Retiring Airbus A380 pilot performs breathtaking maneuver on final flight full of passengers

  • A retiring Lufthansa Airbus A380 captain ‘waved’ goodbye with a controversial wing-wave maneuver
  • Flight LH453, traveling from LAX to Munich, pulled off the breathtaking maneuver just after takeoff
  • It was pilot Christian Pokorski’s final flight after a 33-year career

Published on Mar 01, 2024 at 9:16 PM (UTC+4)
by Adam Gray

Last updated on Mar 11, 2024 at 1:28 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Just a few days ago, an Airbus A380 departed Los Angeles and performed a ‘wing-wave’.

A wing-wave is a gentle dip of the plane from one side to another, and it’s generally done when a plane is being retired and is making its final flight from its ‘home airport’.

But in this instance, the aircraft performed the breathtaking maneuver as it was the Lufthansa pilot’s final flight.

READ MORE! Fighter jet traveling at 150mph and coming to an instant halt is truly magnificent to watch

Most people get a leaving card and some gifts when they retire.

Not pilots, though.

They prefer to go out in style, even when the aircraft’s full of passengers and fuel.

The veteran pilot has been identified as Christian Pokorski, who had a 33-year career with the German flag carrier before his retirement on 27 February.

And before takeoff, Pokorski was treated to a traditional water cannon salute by the LAX airport fire department, as captured by Airline Spotter on TikTok.

Pokorski was the captain of a nine-year-old Airbus A380-800 with a capacity for 509 passengers, operating as flight LH453 to Munich.

As the Airbus A380 took off and while it was still in its initial ascent, the aircraft ‘tipped’ to the right as if it was waving and then returned to a steady climb into the grey skies surrounding LAX.

The Airbus is absolutely huge – a mind-boggling video exposes the enormity of the largest and most spacious passenger aircraft.

While the pilot received the send-off he undoubtedly deserved, a video shared to TikTok has caused debate.

People were quick to react to the video asking if it was legal to perform such a maneuver, especially with a heavy aircraft full of passengers and fuel on takeoff.

One user, keen to answer the question, commented: “I’ve been on a Lufthansa flight where the pilot is retiring, before take off the flight attendants explain what’s going to happen over PA so the passengers don’t feel uncomfortable. This is totally fine.”

Another joked: “As long as the captain doesn’t decide to make it a last flight for everyone else.”

Some airlines ban this type of retirement celebration, but it appears that it’s somewhat of a tradition at Lufthansa.

In other plane-related news, the reason behind so many flights being pushed to near-supersonic speeds recently has been revealed.


Adam Gray

Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.