Capt. David Henderson


Captain David Henderson is an international airline pilot with more than 22,000 hours in the air, hundreds of hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. He trained in the RAF and subsequently worked with British Airways and latterly for major Middle East and Far East airlines. He has flown almost every type of flying machine, from paragliders to aerobatic and vintage aeroplanes to Boeing 747's. He is a qualified flying instructor.

His talks, which are researched meticulously from a vast memory bank of fact, anecdote and downright lies, to ensure the correct material for each individual audience, are a mixture of entertainment, information and behind the scenes knowledge. He is one of the men to whom you may have unwittingly entrusted your lives, and the very fact that both you and he are here today is sure proof that he got things right most of the time.

Yes, flying in a pressurised chunk of aluminium tubing is alien to humans. You do it out of necessity (and hopefully still with some degree of pleasure.) He does it because he loves it - and because it pays the mortgage. He has the best 'Office' in the world, and is intensely proud of his industry and of the fantastic colleagues with whom he has shared his lifetime affair with aviation. He takes an authoritative but light-hearted and humorous, sometimes irreverent look at his profession and his colleagues, but as a raconteur of experiences, stories and a plethora of anecdotes, he will always entertain, inform, enlighten and amuse.

He has completed some 46 cruises as guest speaker on the following cruise lines: Cunard, P&O, Fred Olsen, Voyages of Discovery, Sea Dream, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity


Talk Titles

1. Come Fly with Me.

Introduction by speaker.

This is an introduction to the world of flying, the 747- 400 Jumbo, and aviation as a career. We’ll visit some of the world’s major airports, for example the old Hong Kong Airport at Kai Tak – was it really as terrifying as it seems? Perhaps you can fly a Microsoft simulator – but could you land the 747 if both I and the co-pilot have eaten the fish which is past its sell-by-date? Go on, have a go!

 Let’s go flying. A briefing to let you see what we do to get the whole show together and actually get you safely from London to the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong.


(I’ll leave enough time for questions at the end of each talk. This is often the most entertaining part, so think of the questions you need to have answered and I’ll do my best to address all your queries and worries.)



2. “Good Night, Malaysian 370” – the last words ever heard from the ill-fated Boeing 777 on a routine scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8th March 2014. Perhaps the most baffling of all of aviation’s mysteries, David will look at the conspiracy theorists’ wildest claims and then attempt to analyse the most probable causes and events by fitting all the pieces of the jigsaw together. In-flight emergency or uncontained fire? Catastrophic structural failure? Hijack? Shot down by mistake? Will the aircraft ever be found or will the mystery ever be solved?



3. Air Traffic Control.

 A brief history of the development of Air Traffic Control and the modern, streamlined and efficient system that we have today. Services around the world and how we interact with them.  Crossing “The Pond” (North Atlantic). What can go wrong? Misunderstandings! How about some technical problems? Bad weather? The best controllers in the world? The not-so-good ones? ‘Do-It-Yourself Air Traffic Control’.



4. Is there a Doctor in the house?

Do we, as human beings, really belong in a pressurized aluminium tube 8 miles above the earth? No we don't!

Am I fit to fly? Or, equally importantly, are you fit to fly? How do we deal with medical emergencies?  Decompression. Hypoxia. Emergency descent. Oxygen masks. Why you are strongly advised to listen to the safety briefing. What is the effect of high altitude on the body’s systems? Can we overcome ‘Jet Lag’?  Deaths and Births on board. Emergency Diversion en route.



5. Will we ever beat the determined terrorist?

The safety and security changes since 9/11.  How do you cope with the procedures at airports? Are you being ‘profiled’ from the moment you arrive at the airport? What would you like to see done differently? What else is being planned by our enemies? Will we ever see another 9/11 type of attack? Or will other targets be in the sights of our enemies?



6. Glamour in the Skies.

Aaah….the glamour of the job…Is there such a thing? How the industry has been forced to change over the last 40 years to cater for mass travel and tourism. The ‘High End’ premium long-haul airlines and their top class products. The ‘Low Cost’ budget airlines and their well-placed position in the industry aimed at the budget-conscious traveler. The beauty of the aircraft, and of course, the supposed glamour, the mysterious allure and the sophistication of the divine cabin crew. And why are there so few female pilots?  The answers might surprise you, ladies.

Capt. David Henderson Presenting

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