft systems are discussed, and that offers a perfect balance between what is interesting to know and what you can follow. But this system operation ends also because the flight crew needs to prepare them for the landing at Gothenburg.
Unfortunately for me, the weather is typical north European …. Rain, rain and even more rain. The sunny weather at Tehran is far away from us and replaced by clouds, wind and turbulent conditions. Still, an interesting instrument approach and landing with this kind of weather and you can clearly follow the Captain who’s flying as well as the instruments. The final approach, landing and taxi to the gate are informative as well.
All together what I’ve seen so far during this outbound Tehran flight, shows a well balanced, overall view of the A300-600 life on the flight deck with a touch of the business class.
As expected, the inbound flight back to Tehran is basically the same. Although this is the return flight from Gothenburg to Tehran, a different crew flies it. We are invited to the flight by captain Miriroushan and co-pilot Pouraskari.
This flight IR766 follows more or less the same scenario as flight KQ767. This means, we jump into the cockpit, get our take off data and CDU insertion, engine start, taxi and takeoff. When we level off at around FL350, we’ll have a look into the business class at the moment food is served. After this interlude, Captain Miriroushan explains to us about the PFD, ND, engine instruments, TRP, ECAM DU’s and the overhead panel.
There’s not much more time to tell because the descent and landing preparation are needed to do. This means also the necessary changes in the CDU. With the descent started , times flies by. This means sunset has started and cockpit lighting is switched ON. At final approach it’s dark inside and outside, but the runway is clearly visible because of all the runway lights.
This flight adds additional information of the A300-600 aircraft systems, together with the previous info given by captain Hamid Mohasses on flight IR767. The Airbus A310 Series is still my favorite, so the A300-600, also known as the A306, is my 2nd larger baby.
Impression of the Blu-ray “Iran Air A320 Flight”
Welcome on board flight IR425 from THR (Tehran Mehrabad) to SYZ (Shiraz). This flight should give you an idea how it is on board an Airbus A320. Captain Behnam Shirzad welcomes you to his cockpit and introduces his first officer too. Due to the amount of traffic, there’s already a delay of 30 minutes given by ATC. For you it won’t matter.
You’ve arrived in the cockpit just in time for the take off briefing, followed by the other checklist items as well as the programming of the MCDU for this flight. For your information, the MCDU is the control input for the FMGEC (Flight Management and Guidance Envelop Computer) and not the FMS. The captain is informative and tells you what’s interesting. With all doors closed and ready to go, the cabin crew informed, it’s time to start the engines from this parking position. Although engine start on a A320 is pretty easy, the movie shows you all the details to look for, such as the START CTL PNL, ECAM ENG START page etc. Together with the Captain’s comments, it makes sense that the start sequence works according plan.
Before commencing taxi, the flight control check is done, which can be easily followed with the help of the ECAM FTL CTL page in view. You’re dealing with a short flight, which results in not too much explanation of aircraft systems. Taxi, holding short for the runway, climb and cruise are typically standard and having said that, there’s hardly any time for Captain Shirzad to explain something about the A320.
However, he takes enough time to discuss and explain about the landing procedure and the necessary MCDU settings to be made. Before you know it, the A320 starts the descent, quickly followed by the approach and final approach, landing and taxi to the parking place. Although there’s not much explained about the Airbus, it’s still a nice and interesting A320 impression.
Impression of the HD DVD “Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 Flights”
As mentioned before, the Kenya DVD consists of 5 stretches.
Flight KQ760 and KQ761 (2 stretches) are the outbound and inbound flights from Nairobi to and from Johannesburg. Flight KQ567 consists of 3 stretches. The first stretch departs from Nairobi and is heading for Bangui. After a short hop, the 2nd stretch continues to Douala.
Finally, the 3rd stretch goes back home, the city of Nairobi. In this sequence, I’ll offer you my viewing experience. Viking Aviation Photo first Kenya flight KQ760 starts in Nairobi, Kenya at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO). At the request of Captain Peter Makau and First Officer Carlo Rattansi, we enter the cockpit at the moment pushback clearance is requested and the captain asks for the “Before Engine Start checklist”. Their 737-800 is parked at a gate and during ENG #2 start not much is shown about who and where they look.
But this will be available when ENG #1 is started. I won’t go into detail why, in the case of a two engine aircraft, first ENG #2 is started, followed by ENG #1. That goes far back into history during the old days with prop aircrafts. After push back, engines running, taxiing in progress, several checklists pass the screen and there’s a nice detail while the 737-800 is waiting for the runway.
Close-up screen shots of the ND (Navigation Display) show that KQ760 is waiting for an aircraft that’s on final. Interesting to see how this is presented to the crew. When you fly as flight simmer in the 737NG, you’re aware of this feature, but when you don’t fly the 737NG, it’s nice to see how this is implemented. Just a side note. This Kenya Airways HD DVD, compared to Blu-ray Full HD disc, lacks somewhat, the sharpness, however, both discs have a good balanced color spectrum. Is this a comment? No. Logically, the Blu-ray disc is sharper and therefore it’s normal behavior. I’ll continue with my monitoring while the crew continues with the initial climb, checklists, climb and cruise.
While climbing to the cruising altitude of FL380, there’s a nice shot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Anyway, Captain Makau takes the time to explain a little about our flight plan with the help of an IFR Enroute chart and what to expect at arrival in Johannesburg. He also explains the differences between a 737-700 and -800 and what kind of issues this has for the crew. Think of flying with either model, different center panel instruments and an additional feature on the EHSI of the 737-800. Captain Makau continues explaining something about the EADI, EHSI, although it would help if you’ve had some knowledge of these two DUs.
Then he moves to the RMI and, of course, the EICAS DU’s. Explaining every bit and piece of EICAS is not something to expect, but I don’t feel that we’re missing much Since Captain Makau seems to have enough time, many other systems, including those situated on the overhead panel are discussed.
Unfortunately, the information session is over. Now it’s time for the crew to prepare themselves for the approach to Johannesburg. Difficult or not, it has to be done! The approach preparations, the descent itself, locking the runway ILS 3R and the final landing are well filmed and enough time is is devoted to this. At this point, Captain Makau does not explain aircraft systems, but explains everything that has to do with the preparations.
Very interesting! So far, what I’ve seen of flight KQ760 was interesting, but I must admit that the approach, capturing the ILS, final approach and the landing were awesome. Why? Clear shots, zooming in on the MCP when needed, and not only inside the cockpit filmed but also outer views are added to this approach. Real praise for this! Compared to Iran Air flight IR767 there’s no cabin movie section included. For some this, could be unimportant, for others it’s great to see so much of the flight deck and what the flight crew is doing there. For me, without or with the cabin filmed, it doesn’t alter the overall quality.
Because the same crew continues to fly back to Nairobi (flight number KQ761), Captain Makau tells you all about the initial FMS CDU preparations including the insertion of the complete route, TO settings, thrust settings etc. This is fun and very informative. After this, the checklists are used and followed step-by-step and are easy to follow.
As I said before, during my Iran Air exploration, a checklist of the Kenya Airways B737-800 would be a welcome item to be included in the DVD box.
Basically, from the moment the push back is started, the same pattern used with flight number KQ760, is followed. During taxi there’s a great external view included that gives you an idea how Johannesburg looks. While Captain Makau was the “Pilot Flying on the outbound trip, the First Officer, still on the RH side, is now the “Pilot Flying”.
This means, Captain Makau, still sitting on the LH side, is responsible for the ATC communication. During climb you’re informed about many items in the cockpit. Basically these involve the EHSI and suddenly, we’re at FL350. While First Officer Carlo explains a few things, during one of the external views there’s Mount Kilimanjaro again. This means, we’re not far from our destination Nairobi. The same scenario is applicable for this flight and that’s the detailed filmed descent and approach procedure.
It fun following this part of the movie, so don’t skip it! During taxiing towards our assigned gate there’s a great mix between the cockpit and what happens outside. And since you hardly have the opportunity to see the external view from the cockpit, it’s worth to check what happens out there. The third stretch is Kenya Airways flight KQ567 from NBO to BGF (Bangui, Central African Republic). It starts with an external view of the parked aircraft, followed by a quick look in the cabin.
Captain on this flight is Mohamed Hamdan and while we’re jumping in at the moment they are busy programming the FMS CDU, I’ll try to find my foldable seat. The moment the engine start sequence is started, push back completed, taxi is in progress. This is then followed by the take off, climb and cruise. The same basic idea with previous Kenya flights is the same.
Of course, the flight crew follows procedures, but there’s always a slight difference between humans. Apart from this, what is filmed is never the same and makes it more interesting. Once we’ve reached cruise altitude, the camera is picked up and moved towards the cabin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long before we’re back in the cockpit. Our Captain explains a little more about himself, and because it’s a short flight, he starts informing us about the approach procedure as well as the expected landing on runway 35, equipped with ILS.
These last 20 minutes of this stretch deal with descent, approach, final approach and the landing. Of course, this is followed by the taxi phase and parking location. Due to the short flight leg, Captain Hamdan doesn’t have too much time to explain much about his 737-800. Although the overall video presentation is the same, there’s always something new to see and to discover.
Viking Aviation and Kenya Airways next stretch goes to DLA (Douala, Cameroon). Since the same crew stays on board, there’s nothing new to tell about them. What is different is that the movie starts while the passengers are entering the aircraft. This time we don’t see what the crew is doing in the cockpit thus there’s no preparation, engine start etc. available.
Not really something that we’ll miss since we’ve seen this before. That said, we pick up the cockpit at the moment they are taxing to the runway and moving onto the runway.
Yes, you’re seeing it correctly. They taxi to the beginning of the runway via the same runway, make a full 360 turn and then takes off from runway 17. Because of the short flight duration, there’s not much time. This means the flight crew is busy with their flight and once and a while, the First Officer explains something. For example, he explains why they decided to lay-in a slightly off course route to avoid thunderstorm conditions. That they mention this is interesting, but more interesting is the zoomed EHSI information with weather radar input.
The First Officer explains what to look for on the weather radar. For the rest, this stretch video show how life is on a regular flight. While the First Officer prepares the approach data, we’re also informed that they will land on runway 30, which is equipped with ILS. That there’s person on camera at this point is not a problem in my opinion. Since you’ve a full view of a normal approach preparation, descent, final approach and landing , that makes things perfect.
At least, I enjoyed looking at this Douala approach. The last stretch back to NBO (Nairobi, Kenya), will be a longer flight then the previous ones. Since they arrived at Douala under rainy conditions, with the short turn-around in mind, this stretch starts with rainy conditions too.
This time the movie starts with a cabin view. The purser and his colleagues are busy finalizing the last cabin preparation before closing the passenger door. You’re also informed via the cabin monitors about the cabin and aircraft safety issues as well as by a cabin crew presentation. Even after the passenger door is closed, the Viking camera stays in the cabin, which gives the take off a total new dimension.
Something like you see when you’ve the right seat with view on the leading wing edge and engine. Nice, this different approach!
As far as I can judge, the business class is filmed during this last stretch. Nice to see what kind of food is served. The arrival in Nairobi will be in the early evening. Overall this last stretch is a pleasant end of the Kenya Airways impression.
I enjoyed every minute watching these two DVDs, especially the last 3 stretches – flight number KQ 576 – with Kenya Airways. This preference has nothing to do with the quality of the other Kenya flights or with the Iran Air Blu-ray. It’s purely because of the short hops and thus the impressive inland approaches in the middle of nowhere. For both Viking Aviation Photo DVD’s I can’t say anything else than they’re worth every penny.
Right now, I can’t compare it with others such as Just Planes. At the same time, what counts is what I see and feel with these Viking Aviation Photo DVD’s. At Viking Aviation Photo (http://www.vikingaviationphoto.com/) you can find out what other DVD’s they have, while this link (http://www.vikingaviationphoto.com/flightdeck-action/iran-air-a320-a300-600/) guides you to the dedicated Iran Air web page. You can choose either a Blu-ray or HD DVD.
The price of either version equals 24.99 Euro’s ($31.65USD as of this writing). More information about the Kenya Airways HD DVD can be found via this link and is only available on HD DVD. It’s priced the same as the Iran Air DVD.
As I said before, it would be a good idea if Viking Aviation Photo considers adding to the DVD or Blu-ray box, a paper checklist of the applicable aircraft. This allows a person to follow flight crew actions. I bring this forward because not everybody has a checklist of every aircraft and, of course, you can download it yourself, but I see it as a special gift.
Overall, nice impression of flight and cabin activities!
Angelique van Campen
This review is written for Aerosoft News Service and published via the Aerosoft website.
While the reviewer has complete journalistic freedom, we ask the reader to keep in mind where the review is posted.