Crazy Footage Of A Captain “Wrestling” A 747 To The Ground

Filed Under: Videos

While I’m (obviously) a miles & points geek, I’m just as much an aviation geek. I love everything about aviation, at least non-military aviation (for whatever reason that doesn’t interest me much). That’s why I watch my fair share of aviation related videos on YouTube, etc.

I just came across a pretty insane video of a 747 captain “wresting” a plane to the ground at Tokyo Narita Airport. I’ve seen a lot of crazy landing videos, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen one where the pilot made so many adjustments prior to landing. Here’s the video:

The guy’s a 747 captain, so I sure as heck am not qualified to say “oh, he was over controlling,” or anything like that. I will say that it looks like the landing was great.

The comments section of the video is interesting, as you have 747 pilots with 20,000+ flight hours arguing back and forth about whether this pilot is brilliant or an idiot:


Goodness gracious, can someone get out a ruler already?!

Regardless, I thought the video was interesting to watch. It’s easy to assume that planes more or less land themselves nowadays. That’s typically not the case, and beyond that, there are often lots of last second adjustments involved, as we can see here.

  1. Narita can be quite windy as it is near the coast. Please recall the FedEx MD-11 that flipped over on landing at Narita a few years ago and killed both pilots.

  2. I watched the video in YouTube and it said EXTREME CROSS WIND LANDING! …..maybe that will explain something? ???

  3. While I’m not on the 747 type, I can tell this definitely isn’t an easy landing. You can see that most of his corrections were applying left roll, yet the aircraft kept rolling right (due to strong gusty wind). Narita is quite notorious for gusty winds often exceeding 30 knots. Personally I think the captain did a very good job flying, as one of the keys is to apply frequent small adjustments, which is exactly what he did

  4. It turns out that “Lou” is the actual captain in this video… plot twist (seriously … read the Facebook comments)

  5. @ Justin — Woah, that’s interesting! Though the best comment in that whole thread still has to be this one:
    “dude i have flown this aircraft on ms flight sim at least 50 times and I can tell you first hand he is doing what is necessary”


  6. @Brian G my thought exactly – where Is aviation headset!? Listening to Spotify on his iPhone while landing a 747 I guess.

  7. As a Military C130 pilot I may not have so much authority on this matter but seems not to be a fly by wire aircraft and maybe some extreme crosswinds caused the need for constant correction.

  8. He’s playing with the rudder too much trying to straighthen it, hence the overadjustment on the silerons. Just let it fly at an angle and simply use the elevator to push it down…basic guys,….remember training days?.

  9. Wow! At first I was like “WTF.” But then I read the thread. Try watching the video again with this comment in mind (I just did), and it makes a lot more sense: “Camera is fixed to the frame of the aircraft. Fix a camera very securely to your car and film yourself: you’d be surprised how much you move and shake…”

  10. Looks like a practical joke done by the flight crew. The response of the aircraft to pilot inputs is non-existent!

    Bet the first officer (or the computer) is handling the landing while the captain pretends to struggle with the controls…!

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