Time-lapse offers glimpse inside the cockpit when landing at London City Airport

When flying into London City Airport (LCY), you are treated to landmarks like the London Eye, the Shard, and Tower Bridge. For British Airways pilots who fly the route from New York City, they get a bigger treat: a bird’s-eye view of the entire city. The airline compiled a time-lapse (above) and pilot interview (below) of the descent that shows the spectacular view from a pilot’s eyes.

The videos celebrate the airline’s business-class only service between London’s LCY and New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, which hits 25 million miles this month — about as many miles that a rocket would rack up if it made 100 round trips to the moon. That’s even more impressive considering the airline has only two planes – an Airbus A318-100, the smallest aircraft in British Airways’ feet – racking up those miles. The upscale service, which began in 2009, puts a sparse 32 passengers on board with full flat beds for the long flights.

But what’s even more remarkable than the milestone or the view is the plane itself, and the maneuvers the pilots have to make in preparation for landing due to LCY’s short runway and steep approach. The A318 is a small jet designed for short and medium-haul flights, but British Airways is the only carrier to fly it on a transatlantic route (with a stop in Ireland when heading to New York). The A318 is the only plane certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency for steep approaches, making it the only option for the route. According to British Airways, its A318s are modified specifically for that landing, with spoilers on the wings that help the pilot maintain the proper speed. Despite the shorter runway, the plane uses only about half of it, thanks to a good set of brakes and reverse thrusters.

British Airways Airbus A318-100.
British Airways Airbus A318-100. British Airways

And where most airplanes come in for a landing at around three degrees, the landing into LCY requires a five-and-a-half degree descent, switching off autopilot at around 1,000 feet. There are only 27 British Airways pilots qualified to make the rather steep landing; the landing requires a rigorous training, including a flight simulator, and only the most experienced pilots are approved for that particular descent, according to British Airways.

“The views flying into London are breathtaking, and are a constant reminder of what an incredibly beautiful city it really is,” said British Airways Captain Karen Atherton, who completed the landing in the time-lapse. “The level of training required is demanding, and rightly so, but the flying is extremely rewarding.”

The proximity to central London that creates the breathtaking view is one of the reasons the flight is so tough – the flight path is close to the Shard, the tallest building in London, and other skyscrapers. The runway is also shorter than those at London’s other airports, and largely surrounded by water. But the quick access to London’s financial sector makes it an attractive service. The flights also inherited the flight numbers from British Airways’ Concorde service.

Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in every genre for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Photography

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.
Deals

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.
Photography

Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Computing

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.
Photography

2018 was a terrific year for new cameras. Here are our favorites

This year, we saw the unveiling of several exciting new cameras. We look back at our favorite models -- each delivering something unique, yet all are powerful and feature-rich. Camera fans, rejoice!
Photography

Grit and gear: How Chris Hershman went from retail clerk to music video director

How did Chris Hershman go from working a music retail job to working with bands like NEEDTOBREATHE and Switchfoot? The music video director and filmmaker talks to us about video, tech, and Nikon's new mirrorless.