Credit to the photographs

I would like to thank Brian Losisto (Air Canada's photographer) for always allowing me to post his pictures. (The above thrust lever pic is his). Then there is Kelly Paterson from Calgary and plane spotter "Erik" from Germany. Of course, I have lots myself. On that note, if you feel a photo(s) may be in appropriate or the content I post a bit dubious by all means send me an email. I will ratify it! That's all I ask.

...I hope you enjoy the blog...

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Flight Deck to Ground"

Captain Doug and crew left "high and dry." Actually, this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. Notice the tow bar is not connected. I used this shot because no one is in the tug.

"Flight Deck to Ground”

Day 1…

The first leg out to Vancouver was uneventful. Hit some moderate turbulence for 30 seconds near Cranbrook (YXC) nestled in the Rockies. I jokingly told my F/O, “it’s welcome to Cranbroook turbulence.” Over the years, I’ve noticed the airspace above YXC has been known for it’s bumps. It's a combination of a jet stream, sometimes a mountain wave, etc.

The flight started off with a “get to know each other conversation” as it was our first time flying together (ninety percent of the time it’s the first time we meet). Turns out he too originated from Halifax. Because the pilot group is a tight knit group we did the “do you know such and such?” It turns out, my f/o during my Navajo days, an ex JAZZ pilot now a pilot for Nav Canada, recently hired my f/o’s wife as a dispatcher. That's how close things can be.

Normal from not so normal- the Moscow lady.

While walking back from a Sushi restaurant in the Vancouver airport, a young attractive female approached me with a question. (I know what you’re thinking) She wanted to know why no one was at the Cathay Pacific kiosk. The f/o and I tried to help and suggested she call the number displayed on the counter. She had no part of it. It appeared see had a piece of paper with a possible confirmed ticket with Cathay.

Her English was broken… smothered with a thick Russian accent. Later the f/o admitted her accent had an effect on him. I won't say how. :)

She wanted to buy a ticket to Moscow…now! Of course I’m wondering why a young provocatively dressed attractive woman wanted to go flying with no apparent baggage.. I told her she could fly to Moscow via Frankfurt with us and then to Moscow with Lufthansa. We took her to the ticket purchase counter about five minutes away and there she proceeded to buy a ticket. The F/O suggested I book off and take her myself to Moscow on a 'pass'. Then he suggested I get an an award of excellence for selling a last minute ticket to Moscow. Pilots!

Flight deck to ground?

The next leg, YVR-YYC, started with just two flight attendants – we need four on the A320. One flight attendant was drafted after having flown from London, England to Vancouver and was deadheading to Calgary. The other was on her fourth reassignment for the day in Vancouver jumping from airplane to airplane because she was bilingual. One F/A had to be moved up to the in-charge position so we had to get her a “move up” package (paperwork) and I explained a few things.

Finally the short staff situation was resolved. The ground crew checked in 20 minutes before and were ready to go.. or so I thought.

We want to close up. I call down to the tractor, “flight deck to ground…” Nothing.

“Flight deck to ground.” Nothing. We call operations, apparently the ground crew's shift ended and they went home. We wait. I make an announcement explaining things. That’s why I get paid the big bucks.

Finally, a crew arrives. The tug driver, a young perky female voice, gives a “communication check” and says, “okay captain lets get you guys out of here.” After a 45 minute delay, I liked her spunk.

Off to Calgary where the weather observations showed a downward trend. The approach onto runway 34 greeted us with a 200 foot ceiling and ¾ miles visibility in a cold drizzle. Heck we even picked up some ice on the approach and they were issuing runway condition reports – the sign of a seasonal change.

Day II (today) started with a passenger not showing up. The bags had to be sequenced (removed) in Calgary this morning. A 15 minute delay.

We arrived in Toronto close to sked after taking a seven minute delay to rearrange passengers in Vancouver.

Cell phones?

The f/o commuted from YOW (Ottawa). Being on reserve he was flown out for the month. While taxiing to the gate he told me a cute anecdote. While commuting a couple of weeks ago during push back in a B767 from the gate in Ottawa the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) fell off line. Darkness! The 767 f/o came on the P.A with a curt voice, “someone didn’t turn off their cell phone!!!!” Everyone starts feeling for their phones. After a brief pause, he said, “just kidding folks, the APU went off line and we are going to restart it.”

Bravo for a quick thinking pilot. :)


benjaminrowley78 said...

The picture of the lights on runway 34 in yyc remind me of a UFO. I think it would be cool if u publish a book with all the cool picture u take in your travels!!!

From the Flight Deck said...

Benjamin. I wish I took pictures years ago! I guess it's never too late. I remember some old captain once told me, "take lots of pictures." He always regretted not taking pictures of his own.

Another great idea for a book...


Giulia said...

Captain Doug,

I agree with the others, keep taking pictures!

Seems you are going to busy for the next while...besides flying, you will have to write that weather book, go on speaking engagements, publish a photo book, teach weather, and make a video series. Oh, and visit my class. :)

Giulia said...

By the way, I laughed at that cell phone story your F/O told you. :) :) :) :)

Very good!

Daniel said...

First picture is awesome ! I like the cell phone story a lot. Would have been funny to see :D

( Vids from the sim soon to come , running into some software issues =/ )


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Giulia. Yes, my f/o told me the cellphone story while taxing to the gate. I asked him about commuting. Another little situation we heard on the radios while takes about 10 minutes from
landing on runway 23 to the gate...."bird man" was getting permission to taxi to a specific gate. The ground controller queried what was going on. "Bird man" said a raccoon decided to visit a jetway (bridge). I've heard of lots of 'foxes' boarding an airplane but it's the first time for a raccoon. lol

Reminds me of when we were landing in Montreal about 20 years ago. A fox (another type) was running along the runway. The "Tower" controller
wanted to give us a "heads up" but during his transmission he tried his best but could not remember what a "fox" was in English. Pilot Doug knew what to look for when explained it was a "renard."

True story

This blog sure brings out stuff I have long forgotten.

Thanks for that.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Giulia. Yes, I'm still planning on visiting your class. Our bidding just closed this morning so I must wait about two days to find out what i'm doing in October. It sure is difficult to plan things down the road. So count me in...that is..if the BOSS lets me fly to YOW on a day off. And I'm not talking about the chief pilot. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. The F/O I just flew with showed me some pictures of an Airbus simulator some guy built in his house in Halifax. It was impressive! They even had a joystick. Some of the stuff looked like genuine Airbus parts. WOW!

Maybe Air Canada can rent out this guy's sim? lol

Daniel said...

:P I think the Full Motion one works better ! :D

They need to repaint the sides of it in my opinion. I never really liked the older colors.

Giulia said...

Of course, Doug. Nothing gets the a-okay until the Big Boss says it's a go. I should know...I'm a Big Boss too. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Giulia. As soon as we men admit that, the world will be a better place to live. The glitch is, we men have short memories. :)

Thanks for your comment....Big Boss. :)

Andrew said...

Hey Doug,

That picture sure turned out well! I think your getting the hang of it. :D

Anonymous said...

Great pictures again! My favourite is the night shot - really nice!

I too am pro-picture book!


PS: Thanks again for all your help! :)

WILLO2D said...

A nice image of Toronto by moonlight, Doug.

On "Flight Sims" there are companies in Europe that produce almost exact replicas of both Airbus and Boeing instrument panel components for the enthusiast! Check here: link

I know of one Swiss company that will build a A320/B737NG sim with choice of visuals and motion platform - not much change from 100K USD

Chris Gardner said...

You miss all the excitement here at yyt yesterday. we just gone through the misery of Igor with the high winds and heavy rains St John's went through alot. At the airport their was a flight from LHR sitting on the tarmac for 3hrs because of the high winds however they did eventually got off when it was safer. myself I did lose the power yesterday and It came back on around some time in the morning. The cat didn,t mind been cold she did find a good heat source last night, me. Take care chris

From the Flight Deck said...

Chris. I see IGOR was not happy, but then again what hurricane is? :)

I looked at CYYT's METARS and I see the winds were up to 74 knots. Yikes!

I'm glad Captain Doug had the day off. I also noticed NAV CANADA's website no longer has the
link to the American website, ADDS. Plus they had some "legaleze" saying they are not responsible
for such links. Wonder what happened there?

CYYT 211827Z 33045G74KT 4SM -RA BR OVC015 09/ RMK SC8

From the Flight Deck said...

WILL02D I checked out your link. Wow! I did not realize one could buy this stuff. Funny, "home security"
goes through some major background searching for those training in the States. I guess they better start looking in everyone's basement, living room, garage, etc. :)


Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Heather. Glad you liked the "night shot." Today the moon is full, and yes, passengers behave differently.

I hope everything works out with your endeavors!

Thanks for the comments.

Captain D

Daniel Asuncion said...

Regarding Moscow Girl. During such
moments be extra alert...could be a
distraction. Don't laugh. It
worked, didn't it?

I'm reminded of a line in film,
From Russia With Love:

"Give the wolf a taste; keep him

From the Flight Deck said...

Dan. A distraction it was! As far as falling for it, well that's another story! :)