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Olympic Torch Heads To U.K. On British Airways Plane (PHOTO)

Posted: Updated: 05/18/2012 4:46 pm

Olympic Torch

Greece handed over the Olympic torch to the U.K. on Friday, which is all fine and good, but how exactly do you get a lit torch on a plane and keep it safe?

British Airways, the official U.K. airline for the 2012 Olympic Games, used their "Firefly" plane to carry dignitaries, famous Brits like David Beckham and the torch back from Athens, according to the BBC.

Who mans the plane carrying the symbol of all the world's hopes inside? British Airways enlisted veteran pilot Captain David Thomas, who has flown the Queen on two royal tours and given Tony Blair a lift to Germany. The captain had already completed a test run in March carrying an unlit lamp.

Still, there are some specific challenges when flying a lit torch inside an airplane.

Thomas told the BBC: "You try to forget about a lot of the external pressure as it's not helpful, when you're flying passengers you are thinking about safety. I've been in that position before, you don't want to get it wrong but I have got a couple of great guys with me. The worst thing for me is I know how good the [TV] cameras are so I'll have to watch what I'm doing at all times."

"It's slightly unusual to be playing with fire on an aeroplane," he added.

The torch will occupy business class seats 1A and 1B on flight 2012, the Guardian reports.

olympic torch

The flame is carried in two specially-made metal cradles and held to the seat with a seat belt and Velcro strap. A Metropolitan Police (London) officer trained in firefighting will sit in seat 1C, watching the torch on the entire 1,5000 mile, according to the BBC. reports that once the torch lands at a naval air station in Cornwall, a Royal Navy plane will fly it to Land's End, the furthest point west in England.

At least it isn't an electronic device.

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  • British Airways Firefly flight BA2012 carrying the Olympic flame lands at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall, England, from Greece, Friday, May 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Barry Gomer)

  • (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • The British Airways Firefly arrives carrying the Olympic flame from Athens during the ceremony for the arrival of the Olympic flame on UK soil at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.

  • Britain's Princess Anne talks to the crew members of British Airways flight BA2012 as she steps off the aircraft carrying the Olympic flame in a lantern. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Former England footballer David Beckham, (2nd Row from Top C) London 2012 Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe (2nd Row from Top L) and Britain's Princess Anne pose for pictures after arriving with the Olympic Flame at RNAS Culdrose air base in Cornwall, south-west England, on May 18, 2012. (CARL COURT/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Former England footballer David Beckham (C) lights the Olympic Torch as London 2012 Chairman Lord Sebastain Coe, (2nd L) Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (3rd L) and Britain's Princess Anne (4th L) look on, at RNAS Culdrose air base in Cornwall, south-west England, on May 18, 2012. (CARL COURT/AFP/GettyImages

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Filed by Kate Auletta  |