Flight BA2012 ‘Firefly’ – How do you carry an Olympic flame on board a plane?: BBC

Posted: May 18, 2012 in Airlines, Aviation & Airports (General News), Europe, Heathrow
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[From a BBC News Feature] Olympic torch: Top pilot’s ‘most precious cargo’.

When pilot Captain David Thomas takes off from Athens El. Venizelos airport later today, on board his gold-painted plane will be a highly precious cargo.

Classed as dangerous goods, there is a specific regulation for the carriage of the Olympic flame.
Photo: RRconway (Photobucket)

Strapped into seats 1A and 1B, in what would normally be business class, will be the Olympic flame as it makes its journey from Greece to the UK.

Its arrival heralds the start of a 70-day relay around the UK ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

On board the British Airways plane, named The Firefly, will also be a party of dignitaries including footballer David Beckham, Princess Anne and London 2012 chairman Seb Coe.

At the controls of flight 2012 from Athens International Airport to the Royal Navy airbase at Culdrose in Cornwall, Mr Thomas knows the eyes of the world will be on him and his team.

“You try to forget about a lot of the external pressure as it’s not helpful, when you’re flying passengers you are thinking about safety,” he told the BBC.

“I’ve been in that position before, you don’t want to get it wrong but I have got a couple of great guys with me.

“The worst thing for me is I know how good the [TV] cameras are so I’ll have to watch what I’m doing at all times.”

Nothing has been left to chance in planning for the flight as Mr Thomas, 45, said: “It’s slightly unusual to be playing with fire on an aeroplane.”

Classed as dangerous goods, there is a specific regulation for the carriage of the Olympic flame.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has approved a detailed safety case drawn up by Mr Thomas and BA’s Dangerous Goods team.

The flame is in four lanterns which sit in two specially-made metal cradles secured to the chair by a seatbelt and a Velcro strap.

In seat 1C will be the fire warden – a Metropolitan Police officer trained in firefighting – who will monitor the flame for the duration of the 1,500-mile flight.

Unusually, and reflecting the significance of the flight, Mr Thomas will be joined by two pilots – a captain and a first officer – whom he selected.

“We’re taking an extra pilot which helps with the distractions and if one of you goes sick. It also allows you to delegate responsibilities which is helpful in…..

Read the full story at BBC News…..

By Jane Mower
BBC 18th May, 2012

  1. […] Flight BA2012 ‘Firefly’ – How do you carry an Olympic flame on board a plane?: BBC (airportinformer.wordpress.com) Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Ascension and tagged 2012 Summer Olympics, Athens, BBC, British Airways, David Beckham, Olympic, Olympic Flame, Tony Blair. Bookmark the permalink. ← Trayvon Martin Case: George Zimmerman Made Racist Remarks At Work (LISTEN) […]

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