Cockpit Videos – A Pilot’s View

Allow me to show you my workplace—the cockpit at 40,000 feet. It’s a fascinating place to work and I get a lot of questions about it, at birthday parties or via social media. Using a series of cockpit videos, my colleagues and I are happy to explain how things work, whether it’s the autopilot or just how challenging it is to land on St. Maarten.

For many people, being an airline pilot is a magical job. After twenty years on the job, it still is for me. The act of manoeuvring passengers in a large cylinder through the sky and putting them down safely is a wonderful feeling. I started flying on a DC-10. Following that, I was a co-pilot on a Boeing 737 and then on a Boeing 747-400. Today I am captain of the Boeing 737. In addition to flying, I’m also responsible for the Flight Operations division.

Inside the cockpit

Very often, passengers ask if they can have a look inside the cockpit. Sadly we can’t let them. It’s not permitted for safety reasons. Safety comes first and foremost. It’s important that pilots are able to concentrate on their work without the distraction of visitors.

Having said that, we believe it’s important—and fun—to answer a number of the questions that we hear frequently. So we’ve made an exception to the rule under some strict conditions. A cameraman—who owns the website Jetstream TV and is an aviation lover—made the videos.

I made the first recordings together with First Officer Ernst Rensink and I’m very happy with the results. It allows us to give you a look behind the scenes into a KLM cockpit. These three videos show:

Autopilot in action

Crossing the Atlantic

Big plane, short runway

If you have a question about flying, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Posted by:   Michiel van Dorst  | 
Join the conversation Show comments


Als je een van de “handles” aanraakt of een ander “besturingsknopje” gaat de autopilot dan automatisch uit net als de cruise control in de auto?

Michiel van Dorst

Met de meeste knopjes of handles bedien je juist de autopilot. Er zit 1 knopje rechts midden op het MCP (zie video, autopilot A) en 1 knopje op het stuurwiel (onder mijn linkerduim) waarmee je de autopilot kunt af zetten.

dont care about this

what happend to the airplane

Ramdeo Gowrea

I would like a free travel with KLM

Lolita M. Balboa

Can I have a free travel with KLM? Joke!!


I love KLM and NL team


Thanks very much I could see this video. Great what you are your co-polit are doing. Always try to be safe in the air wish you Gerrie Jeuken.

Qiang Qin

Captain, I noticed that you worked with MCDU, don’t you think it is awful to type in what you needed to and it is tedious?

Michiel van Dorst

I’m used to it, no problem:-)


Hello I am flying KLM from Vancouver Canada, to Johannesburg South Africa, via Amsterdam at the end of March. My second trip on KLM Airways and so looking forward to my trip. Watching these videos confirms I will be flying in the safe hands of these experienced pilots, thank you.


When your oldest goes from Pre-K to Kindergarten it is hue;a#8230gespeci&lly where you are since it’s full-day kindergarten. It’s true, you are at the mercy of the school calendar from here on out. But at least you’ll still have your summers!So how did she do? How did you do when you dropped her off? Who cried, you or her? Hugs to you and your big girl.My 5YO starts kindergarten soon and he is NOT looking forward to it. Uh oh!

Michelle Calderon

Goedemorgen Captain, hope you are doing well. Im from Mexico City and I will be traveling for the first time to Amsterdam in March. It will be a trip of many firsts: my first time in Europe, my first time traveling alone for so many hours, my first time flying KLM and the first time I’ll be meeting my in laws. I’m really nervous for this flight, specially because I will probably have to take it many times from now on and I really do not know how do pilots handle them. What if they get really tired? Does someone stay awake to check on the flight status? I’m sorry if they sound really silly, I’m just inexperienced. Dank je wel!

Michiel van Dorst

Hi Michelle,

The Mexico City Amsterdam flight is with three pilots. Always, the two pilot seats are occupied while a third pilot is taking rest in a bed behind the cockpit. So the pilots are fit to operate the airplane when they are in their pilot seats. So, don’t worry and enjoy your flight with us!

Michelle Calderon

Thank you very very much Captain!

Michiel van Dorst

You are welcome! When is your flight and what is your flight number? I could try to inform my colleagues that you are traveling with us.

Michelle Calderon

Goedenavond Captain!

That would be really nice! Thank you! I’ll be traveling on March 17 on 0686.

I’ve been looking at many videos and reading a bit to understand how things work on a transatlantic flight. However, if it’s not too much trouble, could you tell me if a MEX-AMS flight spends much time over sea? I’ve looked at the routes from USA but haven’t found an example from Mexico.

Dank je wel voor jouw vriendelikjheid! :) (hope it’s good Dutch, still learning!)

Austin Jackson

Hi, I’m 17 and I have been working hard to pay for flight school. I’m a senior in high school, and I haven’t started yet because I need $25,000 to walk in the school. So I wrote a book called takeoff: seeing beyond the clouds ( How did you get your flight training? I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I was 6 years old, and I’ve worked so hard to make this dream a reality. Please help me in any way you can. Thank you.

Bonnie Parren

Hi, I started my flight training as ab initio at Maastricht Aachen airport in 1990, and was lucky enough to be hired by KLM in 1992 where I started flying DC-10 as a second officer. All the best and luck with following your dream.


Ik weet niet wie deze video heeft gemaakt maar die moet echt per direct ontslagen worden. Die muziek is gewoon niet eens leuk, mooi of wat dan ook en staat bovendien te hard. Zou mooier filmpje zijn als die discotheek muziek verdwijnt. Neem een voorbeeld aan Lufthanza die gewoon GEEN muziek heeft in hun filmpjes maar puur professioneel zijn.


I very much enjoyed the video. When I was 10 years old I flew round trip from New York to Amsterdam. On the return trip I fondly remember visiting the cockpit which was allowed back in the mid 60s and seeing icebergs from the pilot’s window.

Sean Davis

Excellent videos Michiel, thanks. I would love to see some of the emergency training videos that you guys do in the simulator. I think that would make a great addition to the series as that is something rarely seen by the public.

Michiel van Dorst

Thanks. We are presently thinking about exactly your suggestion. Stay tuned!



I’m finally closer to my departure date! I wrote you before but I’m not sure you saw it hehe. I’m very excited and definitely more calm after your comments. I’m convinced this will be an amazing experience.

Dank je wel!


The Name of the music ….please? I love it


When these videos was made (when was flight) ?
Just for interest.


I love these videos! I appreciate the dedication put into making these films to not only entertain, but to educate the public. My only question is, what’s the background music used? It’s wonderful!

Semra sayin

Dit was altijd mijn droom geweest!! Zit mij nog steeds zo dwars….
Geweldige video’s en heel mooi om te zien!!
Wil graag de kokpit bezichtigen als het kan….
Michiel van Dorst you are the best!!!!!

John Kaimins

Thank you for the videos – It is just like being seated behind you, as you fly!
I really like the background music – could you please tell me who composed it, and where I can obtain a copy?
Best regards,

Richard Hall

Love these videos I hope you make more. I noticed many people have asked about the background music. Can you tell us all what it is?


This was so amazing! Thank you for sharing! Such a beautiful aircraft…and amazing skills to operate her! Safe travels!

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