PilotsEYE.tv: San Francisco

September 1st 2012, 00:18 | Written by Konstantin Koll

Today, my mailman delivered the latest DVD in the PilotsEYE.tv series, FRA-SFO-FRA, and also Cpt. Jürgen Raps' and Peter Jacobus' (purser) last flight before retirement. Equipment on both legs is an Airbus A380.

One cockpit—Two pilots—Six cameras

Since almost seven years, PilotsEYE.tv creates high-quality documentaries directly out of the cockpit of airliners—in HD quality using six cameras mounted behind the cockpit windows and on the glareshield. To date, PilotsEYE.tv is well-known for accuracy and high quality productions.

This DVD is divided into five parts: the flight FRA-SFO, the crew layover including a boat tour of the San Francisco Bay, the inbound flight back to FRA, and some bonus footage of the Airbus plant in Toulouse and of a simulated engine fire in an A380 full motion simulator.

The outbound flight to San Francisco is a great documentary, as you get a great insight into oceanic routing. You also get lots of great landscape footage from crossing Greenland and the City by the Bay via “Golden Gate 5 Arrival” routing over Silicon Valley and Moffet Field (NUQ).

This is Cpt. Jürgen Raps' last rotation before retirement, so a surprise awaits him as he becomes probably the only person ever to cruise SFO's apron on a Harley Davidson motorcycle! On their layover day, the crew and their friends celebrate on a boat tour of the San Francisco Bay, and dine at the Cliff House—a location I've been to myself and highly recommend! There's also some footage of San Francisco's touristic highlights, such as the seals at Pier 39 and the famous cable cars.

The return flight to FRA starts with a scenic departure from SFO's runway 28R out to the Pacific Ocean, and over downtown San Francisco. The footage is then intermitted by statements of friends and colleagues (including Lufthansa's former CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber) who wish Cpt. Jürgen Raps all the best for his retirement.

In addition, the DVD contains bonus footage of a visit to the Airbus factory in Toulouse and a simulated engine fire in an Airbus A380 full motion simulator. The pilots are showing the exact procedures to the audience, and give some valuable insights into the manufacturing process of an Airbus A380.


This PilotsEYE.tv episode is inspiring and a bit out of the ordinary, as the focus is a bit less on aviation and more on the emotional side. There's the saying “Don't dream your life, live your dream!”, and this basically wraps it all up: you really believe that Cpt. Jürgen Raps lives his job as pilot! To nitpick, I didn't like the audio track too much on this DVD, as it is too far from the cool ambient music of previous episodes. However, it is clearly visible that the overall quality, especially in visualization, improves steadily! All in all, it's a great DVD, and also a great gift for aviation nerds!

In case you wonder how PilotsEYE.tv creates their DVDs, click here to watch an additional “making of” video. To keep in the mood, I've just ordered the previous episode, ZRH-PVG-ZRH on Swiss. Click here to read my review!

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