Friday, April 30, 2010

Ejaculating Extinquisher

Halon extinguisher

After landing yesterday morning after a red eye from Edmonton, and getting as good as rest as I could muster, I'm off to LAX. My commuting f/o from Sault Ste. Marie greets me with everything done as he's been at the airport long before check in time - typical of commuters.

Everything indicates a normal flight. After all, the full moon was yesterday. Five minutes to push back I query the in-charge about documentation. Did we have the 'general declarations and where is the paper confirming a security check on the airplane has been done? I get blank stares both from the F/O and in-charge about the security one. We search the flight deck. Nothing. Call operations. "Someone will be right there," we're told. Meanwhile, we are missing a "J" class (business) passenger and their bags will be sequenced. That's odd, "J" passengers are seasoned travellers, they don't miss flights. After a 12 minute delay they find her imbibing the hospitality in the Maple Leaf lounge.

We push and we taxi on Bravo for runway 23. Taxiway Alpha is closed getting resurfacing with Bravo needing it as well. YYZ uses huge well lit "Xs" to denote taxiway closure. I won't mention what one American pilot said about possibly arriving to a KKK meeting. Oops.

I'm thinking pleasant thoughts, possible beer on my layover ( I think Capt Sully had pleasant thoughts while overlooking New York prior to...) and a disconcerting POP, SWISH noise directly behind my seat occurs. It sounded like a freshly shaken pop (soda) can spewing it's pressurized guts. I look over to my f/o for answers because I'm taxiing and all I see is widening eyes and hear a series of expletives spewing from his mouth. Plus he is dodging something ejaculating from behind my seat (Simpilot264, hopefully you don't spill coffee on your keyboard, as you did reading my "crab on" comment.).

It turns out the halon fire extinguisher made itself loose from it's mooring, fell on the floor, and started to blow it's load all over the flight deck. I stop on taxiway B and we inform ground. How did that happen with the safety pin attached? Hmmmm. We talk to maintenance and it's an RTG (Return To Gate). I call the in-charge to explain what transpired.

The fire extinguisher took ten minutes to change but we had t0 wait 30 minutes for a push back crew. One rampie visited the flight deck saying they were pulled off another flight to push us back but the flight they were pulled from was behind us waiting to taxi to the gate. "Houston we have a problem." We have a Mexican stand off, as they say.

They finally get a tug, another crew to move the airplane behind us, but the head lights didn't work on the tug. We wait. Another rampie enters the flight deck only to show we weren't the only ones having a bad day. He shows us a picture on his cell phone of a blown chute on Etihad's B777 that occurred a couple of hours before.
The extinguisher spewed over my overnight bag and left a huge wet spot of the flight deck carpet.
Next to a pilot's personality, his layover clothes are his biggest birth control. (So say flight attendants). They might now may ask, what's the name of the cologne you're wearing? Halon.
Joking aside, I check the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). This is a one inch booklet found in the flight deck library depicting various liquids and their danger. (hydraulics, fuel, oil and fire extinguisher repellent was on the list). Providing it didn't get into our eyes it looked like it posed little risk except for the ozone layer.
My f/o gave an impressed look of how I remembered to consult this booklet. To be honest, it was the first time I ever opened it. Finally, we push with a datalink stating a "small area" of thunderstorms are developing along our route.

During the climb, dispatch datalinks us with a SIGMET pertaining to the "small area" of thunderstorms.
They begin to paint on the radar. We elect to deviate south. We end up over Wichita, Kansas. Heck we are overflying Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz's state. One of the three States which sees the most thunderbumpers in the U.S. We watch our fuel as this "little area" (I'll never forget that term) turns out to be my longest deviation for weather. The seat belt sign was on for an hour and a half. I had to deny my crew meal until things subsided.
I figure it wasn't worth wearing. Actually the rides weren't that bad.

Finally, we turn the corner at Wichita and watch the last of the fireworks. Two airliners decided to fly over these things topped at 38,000 feet. Both experienced "lift" at FL390 and FL400. Think stall speed and Max speed marrying, i.e. the dreaded "coffin corner."

I reflect with the F/O as the light show goes by our window about Air France. They were at 36,000 feet with Cbs topped 15,000 to 20,000 feet higher than the ones we contended with. It made my skin crawl.

Further on a brisk westerly wind proved conducive to a mountain wave effect over Denver, Colorado. Continuous light chop greeted us on the approach to LAX as a stiff westerly wind prevailed. We did lots of rolling and it was hard for me to find the infamous parking lot where commuter pilots live in their campers highlighted on the CBC documentary, Dead Tired.
The F/O did a great job putting it on. The park brake is set with one hour and 15 minutes of block growth.

We make our way outside of the terminal only to wait 30 minutes for the driver. Apparently he fell asleep. I guess we are not the only ones who tire in the transportation business.

Today the weather is beautiful, sunny and 22 C. California is living up to its name. After working out at GOLDS gym and riding a bike up and down Redondo Beach with my f/o, I concur, there sure are lots of beautiful people living here.

Halon Doug in LAX


Tim said...

Always an adventure, eh Doug? Glad you made it to LAX OK, and loved the fire extinguisher story. Glad the sim doesn't simulate THAT!


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Tim from LAX.

Yes, when things start to go off the rails we joke, "this is just like a simulator session." Except, of course, it's for real.

Andrew said...

I thought TC was trying to get rid of Halon extinguishers because they eat the oxygen, Did you feel short of breath? As for weather it was Absolutly Gorgeous here in ON!


Daniel Asuncion said...

I'm sure the extinguisher was a
bit embarrassed. It's probably
never happened to him before.

GOLD'S that where Arnold
worked on becoming Mr. Olympia?

Maybe get a digital photo of the
place next time.

It doesn't surprise me that you
remembered to consult that
manual. Anyone who majored in
physics certainly has a mind for

From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew. You're correct, but for an aircraft they are still allowed.
No, didn't feel any discomfort at all. But good question though.

Halon extinguisher - Recommended for Class B and C fires but not for Class A fires in paper, wood and cloth.

They did discontinue rain repellant for rain on the windscreens.

About to launch for Toronto.

From the Flight Deck said...

Dan. Maintenance thought the same thing. They never say that happen before, because after all, the safety pin suppose to keep things in check.

I believe Arnold worked out furthur up the road in Venice Beach.

I will be getting a new digital camera soon.

Thanks for the post Dan.

I'm just leaving the hotel for the flight home.

Nadia said...

Bonjour Doug,

I like the way to tell your adventure. I have the feeling to be in the flight deck.:)


carlton said...

sounds like another memorable day at the office.....

If the max and stall speeds merged ie the 'coffin corner' - how easy would it be to correct this and maintain safe flight again?

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Carlton. Yes, another memorable day. But wait for my next post!

To get out of the coffin corner one has to descend into thicker air. To be at your maximum service ceiling (highest the aircraft is certified to fly) with turbulence or vertical lift is uncomfortable to say the least.


From the Flight Deck said...

Bonjour Nadia. Thanks for reading my blog on a continual basis and the kind words. Always appreciated. I don't know if you want "to be in the flight deck" during my next post. Doug

SimPilot264 said...

Hi Doug,

Coffee on desk now securely contained in a twist-top - not push-fit - travel mug! It's a good job the extinguisher was halon and not BCF otherwise you and the F/O could have been in the med centre for a while.

I looked at the details of your trip to LAX on that well known flight tracking site; was your take off scheduled for 00.03Z but eventually went at approx 01:12Z? If that's the one, that was some evil weather you went around. Interesting that despite the detour your flight time was just about the same as the planned time.

On the "E" word - Jaguar T2 taking off from an airfield in the east of England. One of the engines decides to let go in spectacular fashion; crew take the easy way out via the Martin-Baker ejection seats before the aircraft enters the up-wind barrier. Fire section are on the ball and proceeding at a high rate of velocity to the scene. Very young WRAF air traffic confuser makes following broadcast from the tower. "Crash, crash, crash - Jaguar aircraft on fire in the barrier, runway whatever threshold, grid square whaterver, two POB. Both aircrew have ejeculated on the runway." ...Allegedly!!!

This did happen - mate of mine at Cranwell is going on holiday somewhere sunny. Day before he starts leave, his girlfriend comes down so they can go down to London together. Awe, sweet!! Mate is showing girlfriend one of our Jet Provost ejection seats when I get back from wherever at about 3pm. I check the program and as nothing much is happening, tell him to s0d-0rff and have a good leave. Two weeks or so later he arrives back at work complete with suitable tan. "Have a good leave, anything interesting happen?" we ask. "Yes and yes," says he, and tells us this re his flight to the sun. They board the aircraft, BA Lockheed Tristar (British Airtours?) just as the F/O is coming up the pier steps from checking somthing with the see-off crew. Mate asks if he can visit the flightdeck once they are on the way. "No probs," says the F/O. Seat numbers and names are noted and in due course mate and girlfriend are invited forward. Captain is PF so F/O motors his seat back so there is just room for mate and girlfriend to stand side-by-side between F/E and F/O's seats. "Ooo," says girlfriend to mate, "Do your ejectulation seats do that?" Stunned silence on flightdeck.................

Happy days!


From the Flight Deck said...

Simpilot264(Ian H) Two great recounts! You have a great way with words. Ever think of starting your own blog? Or do I vaguely remember you may have already? If so, please send me your link.

Good eye with 'flight tracking.' That was probably us, AC 795 on the 29th.

I just finished the return "red eye" flight ( AC 794) this morning and we encountered moderate to moderate plus ( I won't use that "S" word) turbulence associated with a nasty jet stream.

My post will be coming out later today. There will be no sexual connotations with this one.

Again, thanks for the detailed post.

Captain Doug

Ian said...

Nothing to do with premature ejaculations of hard red cylinders...but what's your thoughts on the ending of the AC mandatory retirement at 60?

For years with us it was 55 - not an option - but now 60.

As I get older - with 18 years left - I am on the fence on early retirement but I question if I want to be doing this at 65...


From the Flight Deck said...

Ian. It will certainly put the brakes on my career, and others at Air Canada and Canada in general. But I'm wise enough to realize it will eventually come. We can't deny it any longer. I can see both sides.

After last night's flight, I too question whether I want to be doing this as well at 65.


Lakotahope said...

About rolled in the floor as I read on...Reminds me of a flight I had when I was soloing. Just got signed off for another 90 days by my instructor and he closes his side of the cockpit and waves me on my way. Well, as I pushed the throttle forward to max power (Cessna 152), I had a great rush of air blow my hate off. This was supposed to be a closed cockpit. One of the door hinges was broken and it had to be closed a certain way, which didn't happen. Did he tell me--Nooo! Strange things happen on the ground.

But, I wander in my thoughts; I have a question about high speed stalls at FL390 or thereabouts and how does an Airbus handle such a beast??? Not like I prop I bet.

Thanks Captain

From the Flight Deck said...

Lakotahope. I haven't heard from you in awhile. Interesting story about losing your hat. Like you said, lots can happen on the ground. That's why I wish Jeppesson would utilize bigger font to label taxiways on their charts. "You have a bigger chance of getting lost on the ground than in the air."

As far as stalls and the Airbus, it's a bit like the Titanic. The ship will never sink and Airbus will never stall. For a clean low seed stall, the airplane goes into "Alpha Prot" (protection) which translates into lowering the nose on you and giving you "balls to the wall" power. Not a 100 percent sure what would transpire with a high speed buffet (stall) at the top of our service ceiling (39,000 feet).

Now and again, we practice jet upset recovery in the sim, but I can't remember a scenario pertaining to a high speed stall.

Thanks for your post.

Captain Doug

Anonymous said...

hey Doug,

just curious how long your layovers in Los Angeles,and where else you get to do layovers on the a320 while at Air Canada?

From the Flight Deck said...

Anon. For most cities our layovers can be short ten (minimum crew rest) to about 16 hours hence we stay at the airport hotels. When they are longer, up to 30 hours plus, then we stay downtown or in a nicer area.

Layovers, are all predicated on seniority. Most of the senior guys prefer to do single day pairings (i.e no layovers) because they are productive.I just finished a 30 hour layover in Montreal and tomorrow I will be starting another long one in Ottawa.

Our bidding system can fine tune where you spend your layovers and for how long.

Thanks for the question.

Anonymous said...

Hey Doug,

thanks for the reply, but ive just got one more question if you don't mind. Do you get to do 30 or even 16 hour layovers in the "hot spots" like the Caribbean, Florida, or California? thanks

From the Flight Deck said...

Anon. As far as "hotspot" layovers. Yes, LAX is one of them. LAS (Las Vegas), FLL (Fort Lauderdale), MCO (Orlando), BGI (Barbados), Caracas, Venezuela, CUN (Cancun) etc are a few from the top of head. For most other Caribbean hotspots they tend to be "turns."
Because remember, the airplane is not making money if it's sitting on the ground.

Captain Doug