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...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Pilot Want Ads

Air Canada's first...the LockHeed 10A Electra
Actually Air Canada started as TCA (Trans Canada Airlines) in 1937

TCA's SuperConnie 1959

Boeing 777 You may have a chance of starting on this bird as a cruise pilot but realistically you will be cruising on the B767 or right seat in the Embraer.

Here's the want ad:

They say the minimum time is an incredibly low 1000 hours. Last time the site said 2500 hours. The real world will see new hires with a minimum of 2500 to 3500 with many having over 5000 hours. I had 8000!

You will see my mugshot as a first officer on the A340. I wrote "A Day in the life."
I must get them to change the picture for two reasons. First, I never liked that picture.
The AC photographer took it when I arrived back from Paris. "My lights were on, but no one was home." :) Second, it was me as an F/O but they credit me as a captain on the A320. The big question is who do I contact?



Whether a Captain, a First Officer or Relief Pilot, an Air Canada pilot's number one priority is to conduct each flight safely with due consideration to passenger comfort and on-time performance.

While the typical work month consists of approximately 80 hours of flying, pilots spend many additional hours on such ground duties as preparing flight plans, readying the aircraft for departure, and completing post-flight reports. A day's work may vary from a long-range international flight to a sequence of shorter domestic flights. Reserve duty, in which the pilot is "on call", may also be assigned.

Air Canada pilots operate out of one of the four crew bases: Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg or Vancouver. Base preferences are awarded in seniority so pilots must be willing to relocate as assigned. Pilots typically begin their career as a First Officer on domestic aircraft or as a Relief Pilot on long-range, international flights.


To fly for Air Canada, pilots must meet certain basic requirements:

  • 1000 hours of fixed wing flying time
  • Completion of schooling to the university entrance level
  • Ability to pass the Air Canada and Transport Canada medical and visual acuity requirements for a Category 1 medical certificate
  • Canadian Commercial Pilot licence, current Instrument Rating and Multi-Engine endorsement
  • Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status

Pilot applications far exceed job vacancies, so preference is given to candidates with qualifications beyond the basic requirements. Examples of desirable additional qualifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Canadian Airline Transport Pilot licence
  • University degree or college diploma
  • Aviation College diploma
  • Military or commercial flight experience
  • Jet and/or glass cockpit experience
  • Additional language(s)



Primary Location




Job Posting


Unposting Date



Scote1992 said...

I have a question that doesn't have to do with this at all. I just saw a video on youtube of a pilot landing an A320. It's a view of the stick motions he is using. I noticed he has his index finger on a trigger on the front of the stick. Now I'm pretty sure the A320 doesn't have missiles like a fighter jet in a flight sim game, so what is that used for on the Airbus?

Skyrider said...

Captain Doug,

please correct me, but I believe it is used to disengage de Autopilot.

See you in March ;)



Aviatrix said...

They've changed the unposting date. It used to be the end of September. Do you think that means they didn't get enough qualified candidates?

I don't think they've dropped the published minima much. Disgruntled legend has it that they leave it deliberately low so that they don't actually have to bend the rules for blatant acts of neoptism.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Scote1992. Like Skyrider said, it's to disengage the autopilot.

But during the good ole days when we had kids visit, we would tell them it was our missile launcher. :)

I'll post your question for "question of the day.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Aviatrix. Not enough qualified candidates? I'm certain they have about 5000 applications.

Blatant acts of neoptism...I love it!
Yes, during the good ole days it was a given, if your father worked for AC you would have a job as well.

Now they try to make it fairer by getting the HR department to recruit. Ahem.

I hope your application gets selected out of the pile!


From the Flight Deck said...

Skyrider. You are correct!

Yes, see you in March!

Captain Doug

Scote1992 said...

Cool, thanks!

Edwin said...

Quite the difference from Europe.

Over here there are airlines hiring pilots with 200 hours fresh out of flight school. Even the majors such as British Airways does it.

Whats your take on this Captain Doug?


Anonymous said...

I don't have nepotism on my side....should I just change my name to Sullenberger now or wait until I graduate?

Heather (S.?) :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Edwin. Good and bad. You are getting pilots with absolutely zero experience. However, you are getting extremely bright motivated individuals.

Again, that philosophy has not really worked it's way to North America. But it will if this pending pilot shortage ever gets here. :)

Captain Doug

whywhyzed said...

Hiring and seniority: Doug, you mentioned a while back that you still had a while to wait until your number moved up and you could qualify to bid the 767.
But could you bid F/O on the 777? Does that ever happen? (I am going on the assumption that a 777 F/O makes more money that a 320 Capt. Plus of course many more days off.

Also, is the AC wage the same for any given position? ie does the most junior 320 Capt make the same as the most senior guy? How does that work?

Andrew said...

not sure how accurate this site is but Whywhyzed, you might want to check it out :)

whywhyzed said...

Interesting... so what do they mean by "YEAR"?... number of years on that plane, in that position?

From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew. I forgot about that site. Thanks! It's pretty accurate. Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. Yes, I could bid the B777 F/O position but it's deemed a down bid. If you look at the tables Andrew sent
the pay is less as well. But you are right, you generally get more days off.

The wage is not the same. There are 12 increments of pay. But when you get to the 12th year it's all the same.

I've been at the 12th level for seven years.

Hope this helps.


From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. Number of years with the company. If you were 12 years right seat and then move over to captain, you start on the 12th year pay.

From the Flight Deck said...

Good one Heather. :) But nepotism had it's day. I hope!
But you may have another advantage! :)

Things have changed in the pilot demographics and it's still changing.

Go get qualified! :)


whywhyzed said...

Whywhyzed. Number of years with the company. If you were 12 years right seat and then move over to captain, you start on the 12th year pay.

I don't get that... how can there be such a thing as a 2-year 777 Capt?

From the Flight Deck said...


Exactly! I guess it's positive thinking on the company's part. I ask myself the same thing. It's next to impossible. But then again 5 years for an A320 captain is possible so I guess they keep everything generic.

Good point though!


whywhyzed said...

5 years for a 320 Capt, really?
Somehow I thought the wait was much much longer than that. I thought you had to put in at least 10-12 years with the Company before your number allowed you to move seats.
Maybe I misunderstood though!

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. About two to three years ago, the YYZ A320 captain position went as deep as 2800 when we had about 3200 pilots.
I.E. these guys had less than five years with the company.

Everyone was shocked. Then a few reduction bids came along and solved that problem. Bottom guy now sits around 2150.

That's the problem of bidding to the bottom. Senior guys can "parachute" ahead of you for years.

Ahhh, the games we play. :) :) :)

Chris Gardner said...

I have a question for you when a airline retires a certain jet from its fleet what happens to the pilots that would normally fly that plane? IE. when Air Canada retired the DC 9 from its fleet in 2002.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Chris. The pilots would be positioned on another aircraft according to their seniority and their "wish list."

The retiring of the DC 9 didn't have much of an impact. It was when the 747-400 went. All the senior pilots trickled down forcing some guys below them out of their position.

But with a system based on seniority, it's the fairest thing to do.

I'm off to Ottawa this morning to give a talk to a grade six class. They won't care about seniority but will be more interested in the entertainment system in the back. :)

Anonymous said...

Captain Doug,

Are you aware of any sort of program within AC similar to Southwest's 'Adopt-a-Pilot' program? Seems that someone like yourself who seems to enjoy educating the general public would be an ideal person for such a program.

Southwest has a YouTube video that shows a little what the program is about:

Enjoy being back in sixth grade! I bet those kids will surprise you with just how much they do know!

YYC Dispatcher

From the Flight Deck said...

YYC Dispatcher. A few years ago we had a small mentoring program, but I'm unsure if it still exists.

I'll take a look at the video tomorrow. Right now I have another presentation tomorrow morning.

The Ottawa class went very well. One word to describe them...inquisitive!

Their hands were up wanting to ask question the entire time. And yes, they knew lots!

Captain Doug

Steve said...


Scote1992 said...

I have a question that doesn't have to do with this at all. I just saw a video on youtube of a pilot landing an A320. It's a view of the stick motions he is using. I noticed he has his index finger on a trigger on the front of the stick. Now I'm pretty sure the A320 doesn't have missiles like a fighter jet in a flight sim game, so what is that used for on the Airbus?

End quote.

Just to give you the correct answer on this as no one else has yet...

The index finger is on the radio transmit button. Looks like a trigger. The big red button on top of the stick is the autopilot disconnect.

From the Flight Deck said...

Steve. Thanks for answering Scote1992's question. I posted the answer to what the red button was on the joystick but not about what the lever in front is.

And you are right on both counts! The lever is one of the many push to talk switches. The Airbus has lots.

Captain Doug

RetroJetGirl said...

Is the "2 year 777 captain" provision there in case AC hire DEC on that fleet? (Whether unions would allow it is another thing entirely, but that was what crossed my mind!)

From the Flight Deck said...

Retrojetgirl. Yes, having a 2 year 777 captain pay is downright silly. We did have "direct entry captain" positions when we had the CRJs and for awhile
it happened on the Embraer. It does seem absurd, but I guess that's what people thought about the Wright brothers. Sometimes one never knows. :)

Thanks for the comment. Your "call sign" is new. Welcome!

Captain Doug