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332 MPH fly-by at 28 feet in a Boeing 777-300ER  (Source: Liem Bahneman)

First comes the champagne, then comes the axe.  (Source: Telegraph)
Cathay Pacific pilot fired for 28 foot fly-by in a brand new Boeing 777-300ER

When it comes to American commercial airliners, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has received the majority of the press for the past two years. The 787 uses advanced engines and composite materials to achieve remarkable fuel economy for an aircraft its size.

However, the older Boeing 777-300ER is making news due to the actions of one daring pilot. Captain Ian Wilkinson decided to make the most of the maiden voyage of the Cathay Pacific 777-300ER by showing off the capabilities of the aircraft.

Captain Wilkinson made a 332 MPH pass of the airport control tower at a height of just 28 feet. Onboard the aircraft were Cathay Pacific airline executives who were "stunned into silence", while on the ground stood cheering ground crew.

"We heard afterwards he was asked to do a fly-by of the factory and decided to give them a flight they would never forget," said one Cathay Pacific inside. "But why he chose to do it with the chairman on board is anyone's guess."

Passengers and the flight crew of the brand new 777-300ER toasted Captain Wilkinson with champagne after the fly-by. That might have been the end of the event if it weren’t for the Internet -- a video of the low fly-by found its way to YouTube and Wilkinson soon was suspended, and then later fired for his actions.

"If no one else had found out about it, the incident would probably have gone no further, but once it began circulating on the internet and Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Authority got hold of it, that was the end of him," said a senior pilot for Cathay Pacific.

Captain Wilkinson, who has lived in Hong Kong for the past 15 years, is said to be considering an appeal of his termination -- considering that Wilkinson was pulling down nearly $500,000 USD a year as a pilot, it a near certainty that he will go through with the appeal.

"Wilkinson was showing off, and most of the pilots might be sympathetic, but they feel that he got what he deserved when he was sacked," added Cathay Pacific senior pilot who wished to remain nameless.

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By an0dize on 2/25/2008 11:35:18 AM , Rating: 5

Seriously... I don't see anything wrong with what he did. He obviously knew what he was doing and it was obviously a special case. I could see if he did a reverse Immelmann turn to save time getting in position for landing at 300 ft with a full load of passengers it might be a problem, but this is complete paranoid overreaction.

RE: Overreaction
By Master Kenobi on 2/25/2008 11:42:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, well this is the world we live in today. People simply can't handle it.

RE: Overreaction
By arazok on 2/25/2008 12:42:14 PM , Rating: 5
My therapist tells me it's perfectly normal to be disturbed by this video.

RE: Overreaction
By glenn8 on 2/25/2008 11:52:45 AM , Rating: 5
I don't understand why people act like just because "he knew what he was doing" condones an unnecessary risk that achieves nothing. I'm fairly certain a lot of work place accidents happen because the person thought "he knew what he was doing".

RE: Overreaction
By pauluskc on 2/25/2008 12:12:55 PM , Rating: 5
my friend "knew what he was doing" but still ended up getting her pregnant.

RE: Overreaction
By wallijonn on 2/27/2008 1:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand why people act like just because "he knew what he was doing" condones an unnecessary risk that achieves nothing.

People act exactly like that when they are behind their own vehicles. Accidents continue to happen, though, don't they? People see car accidents every day and don't change their own driving habits, no? "Unnecessary risks" are seen every single second on highways and roads.

RE: Overreaction
By ikkeman on 2/25/2008 5:45:27 PM , Rating: 1
does no-one remember what happens when an large commercial airliner crashes in an civilian area??

9/11 anyone?

RE: Overreaction
By sweetsauce on 2/26/2008 10:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
I do. Its followed by beams cut for demolition and lots of "ground" explosions. Can't forget collateral damage also. Might have buildings nearby suddenly crumble to the ground unexpectedly. I hope said nearby building doesn't hold any incriminating information or we'll lose out on all that valuable evidence.

RE: Overreaction
By ajfink on 2/25/2008 9:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
No joke. A professional pilot at that level knows exactly what his aircraft is capable of.

This doesn't even qualify as a stunt. These planes are large, but if you read up on stories about pilots being forced to maneuver in them you'll find they're actually quite capable.

Granted, he did violate some rules. I'm not even entirely against his being fired, just don't go listing off all the evils and dangers he placed people in.

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