Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wings Clipped

Having a bad day.

Speaking of butterflies, during the time of my posts on bird encounters I noticed a huge butterfly by my window as we were cleared for take off on 24R out of Toronto. This guy had a wingspan of about five inches. I didn't have time to grab the camera because we had our take off clearance with take off thrust being applied. I hope I didn't ingest it.

Blogs (Wings clipped)

Captain Ian's blog fell to the wayside a few months ago and many assume it fell because of, "she who must be obeyed." But something tells me it's much deeper than that, but we are all hoping his blog will resurrect this fall. Captain Ian, if you are reading this, there a heck of a lot of people asking about you.

A few months ago I promoted a great ATC blog from a controller out west. Unfortunately, ATC Happenings, had his wings clipped from the higher ups. Another shame.

Other people's wings clipped or so we thought.

I have flown with many First officers who were given a PFO (if you don't know what a PFO stands for..basically it's nasty). But six months later Air Canada sent them a letter asking whether they could show for up ground school in two weeks. Of course everyone did.

A good friend of mine (my tree planting foreman) found out colour blindness may clip his wings before he got started in the aviation world. "Spud" persevered and did the "lantern tests." He is now skipper for United Emirates in Dubai.

Now my story.

Yesterday, marked 25 years my best friend passed away. In 1982, another recession ruled the land. (Pilots if you hear a recession is coming, run for the hills. Aviation tends to be the first to feel the impact and one of the last to recover).

Aviation came to a standstill. I decided to give the military a try. I jumped through their hoops and went to Aircrew selection in Downsview, Ontario.
Months later I received a wings clipped. Either I was too dumb (or maybe too smart) or maybe bad timing. My best friend took me aside and suggested I should pursue something else. Even though it was NOT what I wanted to hear, I knew deep down she was right.

I chose meteorology at McGIll after having a physics degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I then went on to become a certified meteorologist in 1985. My best friend took sick so my first posting ended up in Halifax.

During her illness she envisioned me in a dream wearing a dark blue uniform. She never did see me pursue my second career, but she knew all along!

Things work out for a reason. I still have bragging rights that I am the only certified meteorologist/airline pilot in Canada. (Maybe someone out there can prove me wrong). Because of it, I got to write for enRoute. From there, my book. Now my blog.

Funny one high school chum went the military route. He is now over 1100 numbers junior than me at Air Canada and is my first officer.

What I am trying to say to you "want to be pilots," don't give up even when you think your wings have been clipped!

My best friend! She had her wings clipped at age 54.


Giulia said...

That was a beautiful tribute to your mother.

She never lost her wings, Captain Doug.

From the Flight Deck said...

Thanks Giulia. No,something tells me she didn't.

P.S Nice avatar, what a coincidence!

shahrukh said...

Nice inspirational story. Thanks. At a point in my life where such stories do make one (me) realize that there is hope. All the best.

From the Flight Deck said...

Shahrukh. Thanks for your feedback. Sounds like you have had some "knocks" along the way.

I guess it's part of human nature not to give up, or at least give it one's best shot!

Gone flying.

Captain Doug

Anonymous said...

Captain Doug,

Beautiful tribute, I hope you had a safe turn to MIA and back (and avoided any nasty summer thunderstorms).

YYC Dispatcher

Danny said...


" a dream wearing a dark blue
uniform." My God...pondering that
for a moment almost takes the
breath away.

You have written that your first
"jump seat ride" came about as a
result of you being bumped from
your purchased seat.

Divine Intervention perhaps...

dogbait said...

Very nice post. There's a lad across the road who has the aviation career bug so I must put him on to your blog.

Chris Gardner said...

what does PFO stand for? One more thing nice tribute to your mother.

From the Flight Deck said...

YYC dispatcher. Thanks for the feedback. We encountered thunderstorms enroute from Miami (easily dodged) but we had to hold
at intersection Linng for ten minutes. Again, YYZ ATC did a great job letting us do our own headings now and again to avoid the build ups. On approach we had moderate rain but not a drop touched the airport. Too bad, I like wet runways. But not that wet
where hydroplaning is an issue. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Danny. I'm thinking Karma. No wonder I liked India so much. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Dogbait. Send him my way. The more inquisitive people the better! :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Chris. Yes, I spoke from the heart. As far as PFO....ahem...I sort of alluded to the fact it's
not a nice thing. It's a denial saying "please f... off."

k1mgy said...

Ian.. Where are ya?!

Sure do miss him. Hope he's doing OK.

From the Flight Deck said...

K1mgy. Yes, I miss Captain Ian's insightful quips.

I guess we continue in the hold.

Gone flying

Captain Doug

Nadia said...

Hi Doug,

Wonderful tribute captain.

After few weeks in camping without Internet, I'm happy to see your blog.

Please keep yours open !!!

If someone from British Airways read this blog and know Ian maybe he can give us some news ?!


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Nadia.

Sometimes I think it is good to get away from the internet and I bet camping is a great way to do that.

Having said that, I'm glad you are back!

Yes, let's hope someone out there knows the situation with Captain Ian.

I'm just in from the Bahamas.

Tomorrow my family and I will be heading to South Carolina for a small vacation. But something tells me I will be close to the internet. :)

Captain Doug

Danny Asuncion said...

Just looked at that photo again.

I'm reminded of how Mrs. Morris
used to take the time to talk to
the neighborhood kids - right
there in front of that garage.

Kind of reminds me of how you
take the time to talk to us
bloggers. Whenever someone
leaves a comment, you make an
effort to respond. From what
I've seen, not everyone with a
blog does that...

From the Flight Deck said...

Dan.You have a great memory! Yes, she treated everyone with fairness.

I do try to respond to everyone. Right now, it's not an issue but if the blog ever takes off, then I'll have to
rethink things.

Just readying for a trip to South Carolina with the family.

Thanks for the keen observations, Dan.

Christopher said...

Have you got the "Riot Act" ready to read to your daughter? :-)

Christopher said...

Did you have to read the "Riot Act" to your daughter? :-)

From the Flight Deck said...

Christopher. All is good. We will be driving back to Hilton Head today for her to finish up her term. She must stay until September to receive her huge bonus (Not). It's just like how they entice contract hanging a carrot in front of them so they won't leave. :)

Jason said...

Very inspiring story for all of us want to be airline pilots, especially in times like these when 500hrs is the minimum req. to get a ramp job in some cases. Hopefully mot of us can persevere as you did.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Jason. You said the magic word for any career...."perseverance." If you lack it, you can forget it. Most pilots have it, therefore
things work out.