BUDDHA AIR; YETI AIRLINES DVD (184 minutes) $30 (plus approx $9 postage) via www.worldairroutes.com
BUDDHA AIR; YETI AIRLINESDVD (184 minutes) $30 (plus approx $9 postage) via www.worldairroutes.com Review by Tony FrenchThe interest here is Nepal and the mountains, rather than the aircraft. In January 2003 Pilot, reviewing the first of this series that I’d seen, I waxed lyrical over the briefings we received from crew and the view we got of the instruments – in a DVD filmed in the aircraft of Bournemouth-based European Aviation. Those crew briefings, from Captain to First Officer, and from flight deck crew to the viewer, are missing on this DVD.Frankly, these films are little better than amateur videos, albeit with cockpit access and in exotic locations. There is so much I’d like to have been told about operating from a capital surrounded by mountains, and a dirt strip carved from a slope in the Himalayas.All 24 flights are to or from Kathmandu, the capital – we get to know the roofs of the outskirts quite well – the first 13 in a Beech 1900D belonging to Buddha Air. The first is a local sightseeing flight to Mount Everest and the road to Lhasa and Tibet. Quite a location. The actual flight would have taken 54 minutes; we get 14 minutes.Flights 10 and 11 introduce us to Yeti Airlines and an Embraer 120 – the first flight is another ‘Everest sightseeing flight’. It’s awe-inspiring, though the shine is taken off by marks on the passenger’s window, the wing in the way, and passengers’ voices.Flights 12 to 24 are in a Twin Otter. This seemed more promising, as three ground crew pushed the aircraft onto the ramp, de-iced (I assume) from a bucket, and a monkey knuckled its way among the adjacent pallets. The destinations, seen as we approach and taxi, are full of rural and highland character: Bhojpur, Meghanly, Lamidanda, Rumjatar, Simara… If only we could have been talked down those steep curved approaches, and seen the charts, to the one-way only strip at PPL (that’s Phaplu) for instance.You get the picture. Great locales. Fascinating airfields. Missed cockpit opportunities. I’ll be interested to see if the others I’ve selected to review in this series follow the ‘amateur scenic’ or ‘professional briefing’ route.