Saturday, February 13, 2010

AC goes single pilot operation

First officer seat removed - down to single pilot operation. Not really, but at least I got your attention.

Maintenance removing the old seat. The delay took two hours waiting for replacement/installation.

Back to two pilot operation. Our last leg from Ottawa to Toronto.
We are both still smiling.

Just finished a three day mission. Day1 YYZ-YUL-YHZ Day 2 YHZ-YUL-MCO Day 3 MCO-YOW-YYZ

I get more take and landings in a three day pairing than some of the wide body drivers do in three months. Yes, I miss the long haul.

Day one proves to be uneventful. We get to the short layover hotel in Halifax with time to spare for a debriefing cocktail. Translation the "beer math" added up. At A C it's 12 hours from "bottle to throttle." Many layover cities have short layover hotels and downtown layover hotels for longer layovers. In Canada, there's Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver with two sets of hotels. The flight attendants are pretty much the same with some diferences.

Day two starts with a 4:00 a.m wake up. It's my leg and I notice a YAW DAMPER #1 fault during the ramp checks. The rudder has two dampeners and we thought because of the brisk wind outside it had something to do with it. We beckon maintenance. There is no circuit breaker reset for this.

It's 6:00 a.m and these guys have been up all night. One of them says, "oh sh$t" when he sees the snag. Not a good thing when maintenance says this. Off to work they go pulling circuit breakers and activating hydraulic pumps. They wanted it fixed because they knew in order to dispatch this aircraft under an MEL, it would entail climbing up into the tail and pulling a cannon plug to the yaw damper. Not a fun thing to be doing at the end of a midnight shift with the winds blowing.

They fix it! It's off to deicing for a quick spray with frost on the wings. We had a curfew restriction for landing in YUL. We could not touch down prior to 7:00 a.m and the flight plan was showing 10 minutes under sked. Our maintenance situation and deicing fixed that.

In YUL we had an aircraft switch and a trek through American customs. It took over 20 minutes to get through security/customs and that was the fast track. The flight is full. We arrive at gate 75 but the boarding screen said Los Vegas. We were confused and rest assured the passengers were too. No airplane. There's rumbling there might be a maintenance issue.

After switching gates and boarding the airplane it's learned the First officer's seat sinks to the floor during landing and take off. Not a good thing. It's a 320 so the seats are mechanical and not electric.

The seat must be replaced. There is one getting refurbished in the shop and if that didn't work they would rob one from another airplane. Finally, after 2 hours we are on our merry way to frigid Florida, but not before we transit a jet stream depicted to be blowing a whopping 210 knots from the west. My 'in-charge' said two days before he encountered some of the worst turbulence in his career from it. Our wind read out clocked the winds at 270 degrees at 185 knots and we only got a few bumps. We elected to stay low and it worked out nicely.

Luckily the weather gods were friendlier that day. We arrive in Orlando with a maximum temperature of 9 degrees C, two hours late and had to wait 15 minutes for the gate to open up.
Needless to say it was off to a local pub for debriefing beverages. Another early wake up but day three proved uneventful.

The life of an airline pilot.


ehsan said...

Dear Captain Morris,

This is Ehsan Hosseini. That's a great opportunity for me to have the chance of asking my questions from you. They may seem to be irrelevant to this post however it is aapreciated if you could answer them.

I am currently a master's student of Mechanical Engineering at University of Alberta. However, I am planning to change my professional career path after being graduated from university, and start my professional pilot program. Here I have 3 questions on which it is truly appreciated if you could guide me.

1) I am looking for a well reputed flight school in Canada which can give me a higher standards and reputation toward my future job applications for major airlines. I could find "Brampton Flight Centre", Moncton Flight college" and "Toronto Airways" seem to be good flight schools. However I wanted to have you opinion as well please.! Which on of these 3 or any other flight school would you recommend?

2) Does my educational background put me in any asset for being hired in major airlines? I must note that currently I am 2, and most likely I will be able to get all of my commercial pilot related licences (PPL, CPL, Multi IFR, Instructor) when I am almost 27. I don't know how many year do I have to fly as flight instructor, etc to build my flight hours up to 1000 - 1500 hrs. But roughly I can say that I will be around 30 or 31for obtaining that flight experience. My concern simply is that if I will be considered TOO old in that time. Does my degrees compromise that?

3) As the last question, may I ask please that how many international pilots are currently flying in Air Canada? I know that internationals must be Permanent Resident or Canadian Citizen to be hired in Air Canada. I also will have my Canadian passport by that time, but my original country is Iran. Is there any similar case in Air Canada, or generally is this a point of concern?

I am eagerly looking forward to hearing back from you.

PS: my dad is a Captain of Boeing MD-83. So you can see why I want to be a pilot...;)

Thanks so much


From the Flight Deck said...

1. Ehsan. Too bad you didn't leave an email address, but here it goes.

Funny, I've been talking to three people this week alone and all three will be pursuing aviation. Two will be leaving their present jobs.

You are not alone! I use this saying a lot, and it may be wearing out BUT, "you've been bitten by the aviation bug." To my knowledge the only cure is to get out there and start flying. You will soon know whether this industry is for you.

There are MANY good flight schools in Canada and I suggest reading/buying James Balls' book, "So You Want to be a Pilot, eh?" The link to the book is on my blog site.

Brampton is a good school and they offer a one year diploma. I teach some weather there. Moncton has an excellent reputation and many Air Canada pilots are graduates from there.The only thing I see as an issue there is, a copious amount of Chinese students. Toronto Airways also has a good rapport. For you, because of your education and age, you need to concentrate just on the flying.
I would be looking at two years maximum for colleges. Or just get to the nearest flying club and start flying! A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! (Another overused saying of mine)

2. Yes, your education is an asset for being hired. Don't fret too much about your age because the average new hire age at Air Canada is 35.

3. To be hired on at Air Canada you must be a Canadian citizen or have the right to work in Canada. So, there are NO international pilots flying for Air Canada. They are all Canadian citizens to my knowledge. Pilots do not come and go at Air Canada. Sure some leave for greener pastures, but there is no international agreement.
But if you said your Canadian passport is on it s way, that shouldn't be an issue.

Remember, there are other airlines out there as well. Something to think about. But for now, start flying!

Hope this helps.

Captain Doug

Lakotahope said...

That empty space where a seat once rested sure looks bleak. Kinda what it would look like at the bone yard -- which, is a sad reminder of good aircraft put out to pasture....

However, there are usually more airplanes to play with . .

From the Flight Deck said...

Lakotahope. The flight deck seating has whittled down in the years. From four, to three and now two for all modern airliners. I don't know if I'll see a one seater or a no-seater but stranger things have happened.

You haven't commented in awhile.


Capt. Doug

Anonymous said...

Greetings Captain Morris! My name is benedict and I am currently a second year commerce student at University of Toronto. Now, last October I felt that I want to pursue a career in aviation instead of doing business. Fortunately, I got accepted at Confederation College for their flight management program and I will have my CPL when I graduate. I just want to ask your opinion about my situation. Should I finish my degree first at UofT or should I proceed to Confederation College now and get my aviation diploma? Also, what can you say about the future of canadian aviation for me? Thank you for any help and advices. here's my email, [email protected]