Monday, June 28, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action! ..................... Captain Doug's "pilot"

Click here to view the "pilot"

Television reality shows exist about making cakes, building motorcycles, crazy stunts, police chases, etc. so why wouldn't a series of aviation documentaries take off? (pun intended)

Over a year ago, Caissie Images approached me about making a series of aviation documentaries. For this "pilot" we spent several hours in the simulator and also in an Air Canada hangar getting shots on changing a tire. Besides the producer Dan Caissie, there were two cameramen, a writer, an assistant and of course me and an Air Canada first officer, Randon Mark who not only played my F/O but ran the simulator. Heck we even had a director from CBC's Dragon's Den sign up initially. Now there's an idea, pitch my idea in front of the Dragons.

The producer and I met with Air Canada management and enRoute magazine reps this winter in Montreal. I'm certain the travelling public would appreciate watching a series of aviation documentaries while being whisked to their destination. Air Canada thought so as well. One glitch, who is going to pay for production? And that unfortunately is where we are at, stuck in a rut with no funds.

Dan Caissie graciously allowed me to post this pilot. The documentaries do not have to be confined to inflight entertainment. They could easily stand alone as a television documentary. Maybe someone out there can offer suggestions or point us in the right direction? And I'll beat people to it...acting lessons and some more hair....could help. :)

I did not partake in the video editing. There are places needing polishing. (Especially my "tickety boo comments) :)

Below is just a short list of aviation documentary ideas I concocted.

When you think about it, the list can be much longer as far as topics.

Documentary Ideas

Visit to the CDF (Central Deice Facility) YYZ: It’s the worlds largest utilizing 30 deice trucks each costing one million dollars. What exactly do they spray airplanes with and why?

Visit to Air Canada’s flight planning area: The lights are on 24-7 pumping out 650 to 700 flight plans daily. Air Canada’s entire operation is dependant on this YYZ off airport premises. There are 16 desks manned by certified flight dispatchers. They not only plan the routing, check the weather and notices to airman, but also follow the flight. It’s the law!

Airplane tires: Why are they filled with nitrogen? Who makes them and what do they cost? How long does it take to change an airplane tire? What else is found on the landing gear? (brakes, anti-skid). How does the pilot steer the airplane. How much pressure is required to lift the weight of a jumbo jet’s landing gear?

Thunderstorms: Pilots avoid them like the plaque. What sort of nastiness is associated with them? There are thousands of them each day booming around the world. How high to they get, why do they form and what does a “red alert” at the airport mean?

Exploring the inside an airplane: What does an avionics bay look like? How about the cargo hold? What’s it like inside the tail of a jumbo jet? How high do I have to go to change a light bulb on the tail of a Boeing 777, Air Canada’s largest airplane?

Fuel: How much does a jumbo need for a flight to HKG? Where is it stored? How many times can I send my Honda Civic around the equator with the fuel needed for a long haul flight?

The walk around: Where are the outflow valves for pressurization? What do those antennas do? How often are they done and what is the pilot looking for? Where are the toilets serviced? What about potable water?

How do pilots find the airport in fog? How does the ILS (Instrument Landing System) work? How low can a pilot go? Where do we practice these low visibility approaches? Can all pilots land in zero visibility?

Sinning in the Simulator: Just what exactly goes on in there? What can they replicate and what can’t they do? How much do they cost? Let’s go for a ride.

How do I become a pilot? The ins and outs of each approach (flight schools, colleges, and military). How much do I make and how long will it take to be commander of a jumbo jet? What’s the outlook? How much will it cost? When do I start?

How many departments does it take to get an airliner airborne? (About 65). Lightly touch on some of the behind the scene teams.

Moving the heavy metal: Toronto Pearson’s control tower is the busiest in Canada. See how these controllers move airplanes equating to billions of dollars an hour.

What time is it? Pilots, weathermen, air traffic controllers converse in UTC time. Once known as Greenwich Mean Time, why is it called “zulu” time and why does UTC stand for Universal Coordinated Time?

Runways: How long and wide are they? What are they made of? What do the blue, white, green and red lights mean? What’s with all the markings?

Paint by numbers: How does one paint an airplane? How much does paint weigh? How often are they painted?

Space Weather. Flying over the top (North Pole) is an everyday occurrence. What are some of the space weather parameters a pilot looks at (cosmic radiation, radio reception, and geomagnetic activity). Does it get too cold to fly over the top? What happens if an airplane has to land in Siberia?

Why the Bumps: Explanation of the six different types of turbulence. What pilots look for on weather charts?

Under pressure. How is an aircraft pressurized? Is the cargo hold pressurized and just how dry is the air?

An overview of some of the aircraft systems. Electrical, hydraulic, pressurization, water, lavatory, navigation

Highways in the sky: What air traffic controllers see on their screens? How tough is it? Who trains them? Is it really that stressful?

What’s found at an airport? Fire department, snowplough operator, navigation department, weather office, customs, medical, chapel, restaurants, heating plant, washrooms, customer service, security, info screens, baggage claim, taxis


Tim said...

I think all of it would be fantastic for the nervous flier as well as those interested in aviation. Good luck with getting the funding and making an excellent series that all can enjoy!


From the Flight Deck said...

Tim. Great point about it possibly catering to the nervous flyer. Doug

Daniel said...

This is awesome.We need more aviation shows. Not the constant repeating "maydays". :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. You pegged it. It's probably one reason why the fear of flying has risen from 20-30 percent to nearly 45 percent...shows like Mayday.
In fact, I have had the odd passenger tell me they are apprehensive because of all the Mayday shows they watched. Geez, it even bothers me. :)

Daniel said...

I guess after you watch it and then you realize, well this could happen to me.

Mark said...

Doug, I will pipe ideas your way as they come to me. You did cover off "How to become a pilot" which I think would be a huge hit. Just think of all those people out there who have always had the dream!

Mark said...

I liked the "Pilot" so much, I didn't want it to end!

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Mark. As far as ides, I guess that's secondary until we get things off the ground.

Thanks for the kinds words.

Gone flying this morning. I'm off to where their slogan is, "It's better in the Bahamas." After the turn, I head to Halifax for the night.

carlton said...

now you have 'wetted our appetite' there HAS to be a series produced!!

Great pilot, enjoyed watching it.

By the way I will be flying Air Canada from LHR to YYZ on 20th July (to spend a week in Toronto with my inlaws :s) - and I will be sure to thank the flight deck upon arrival.

Cheers, Carlton.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Carlton. Thanks for the great feedback. Glad to hear you are flying Air Canada.

Captain Doug spending Canada Day in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I'll be flying west to Edmonton via Montreal later today.

carlton said...

sorry I forgot to say - happy canada day!

Anonymous said...

You could also add engines to the "aircraft systems" segment, from the 737-200 series thrust reversers to the 777s turbo fans.

Love the Blog !


From the Flight Deck said...

Thanks [email protected] Enjoy the flying in Springbank, Alberta. I will be landing in YEG (Edmonton) late tonight via Montreal.

Thanks for the comments.

And Happy Canada Day!

Nadia said...

I like the video but when it,s interesting it's always too short.

You should show us your beautiful smile, don't be shy :)

Good job CAPTAIN!!!

p.s your F/O is cute but don't be sad your cute too :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Bonjour encore Nadia. The video is short because it was intended to show what could be done.

Thanks about my smile. I will remember that if I ever get another chance to show it off in front of the camera.

Yes, my F/O was a young good looking guy and that reminds me, I never did send him a link to this video.

Nadia. Thanks for your kind words.