British Airways Flight 38 from Beijing was less than 40 seconds from landing after a 12-hour flight from China. Senior Flight Officer John Coward was happy and relaxed as he made his final approach to Heathrow.
To the delight of weary passengers and cabin crew, he even managed to avoid a long wait in the stack system - where up to 18 aircraft at a time circle above London as they queue for a landing slot at the world's busiest international airport.
After only one circuit of the skies, the Boeing 777 was instructed to begin her final descent. Coward checked the instruments. The aircraft was on autopilot - a system that allows the pilots to enter the co-ordinates of their flight and on-board computers navigate and fly the aircraft.