Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mentoring from Capt. Doug

I regularly get queries from "up start" pilots asking the best road to take in becoming an airline pilot. As everyone may guess that path is not as cut and dried as one would think. There are twists, turns, set backs, forks in the road, potholes with less smooth driving than you think.
But this goes for most career orientated jobs.

Above are two pictures during my Navajo days. One shot is when I flew into YYG (Charlottetown, PEI) during a snowstorm. Air Nova was parked next to me. I thought, wouldn't it be great to be hired by them. We pilots are always looking up...up toward the next bigger airplane. It turned out, I walked my resume into Air Nova and the chief pilot would not give me the time of day. I ended getting hired by Air Atlantic and flew their Dash 8s and Bae 146s.

There is saying, "be nice to the people going up the ladder because it may be the same people you see going down the ladder." That chief pilot at the time is now a line pilot still flying the Dash 8. His pedestal was knocked from underneath him. It's all about decisions and when you make them.

I did get hired by Air Nova six years later. They actually came out to me in the parking lot after the interview to tell me I was hired and come back to get my manuals. Because I did not accrue much seniority with Air Nova the decision to leave was that much easier. Had I been senior, I would have probably stayed back and waited for the merged seniority list with Air Canada and the connectors.. It didn't happen! End of rant...

Here's an email I received yesterday. This person is smart, they are networking and putting out their "feelers" because it's a small business and you would be amazed who knows who in this industry.

Hi Capt. Morris, I recently passed my class 4 flight instructor's ride in Hamilton and am currently instructing students enrolled in the Commercial Aviation Management Program at the University of Western Ontario. Building my time and filling in the gaps on the desk for a little bit of extra income keeps me very busy these days. Working towards becoming a class 2 which will get me on the twin (DA42) for some multi-pic time and then (knock on wood) some multi-turbine time somewhere else before applying to a larger carrier. It's a great feeling to be paid to do something that you love so much. Are you still with Air Canada or did you end up pursuing opportunities overseas? I was looking at various instructing positions in and around Dubai but haven't found anything that I am ready, or qualified, to commit to. A classmate of mine is from there and she is currently seeking opportunities, maybe with a company that is has more than one position to fill! Do you have any advice for a young, eager and inexperienced instructor? I would love to apply any tips you may have for me while increasing my experience and working towards becoming and airline pilot. I'm currently in the process of gathering information on FAA licences and the steps involved in applying for one. So far, the best information I have been able to find has been to contact an FSDO to get the paper work started before writing a conversion exam. Do you have any specific advice for converting to FAA licenses? Hope all is well, safe flying.

Hi. I'm just in from SFO (San Francisco). Congrates on your class IV! I also did my class IV as well and taught air cadets. Because of it, I gained my class III. After amassing about 900 hours total, I queried a cargo/charter company whether they would want a part time pilot. They hired me and the rest is history. I paid for the Navajo endorsement, but it was worth it.

This retirement thing at Air Canada is a contentious issue but both the union and the company want to keep everything as is. This translates into 711 pilots walking out the door at Air Canada in the next five years. I still think things here in Canada will turn around
nicely. Meanwhile you can build the much needed flight time. Having said that, if you have an itch to go abroad that would be neat too.

I know quite a few pilots that went the American route, but most are back here. Ten years ago, I would have given my eye teeth to get hired by a "major" in the U.S. Not anymore. I'll stick with Air Canada, thank you.

You are young and if travelling is in your blood (you must have it or you would not want to be a pilot) then the world is your oyster!

I do realize everyone wants to take the right road in life, and to accumulate hours expeditiously, but it will all work out. Meanwhile, enjoy the ride!


H I said...

I guess trying to find the "right way of doing things" never ends until you're there, and its not just start-up pilots looking for the right way. I've been reading Captain Morris's articles since my PPL days. They are absolute torture as they confirm that life at AC is everything you dream it is. I currently fly a 737, really enjoying the ride, but still waiting for that final step. Keep up the great blog Captain Doug! Its a great motivator.

From the Flight Deck said...

H I Thanks for the words of encouragement both for me and for those who want to go all the way with flying.

B737? Is that with Westjet, Sunwing, Falcon Mining or somewhere abroad?

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain,

I am just wondering what the typical nose up attitudes (in degrees) are for jet planes?


From the Flight Deck said...

For the Airbus (A320), we pitch up to ten degrees and follow the SRS (speed reference system) commands (flight director) after that. This translates into a 3 degree/sec rotation. On the "big bus" I silently counted 1,2,3 so as to avoid a possible tail strike. It's not an issue on the small bus except on the A321. When we land on the A321 if we exceed 7.5 degrees the PNF (pilot not flying) is suppose to call, "pitch, pitch."

During an engine failure on rotation, we rotate to 12.5 degrees and follow the SRS command.

Hope this helps.

H I said...

I fly for First Air on the old
737 -200 series. Some ex-Air Canada machines too!

From the Flight Deck said...

H 1 At least you are building lots of jet time.
A B737 endorsement is good to have. Enjoy the ride!

Aviatrix said...

I interviewed with the company Air Nova became and got their response just as quickly, but in my case it was thanks but no thanks.

From the Flight Deck said...

Aviatrix. I haven't heard from you in a while!

How goes the flying, Robyn.