Friday, September 24, 2010

Questions Du Jour ( Daily Questions)

A B767 reaching for the sky. (My next airplane, but not for awhile) Photo compliments of Erik

Before I leave for a three day adventure, I thought I would post questions I have received. That way I can attach a link to the left hand column where the daily question is posted.

Off to Vancouver tomorrow and then a long pit stop in Ottawa. It will be my only long layover for over a month. Just received October's schedule and every layover is minimum crew rest. Sure it may translate into an extra day off, but it sure kills any socializing. Oh well, YOW here I come!

Questions du Jour

Someone has asked me a question about alternates and if they are mandatory. Does Air Canada have a exemption so they don't need an alternate?

Air Canada can file without an alternate. Although many stipulations must be met:

Here are some:

Must be within North America, Mexico, Caribbean or Bermuda

The block time must be six hours or less

The destination weather an hour either side of the ETA can not have forecasted fog, freezing rain, freezing drizzle or thunderstorms.

The weather basically has to be forecasted to have a ceiling of 1500 feet and 6 miles visibility (2000 and 3 for the States)

Must have two separate runways i.e two separate pieces of real estate. No reciprocal ends.

Must have two suitable and independent IFR approaches.

Emergency stand by power

Remember how I joked a pilot has to be a part time lawyer. Now you know why. :)

Is air friction, caused by an airplane cutting through the air, enough to cause significant heating to the plane’s outside surfaces?

Air friction most certainly does play into heating the aircraft. We have a temperature read out called TAT (Total Air Temperature).

We also have a SAT (Static Air Temperature) (ambient temperature) read out. The SAT could be -10C whereas the TAT could be +10. So if we were flying in cloud there would be no airframe ice forming.

Here's another take on it:

SAT is Static air temperature and is the true temperature of the air around an aircraft. TAT is Total Air Temperature and this is what is measured by the aircraft sensor.

When air hits a temperature sensor it effectively stops and the kinetic energy in the air is turned into heat therefore at rest TAT and SAT are the same but at speed TAT is always greater than SAT.
This relationship is a function of Mach number and the characteristics of the probe being used, therefore you can calculate SAT if you know the speed of the aircraft and the probe factor (sometimes known as the recovery factor).

I know that there have been advancements in parachute systems for airplanes in the past few years. Do you know if there is research going into integrating these parachutes into the larger airplanes? If not, why?

I practiced some steep turns today with my instructor for the first time. I found that I came out a bit shaky from the experience. A bit timid. It won't stop me from flying, but I just wanted to know if it's normal to be a bit (I won't use the word scared) hesitant from these kinds of exercises at the beginning? I know it's been a long time since you've had to practice them, but any advice would be appreciated.

I haven't heard about parachutes and airliners. Airliners want to lesson the weight, not increase it. :)

I think airliners are more concerned with antimissile devices. I know El Al is.

Yes, you will feel shaky. I didn't really like stall and spins. But you preserver.

And yes it's perfectly normal. They have to teach you what it's like on the outer limit of the flight envelope.

For many, this can be very intimidating.

Once you get this stuff over with and begin your cross countries and such, the joy will increase exponentially.

Keep it going and you'll love yourself for doing it. Mark my words!!!

Captain Doug

I know flaps are lowered as a way to increase the lift of an airplane, but I was wondering why the flats are not retracted until after a touch-down roll-out is complete. It makes sense to prevent the build-up of lift if you are landing an airplane; after all, that’s the reason spoilers are deployed when an aircraft touches down. But, if reducing lift helps in bringing an airplane to a complete stop, what’s the purpose of having the flaps remain deployed throughout the landing roll-out?

Flaps improve lift because they change the airflow over the wing- the coefficient of lift increases.

But they also increase drag. There is a trade off. However, when the aircraft lands, lift is destroyed by the deployment of ground spoilers, slowing airspeed, with the flaps now producing more drag than lift. . We never take of with full flap but we certainly take off with some flap.


First off, I'm a fan! I've been following your blog for a couple months now and I think you have an amazing talent for writing. Your posts are always captivating and I learn something new almost every time!

My favourite is when you talk about weather patterns and when you give us an inside look on the inner workings of Air Canada operations

Your posts are all so interesting that I decided to get your book earlier this summer. I went to two different Chapters and a Renault Bray stores here in Montreal but no luck( sold out?). I ended up ordering it on Amazon. Your book was, as expected, very well written and very informative. You managed to make it interesting for aviators and non-aviators alike. I am a pilot too,so reading your book and your blog, I can often relate to stories about sacrifice early in your career, the anguish of getting laid off, having to make career decisions in uncertain times etc etc ...

I also must mention how respectful of a person you seem to be. Your post about "things they don't teach you in flight school" last week was a good reflection of that. I dont remember ever reading something negative about any of your coworkers on your blog. You must be an absolute pleasure to fly with.

I was an FO on a Dash 8 for Air Labrador before they ceased operating last year. We might have flown the same planes? (FXON GLON GAAN are ex AirNova or Air Ontario I think). Before that I was first officer on TwinOtter based in Goose Bay. Good times ... My goal is to get hired with AC! I still have a few hours a build before being eligible thought I think, I'm only up to 2800hours. But if the timing is right in a year or two I really hope to get on!

Meanwhile I'll be reading your posts ;)

Keep up the good work !

Dear Doug Morris, Its been my dream to become an airline pilot for many years now. I've never been tested, but believe that I might be slightly color blind. Can I still become an airline pilot?

Hello.... If you live in Canada, I suggest getting an MOT medical. Your local flying club has a list of qualified doctors. (Same goes for most countries) Also there are "lantern" tests. My friend thought his aviation career was grounded because of colour blindness, but now he is Captain flying for United Emirates.

But remember about 10 percent of males are colour blind.

Here's one link about the lantern test. I also see there on are online tests but I strongly recommend going to get official confirmation of the severity of your colour blindness. Don't give up that easy!

Hi, long time blog reader here…

Here’s the audio of the QANTAS/Control Tower conversation…

They say it’s not an emergency, then call PAN PAN PAN.

I always thought pan pan pan was an emergency… did they just change their mind?

Oh and what happens if you fly through a fuel dump? Bang?!

Most pilots are kind of reluctant to declare an emergency because of the media hype. Yes, it's in the back of the captain's mind.

But with fire coming out of the engine, followed by a engine shut down, how could they not? That's why they changed their mind.

Incidentally, we are taught to say Pan-Pan, Pan-Pan, Pan-Pan.

A "Pan" is an emergency, but it's a gray area which one to declare. A Mayday is when you are in a dire situation. They obviously had time on their side.

One only needs about five thousand feet to ensure total vaporization of fuel so it's not as bad as one would think.


I have never really got a answer from others about the airbus flaring but when are you suppose to flare in the A320 series? In flight sim, I have tended to flare at 20 feet where the GPWS yells to retard the throttles, that tends not to work because then I am loosing airspeed while at like 10 feet and literally smashing into the ground. This may because I am not doing something right, which I assume or I am not flaring at the proper altitude. I am currently flying ACA1160 YYZ - YHZ and just departed so passing like 8,000. I am going to try flaring at like 10 feet while landing this time.

On the "small bus" fleet we get a "fifty" call, then a "thirty" which we then set the thrust levers to flight idle. Simultaneously, you get the "retard" call.

Some guys take a while to bring it back to idle so we get two or three "retards." Annoying. (They say if you get the "retard" call you didn't set idle fast enough)

As far as the actual flare, you are looking outside, and you begin to check the descent. I still check it a little too soon (old 340 style) so I land a little flatter.

Many of my F/Os let it descend very close to the the runway and check it all in one motion. I'm too chicken to do that.

To answer your question, it's a matter of preference.

Good luck with the flare!

I love this question. At least he is honest. :)

I am wondering what advice – if any—you can give to us men who want to “land” a Flight Attendant. I don’t know about you, but I think that women who are decked out in their flight uniform are downright gorgeous, and it would be violation against masculinity to not find the ladies beautiful! But, I am somewhat apprehensive of approaching these ladies. So, Captain Doug, what words can you give to men who aspire to approach – and then land-- a flight attendant?

With many thanks for your words of wisdom!

Why not become a flight attendant yourself? That way you will be around them all the time. You can also become a pilot. But sometimes that works against us. :) Good luck with your pursuit.

SEPTEMBER 13............FOLLOW UP*******

Hahah, Captain Doug!

I don’t know how a man can both be a pilot and a faithful husband!!

A few years ago, I flew on an Asian airlines on my way to India. The flight attendants wore their hair in a bun and ran a pair of chop-sticks through it. Decked out in their flight regalia, these ladies were absolutely stunning. And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t have “yellow fever”. I envied the pilots, and I wish I had the courage back then to ask the ladies out!

Thank you for your awesome blog and email responses.


This is what I wrote in my pseudo log book:

Flight 877 FRA-YYZ FIN 936

Over the mid-Atlantic heard horrific news about terrorists crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on frequency 123.45. Nothing but chatter. American airspace closed. Suggested to lock cockpit door. This will be a day to remember.

Toronto/Montreal/Ottawa now closed diverting to YQB (Quebec city). Now landing in CYUL (Montreal).

Air Canada shut down for the rest of the day.

***A Day in History***

***A Day of Infamy***

Flight time 8:26


Hello Capt. Morris,

A few classmates and I have recently been introduced to the new concept of entrainment in our Meteorology class. Our textbook definition is the"mixing of cooler air within the cloud. As it grows the cooler air causes some of the water droplets to evaporate. This can eventually cause the cloud to stop growing."

We are a little confused as to how the cold air can make the warmer water evaporate. Altogether stopping the clouds growth. We were given the analogy that if you were to steam up you're washroom, and then open the window to let cooler air in, the steam would "disappear". We understand this analogy by having experienced it on a regular basis. We still can't say however, we really understand the mechanics of the process.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Keep blogging!

Just looking at my Meteorology Today text. They talk about a rising convective cloud and the mixing which transpires around it's periphery (surroundings).

The rising, churning cloud mixes cooler air into it. This mixing is called entrainment. If the air is very dry the cloud droplets quickly evaporate.

In this scenario, entrainment increases the cooling process by injecting cooler into the cloud, and subsequent evaporation.

Another scenario is the formation of a downdraft in a Cb. As the cloud particles grow larger they get heavier and begin to fall. This falling air

pulls drier air in from outside the cloud. The entrainment of drier air causes some of the raindrops to evaporate - chilling the air. (Remember the

process of evaporation involves heat. That's why when you get out of a shower or pool you feel cold because the evaporating water is at the expense of

your body heat. It's why we sweat). The air, now being colder and heavier, begins to descend as a downdraft.

Complicated stuff.

I had two questions for you. We flew down on an AC A320 and came back with the competitor on a 737-700. On the flight down to Montreal, I have always noticed these yellow hooks or anchors on top of the wing. I wondered if you know what they are and what they are designed to do? I think I saw something similar on Westjet's 737-700 wing. Also do you know why the canoe fairings on the A320 family have what looks like green decals running along their perimeters as well as on the winglets? It always interested me. At one point I think they were red.


As far as the anchor one, I queried the same thing for years. I always thought it was some sort of mechanism for hoisting the aircraft while in the hangar. I actually learned what it was this summer in Annual Recurrent Training. They are used to secure a line when evacuating. It's something for the passengers to hold on to.

Those green (red) decals are reflective tape so the rampies or fuelers won't hit the airplane. I guess you didn't read my August blog...Spider's Senses Tingling. :) :) :) :)

I have been wondering, while I fly the Boeing if the Airbus has VNAV also. Is it more like FLCH or is it actually FPA?

The Airbus most certainly has a VNAV. It kicks Boeing's butt in the vertical Nav department. Even though the Airbus is nearly 25 years old it still is superior to Boeing in VNAV. This is according to pilots who have transitioned from the Airbus to the Boeing. FPA (Flight Path Angle) is only part of the vertical NAV capability.

I am a high school student from British Columbia. I am currently in grade .. and I am weighing my options for post-secondary education. As a kid I wanted nothing more than to be a pilot. I'm not sure why, but over time that interest kind of faded. Over the last few months that interest has been sparked again. I would just like to thank you for your great blogs. I really enjoy reading them and learning more about aviation in an easy and informative manor. You have really inspired me to look at a career in aviation again.

Thanks for your kind words. It's feedback like yours that keeps me blogging!You have chosen to go down a very challenging road, but yet a very rewarding one!Keep in touch and if I can help with the road you are about to embark on, I'll be around to guide.

Out of all the planes you have flown, which is your favourite?

My job, before 9/11, tended to be much more fun. But I still consider it to be a very dynamic job. There are few jobs that can beat it.

My favorite airplane has to the Airbus 330. It had lots of power and could get to altitude very quickly. It was the “sports car” of the wide bodies.

Recently stumbled upon me this guy seems very pessimistic, as most of the people on that forum are. I know the Airline Industry is in the gutter in the states, is it that bad in Canada? What are your views on websites like Airlinepilotforum? These guys seems to be complaining about the money they make, but most of them must be making 100k+. That seems like a lot of money, seeing as my dad makes about that, and we are comfortable in my eyes.

Just took a look at the site. Sadly, the author hits the nail on the head. He brings out a lot of hard cold facts.
But pilots don't get into this profession for the least not right away. They get into this profession because they've been bitten by an aviation bug. This disease causes you to: overlook the starting poverty wages, sometimes deplorable conditions, overlook some safety, be okay with severe debt, having no fixed address,
always looking upward to something better.

What the author is saying...don't get into this profession with your eyes closed. Having said that, those words of wisdom applies to most endeavours in life.


Daniel said...

Its nice seeing all the questions that people ask. You get to learn about more things. :)

Enjoy the flights !

Scote1992 said...

Isn't that picture a 767? Nice post though! I love all the pictures you've been taking.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Daniel. A wise observation! I figure share the wealth.
For some reason, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's flights. I hope my F/O doesn't commute from YOW, if so, Captain Doug will be high an dry.

No matter.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Scote1992. Good eye!!! I just copied the photo from my file. Erik, who is a tail spotter from Germany even labelled it as an A321.
He sent me the photo when he visited CYYZ a few months ago.
What I meant to say, this is my next airplane. :) :) :)

But I'll correct things.

Again, no flies on you!

Captain Doug

Aviatrix said...

Regarding flap retraction after touchdown: in a maximum performance short field landing in the types I have flown, it is recommended to retract flaps after touchdown because that maximizes the amount of weight on the wheels (as opposed to being supported by the wings), thereby increasing friction of wheels on runway and decreasing stopping distance. Unless I'm landing on a super-short runway, the checklist does not call for flap retraction on rollout because the checklist doesn't call for me to do anything on rollout, except control the airplane. Safer that way.

Plus shame on anyone who didn't know what the yellow brackets are on the wing. Their purpose is explained on the safety briefing card that you are instructed to read before every flight.

From the Flight Deck said...

Aviatrix. I too learned that technique for short field landings. I guess there is a trade off of getting the weight on the wheels or slowing down the aircraft
aerodynamically. But like you said there's a lot going on during landing and keeping it on the runway is number one. :)

I must check our safety briefing card when I go flying this morning. Actually, I'm heading your way this morning. But I point the airplane back to Ottawa in an hour or so.

Again, nice to have a "heavy hitter" blogger visit.

P.S I'm haggling things out about teaching weather at AC. At this time. no one seems to know who the hiring committee is.

Gone flying.


Jason said...

Hey Doug,

I just got a job on a Navajo, was wondering if you had any tips about it?

From the Flight Deck said...

Jason. What a great start! Who are you flying for? I have 1200 hours on one of those things. Great little airplane. You're gonna get good in starting those finicky piston engines. Will yours be turbocharged?

As you know, it's your ticket in the door!

Maybe you could send some comments along the way about your journey?

But to answer your question, my only words of wisdom...set your limits. If you are uncomfortable about the weather or anything else...
pull the plug. Fly safe. I know, I know...easier said than done!

Captain Doug