San Francisco

The very first flight of PilotsEYE.tv

Flight description

This episode marks the beginning of a success story of documentaries from the cockpit of airliners.

Never before had it been possible to look over the shoulders of airline pilots during an entire flight. To this day, Jürgen Raps is considered the pioneer of a series of films that have helped many young people in their career choices.

In terms of film technology, this film was made with the first – in Sept 2005 – available HD cameras, which at that time were still recorded in HDV, i.e. “near HD”. The lower sharpness and color fidelity, as well as the stillness of the recording, demonstrate the cautious approach to a type of documentary that was unknown at the time.

Camera in the tail 

75.30m long, 13,900km range, and maximum take-off weight of 368 tons. The A340-600 was expected to eclipse the early versions of the 747, i.e. -100, -200, and -300, on its maiden flight in 2001. Because of its considerable length, the aircraft did not come without a tail-camera to help the pilot maneuver on the ground. What is now standard in every passenger aircraft was for Captain Jürgen Raps in 2005 one of the most modern aircraft of its time.

Highly concentrated over the “two six right 

While the cockpit crew waits for the “take-off clearance,” you can literally feel the concentration that prevails in the cockpit during this phase of the flight. As soon as the tower controller has given the wind direction and power, Captain Raps starts the four Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines with 250kN thrust each. With a long right turn in the “initial climb” from the Munich 26R, the A340 passes over Raps’ home Bayreuth before setting course for Scandinavia and Iceland! Excellent views of Greenland’s glaciers and eternal ice world included!

Barely flying nine hours, you’re already there

says the first officer on this flight. It is Sascha Unterbarnscheidt who is now in control of the A340 as it enters the USA. While some forest fires are raging in the forests around Vancouver after the dry summer, the two pilots are still trying to optimize the flight in the last 2 hours, to avoid turbulence and to arrive with as little fuel and time as possible.

Passion Pilot 

Even veteran pilots can’t help but say “it’s cool” when approaching San Francisco on such a beautiful autumn day under a cloudless sky in the evening sun. In this episode, it is senior first officer Susanne Parusel in particular who is captivated by the views over Greenland, the Rocky Mountains, and above all, the Golden Gate Bridge, and who absolutely makes people want to become pilots. As a “cherry on top” there is finally a visual approach to the 28R in SFO.

A big thank you! 

The era of PilotsEye takes its course from now on! Captain Jürgen Raps, who remains faithful to PilotsEye, deserves thanks for giving PilotsEye a chance!

This film is only available on DVD due to the format uncertainties of the time.

Shop: https://petv.co/amzsfo340

The Video on Demand version offers HD as well as 24 subtitle languages: BG – CN – CZ – DE – DK – EE – EN – ES – FI – FR – GR – HU – IT – JP – LT – LV – NL – PL – PT – RO – RU – SE – SI – SK

Video on Demand: https://petv.co/vodsfo340

DVD:   ISBN 9783940358011    EAN 4260139480012    ASIN B000U5NA1Q

This is how Jürgen was doing (2018) after 6 years of retirement (Facebook)

How Jürgen is doing today (2020)
Podcast part 01 talking about the planned closure of the flight school in Bremen
Podcast part 02 “If I would have had a “Sully” among my captains, I would have put myself in front of my crew”

Flight data & Crew

  • Flight no.: LH458
  • Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
  • Run time: 52 min
  • Chief Pilot & Captain |
    Jürgen Raps
  • Sen first Officer |
    Susanne Parusel
  • Sen first Officer |
    Sascha Unterbarnscheidt





  • The first episode of the series from Munich to San Francisco with captain Jürgen Raps (who returns on sequel No.12)
  • Original crew communication
  • ETACS tail camera
  • Airbus A340-600
  • Cross-traffic
  • Golden Gate fogles
  • Subtitles in English
  • Forest-fires north of Vancouver
  • Close view of sidestick and instruments