Lady's Trip to the closed Strip

Flight description


In Episode 14 „Lady’s trip to the closed strip“ PilotsEYE.tv shows the last mission to one of the world’s most difficult airports. For the first time from the flight deck of a rare Lufthansa McDonnell Douglas MD-II.
Eight airports in ten days

For the first time, PilotsEYE was given the opportunity to cover an entire cargo mission from Europe to Africa, continuing all the way to South America. Furthest destination: one of the world’s most spectacular and dangerous airports, situated in the very center of the highest located capital of the world, „Quito in Ecuador”. Claus Richter, Chief Pilot: „An adventure, regular passengers won’t be able to witness, ever”.

The flying winter garden

A cockpit which offers one of the most impressive panoramic views. The MD-11 with its oversized cockpit windows is often called the “Flying Conservatory”. The last aircraft, which was sold to Lufthansa in 2004 (D-ALCN) is one of only 200 airframes ever produced. PilotsEYE gives a real sense of being in this wonderful place; a part of a vanishing aircraft generation.

En Route – Seven airports in ten days

Frankfurt (DE) • Dakar (SN) • São Paulo (BR) • Manaus (BR) • Quito (EC) • Bogotá (CO) • Puerto Rico (PR) • Frankfurt (DE)

Quito Central Airport – Too dangerous to be left open

Not only because of its altitude of almost 3000m, Quito Central Mariscal Sucre (UIO/SEQU) is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous airports. Embedded in stunning mountain scenery, the airport is surrounded by a dense accumulation of residential homes, located only at only a few meters from the runway. This runway is highly respected due to extreme wind gusts and its inclination. Pilots are not able to overlook the end of the runway whilst rolling. Technically, high elevations and reduced air densities require on general higher speeds. This makes every maneuver even more difficult during landing because of the reduced engine power. PilotsEYE.tv explains the special features and shows one of the very last approaches at Quito Central Airport, which has meanwhile closed for good.

Only the checklist is ABNORMAL…

„I really hate using this checklist during a flight“ are the Captain’s last words, before he takes out the handbook for emergencies and abnormal situations and follows a simulated bird strike. Step by step he explains every command and the associated actions to be executed on the flight deck.

The Amazonas – Unforgettable impressions  

Approaching Manaus, the capital city of the state of Amazonas, the pilots are surprised by the unusual good visibility on the Rio Negro River and its confluence with the world’s largest river, the muddy brown Amazon. The departure route leads our crew past the Anavilhanas-Archipelago, a UNESCO world heritage with a fascinating landscape shaped by 400 elongated islands within the largest fresh water archipelago of the world. Unforgettable beautiful impressions! Unfortunately, other haunting marks like the sight of huge manmade cut downs causing fatal rainforest damages will also stay in our memory forever.

EPGS Error – Minor malfunction, rapid repair

The doors are already closed and the pushback tug slowly starts its duty as an „EPGS fault“ (Electrical Power Generator Systems) error message suddenly stops the process of start-up. Will the error be resolved in time? Big relief on board as the Captain calls for a technician and the ground-handler replies: “I’m your technician, how can I help you today?”

Day Off – Take me to the rose garden

Pichincha, Quito’s very own volcano, is about 4800 meters high and the first destination for Captain Wolfgang and Co-Pilot Anne-Katrin during their two day break. They show us the best lookout points, the original equatorial line and invite us to a short stop at the „Basílica del Voto Nacional“, located in the old part of the town. During the visit of Sisapamba, one of the largest rose farms in the area, Anne’s eyes light up as the Mg. Dir. Rodrigo explains the art of growing roses and the differences between the differing varieties. A breathtaking amount of 90.000 roses leave this farm on a daily basis, to be delivered to all the loving in the world by cargo airplane.

What is so special about the MD-11?

Only some are in love with “their flying lady”, but all pilots have the essential respect when it comes to speed, maneuverability and acceleration. Both Captains explain the specifications of their Lady of the Skies. They illuminate details about the Cockpit as well as important mechanical features during an Outside-check in Bonus part I. Captain Wolfgang Raebiger opens the small door and invites us to the CAC (Center Accessory Compartement) which in this aircraft is specially located in the lower mid fuselage while normally being placed below the flight deck.

Cockpit Careers – One day the left seat will be mine!

There is no simple answer to the question of how to become a professional pilot. Anne-Katrin Kramm, Senior First Officer during the entire trip, remembers the key moment which set off her career, triggered by her grandmother Käthe. At cruising altitude Anne-Katrin – being herself a mother to two children – explains the secrets of a perfect balance between aviation and family life and how to set up a plan for a successful cockpit career.

Problems with bird strikes in São Paulo

The striking distance to a landfill site makes the airport of Dakar (Senegal) prone to bird strike events. During preflight inspection in São Paulo, the technician discovers bird remains on the right engine nacelle from the take-off in Dakar. Is this going to cause delays? How is the ground crew going to deal with this issue?

Look who’s talking – The MD-11’s voice

Some would describe the MD-11’s “automated aural warning system” as brisk, commanding or even penetrant. It announces e.g. the last meters above ground before touchdown. Pilots respectfully call her “Bitching Betty”, but who is the person behind the automatic voice? PilotsEYE located the former employee of McDonnell Douglas and shows the woman behind the voice.

Additional Technical Explanations in the Bonus Parts

Bonus   I – Outside Check with Captain Claus Richter in FRA
Bonus  II – Multi-view Landing Quito, ten cameras in one picture

Two Captains – One track

During the trip, two different captains are responsible for the MD-11’s left seat due to the rotation’s length of time. Chief Pilot Claus Richter is on duty from Frankfurt to Dakar and São Paulo. The Director of Flight Operations Wolfgang Raebiger is on duty for the rest of the tour. You can gain a very personal insight into the pilot’s daily business by listening to their (german) comments, personal thoughts and impressions on audio track No. 2.

A perfect 10 – Ten cameras in one single picture

Eight years ago, PilotsEYE.tv started with a groundbreaking number of six cameras in the cockpit. Today they meet perfection with ten continuously operating cameras. The second bonus part shows the full length landing in Quito, featuring all ten cameras in one single picture. „So get your gear down and enjoy the approach“.

Full documentation for aviation enthusiasts

This is not just for simulator pilots but also for all enthusiasts who are eager to learn more about the topic: PilotsEYE.tv offers all relevant and partly handwritten flight documents as a free download. You can check out their operational flight plans and weather charts as well as the most important ATC clearances and the route (kml) for visualization in Google-Earth. „PilotsEYE Flight Briefing” as PDF http://PilotsEYE.tv/downloads

PilotsEYE.tv – Experience the pleasure of aviation

„It was definitely worth all the effort“ says Thomas Aigner, CEO of Aigner­MEDIA. „It is the fascinating MD-11 as well as the meanwhile closed airport Quito Central, that makes this sequel a contemporary document of aviation history “.

Prices and Availability, DVD and Blu-ray

PilotsEYE.tv No. 14 „QUITO – Lady’s trip to the closed strip” available on DVD and Blu-ray for Euro 29,90. Directly through http://pilotseye.tv, Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk, at airport shops in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich as well as at aviation and bookstores.

FORMAT:  PAL (But will play on any PC with DVD/Blu-ray Player, at least)

DVD:  EAN 4260139480234 ISBN 978-3-943781-23-6 ASIN B00GKJGY28
BD:    EAN 4260139480333 ISBN 978-3-943781-33-5 ASIN B00GKJGY1O


Flight data & Crew

  • Flight no.: GEC 8260/2
  • Aircraft: MD-11F
  • Run time: 146 min
  • Chief Pilot & Captain |
    Claus Richter
  • Captain |
    Wolfgang Raebiger
  • Sen first Officer |
    Anne-K. Kramm





  • AC – The commander shows hidden helpers
  • EPGS fault – Quick repair over intercom
  • What’s so special about the MD-11
  • The only abnormal, is this list
  • 7 airports in 2:20hrs runtime
  • Cloudy slalom
  • Bird strike in Sao Paulo
  • Career ignition by Grandma Käthe
  • Show me, where are the flowers came from
  • Quito Downtown – landing at ceased airport
  • Look Who’s Talking; The Face behind the
    “Central Aural Warning System Voice”