Captain Doug Morris answers your questions about aviation.
Sunday, March 14th 2010
Q: Does an airplane handle differently when it’s empty? Daniel Asuncion, Halifax
Usually, pilots only fly an empty aircraft to reposition it for another flight, to send it off for a fresh coat of paint or to pick up a new addition to the fleet. And, yes, an empty airplane handles differently. A light airplane taxis quicker, gets airborne sooner and climbs faster. It’s also more susceptible to surface winds, so getting a smooth landing takes a little more finesse as flight controls are more sensitive.
As I live in South Etobicoke, and commute along the 427/401 I often see aircraft approach Pearson from different directions, how does the pilot or ATC determine the runway for landings and take off?
In a nut shell, wind direction dictates the runway in use. Pilots want to land into the wind. We can land with a tailwind (usually 10 knots for airliners, 20 knots for the Dash 8) but it usually means a longer landing. We frequently land with crosswinds and at Toronto Pearson when the crosswind gets to about 20 knots, air traffic control will switch runways. The prevailing winds are from the west-southwest here in Toronto so that means three runways will be open. Runway 23, 24 right (mostly for take offs) and 24 left (mostly for landing). Usually aircraft inbound from the north will be given runway 23 and aircraft from the south will be given 24 left or 24 right. The ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information System) states the runway in use, but it can vary for landing sometimes making it a bit of a challenge second guessing.
2. Just wondering, what does the QK stand for on my baggage tags when I have a connecting flight? I'm guessing quick?
Sorry for the late reply. "QK" is the identifier for "Air Canada Jazz." You must have taken a flight using our connector.
Can anyone out there help?
to get to. Many pilots will give themselves a little extra time whereas some guys will show up as per the contract.
6. Hi, as an aspiring young pilot, I was wondering which routes, of the many, to the majors are the best. For example, going through the civilian route, getting ratings through a university, or going the military route. Maybe you could help me weigh the pros and cons that my still young brain neglected to appreciate. Thanks ahead of time!
Here's a link to my enRoute blog site for your question plus I have pasted it below.
If you live in Canada there are some great flying clubs and colleges I could recommend.
Maybe you could email me your particulars?
Until then, chase your dreams!
Captain Doug Morris
Q: What advice would you give to a young person who would like to become a pilot?
I mentor many future pilots, and my advice has not waivered. Go for it! True, we are going through some trying times, but the industry is still forecasting growth over the next 20 years. The path is through flying clubs, flight colleges (as well some universities) and Canada’s Armed Forces. James Ball’s book, So, You Want to Be a Pilot, Eh?, is a great read for those pining for the skies.