How Emirates 'air hostess' stood unfazed atop Burj Khalifa as A380 whizzed by in viral video

The carefully choreographed flypast involved the A380 flying at a low altitude of only 2,700 feet



by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 17 Jan 2022, 3:33 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Jan 2022, 3:50 PM

Emirates Airline’s bravest ‘air hostess’ gave the world another dizzying invite to Dubai, as she stood atop the Burj Khalifa in a viral video recently. And this time, she was accompanied by a ‘friend’: The colourful Expo 2020 Dubai A380, which whizzes past her in the jaw-dropping clip.

Days after it aired, we can finally detail the efforts that went into pulling off the death-defying stunt.

This is the second stunt involving stuntwoman Nicole Smith-Ludvik standing atop the world’s tallest building. She had a reduced circumference space of only 1.2 metres at 828 metres high to pull off the stunt.

In the latest ad, Nicole is standing at the top of the world, holding up message boards with an invitation to visit the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The ad also features dynamic aerial views of Dubai and its iconic skyline, and culminates in a flypast over the impressive Al Wasl dome at the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

Behind the scenes

The seamless presentation of the ad gives the impression that it was shot effortlessly. However, it involved in-depth planning and meticulous execution involving stakeholders across Dubai’s aviation eco-system, “with a strong focus on safety at every juncture when conducting the low flying manoeuvres”.

The carefully choreographed flypast involved the A380 flying at a low altitude of only 2,700 feet, the exact height of the Burj Khalifa.

The aircraft also flew at a very low speed of 145 knots. To put that into perspective, the average cruising speed of an A380 is around 480 knots. The low speed ensured the aircraft could efficiently and continuously circle around the Burj Khalifa and achieve a tight radius without drifting away.

In total, the Emirates A380 circled the Burj Khalifa 11 times to get a right selection of shots for the ad.

The aircraft also appeared as if it was flying very close to the stuntwoman as she was standing on the Burj, when in fact it was over a half a mile away.

Pilots trained multiple times in the A380 flight simulator to ensure every visual reference point was covered and tested and every manoeuvre checked prior to the mission.

The filming and low flypasts were conducted on October 13 and 14, 2021, and the timings of the flights were scheduled outside of the peak departures window at Dubai International.

Planning

The project involved multiple stakeholders, including Emirates pilots, flight operation teams, air traffic controllers, helicopter pilots, drone operators and the filming teams, and the Emirates marketing and Emaar teams.

Regulatory bodies worked closely to discuss and deliberate every detail and aspect of the mission, choreographing the flight plan, running risk assessments, accounting for air traffic, as well as gauging potential wind and weather conditions in order to secure the necessary approvals.

Pilots also trained multiple times in the A380 flight simulator to ensure every visual reference point was covered and tested and every manoeuvre checked prior to the mission.

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Invite to the World’s Greatest Show

Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, said: "Now at the halfway mark of its six-month run, the excitement and momentum around Expo 2020 Dubai remain strong. Our latest campaign boldly carries the Expo message and invites people to come and experience what is truly the world’s greatest show. There is nowhere else right now that offers the raft of attractions, top-class entertainment and music, riveting sports, vibrant country and themed pavilions, a thriving culinary scene and much more – all in one place. Dubai and the Expo are already top attractions and our aim is to give global travellers even more reasons to choose Emirates and Dubai for their upcoming winter and spring holidays."


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