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...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sickie Pooh Passengers

This is the view from my hotel window this morning in rainy Montreal. The end of runway 24 left is a "three wood" distance away.


Prior to this pairing, I received a phone call from an MLO (Manager of line Operations) giving me a “heads up” about the president of Mongolia being on my flight. He and his entourage would be deplaning in Vancouver via the ramp. I Googled some facts on Mongolia to woo the F/O. I’ve flown over this landlocked arid country sandwiched between the U.S.S.R and China, but knew very little about it, except the Gobi desert looked very uninviting.

My research proved unnecessary. The president and the gang took a later flight. So it ended up a routine flight to Vancouver except with several areas of bumps due to a 150 knot jet stream and us cutting through the tropopause. As one in-charge coined it, “smooth between the bumps.”

Serenity in Vancouver?

A gorgeous day transpired in Vancouver and I think I confirmed it about five times with my F/O.

Now it’s off to Montreal. We taxi out with a nearly full A321 enjoying the “large” day. After the F/O made the “one minute before take off” announcement and getting cleared for take off… the in-charge calls. "Some passenger ran into the washroom puking and defecating!" Oh great!

We denied the take off clearance, taxied halfway down the runway and sat on taxiway “echo.” We decided whether two passengers who arrived from Shanghai should be deplaned. Two out of the five flight attendants refused to work with a quarantined washroom. They deemed it a health risk. Fair enough.

It’s back to the gate we go. The two passengers were deplaned, but their bags had to be ‘sequenced’. Now the flight attendants are exceeding their duty day. Our day is pushing the envelope as well. Soon everything will be going off the rails if we don’t turn this ship around.

(That day CYVR AC operations had a rejected take off because of a bird strike, followed by the pilots calling it a day after the high speed reject). Also the Hawaiian flight returned to the gate after a suspect fuel leak. So operations didn’t like the sight of us returning to the gate)

The flight attendants were offered overtime so they were happy. (Money talks). The F/O and I decided to keep the operation afloat as well. But the thought of enjoying the hospitality of the local establishment, The Flying Beaver, crept into my thought process.

Bienvenue to Montreal

Our duty day poked well beyond the thirteen hour mark and we had to contend with a landing curfew in Montreal. No planes allowed after 1:00 a.m. We touched down at 12:53. Close.

One flight attendant made it known if we parked at 1:00 a.m or later she too would get overtime. (She was on a different schedule than her co-workers) Captain Doug was operating with lots of constraints. Unfortunately for her, the cargo door opened sending an “in” time of 12:58. Close!

So we went the extra mile, but I’m certain we won’t be getting a call from the MLO saying, “that a boy.”

Now I sit in Montreal at an airport layover after getting to sleep at 2:00 a.m. My room is a “three wood” golf shot distance away from the end of the runway. (That is if my golf shot was as good as my landing last night on a wet runway). So guess who has been getting a walk up call every two minutes from departing jets since 7:00 a.m?

The life of an airline pilot. :)


dogbait said...

Love the photos. I hope that hotel window is double glazed.

Andrew said...

wish every hotel room was like that.

Adam said...

I wish my golf shot was as good as your landing! Lol
I have a question to ask:
What kind of schooling did you go through
to become a pilot?

PS: Andrew I agree with you I wish every hotel had that kind of view!

Happy Flying Doug,

From the Flight Deck said...

Dogbait. Thanks about the photos. As far as the windows, I could hear everything. Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew. Yes, most aviation enthusiasts wold love the view. But for someone who had to go flying the noise was annoying. I'm now in Edmonton, Alberta via Montreal to Vancouver.

From the Flight Deck said...

Adam. I did the flying club route backed up with university. I think it's a great route.

WILLO2D said...
This post has been removed by the author.
WILLO2D said...
This post has been removed by the author.
WILLO2D said...

Good call on returning to the gate to disembark those not too well pax. It was the only realistic option. If you have someone "going at both ends" the rate of dehydration can be somewhat higher than "going at one end only" and the last thing you need at FL350, with a dry cabin atmosphere, is a case of respiratory distress/failure due to dehydration. Then there are the other pax to consider; what was the cause of the illness and was it even mildly contagious? Neither you nor your crew, as far as I know, are/were medically qualified other than recognising that you have two "going at both ends".


WILLO2D said...

Clearing the mess up also needs specialist knowledge and training. One of the less pleasant jobs we had in the Cranwell Ejection Seat Shop was cleaning up after an "accident". We had on such event where both Ejection Seats including parachute packs, combined harness and dinghy packs had to come out, followed by a basic clean of the cockpit, then most of the right side instrument panel and the right side control column and rudder/brake pedals, and a few other bits and pieces. The medics then went to work with extra strong disinfecting fluid - three applications... over a week. One aircraft off the programme! The medics also spent a day with us doing the same to the seats structures and parts that had been contaminated - once we had taken everything apart. Other results: two flying suits, two life preservers, two combined harnesses and parachute outer packs, two dinghy pack cushions and one pair(?) of flying boots were scrapped due to "fluid contamination". Over 400 maintenance hours were expended.

Golf shots: hotel room to runway... is that one of my three wood shots, one of yours, or one of Jack Nicklaus's?

I got your e-mail; I'll reply later - thanks.

IanH... again - original comment was too large!

WILLO2D said...

Apologies for the deleted comments, Doug.

Blogger was displaying an error: comment too big, so I split the text then found the original comment was there in full! - twice!!

Still, it's free.


From the Flight Deck said...

WILL02D (IanH). Now sitting in Edmonton, Alberta on day three. This flying across Canada stuff is wearing me out. They're extremely productive pairings, but the fun factor is dwindling.

Great points regarding the sick passengers. They were travelling with a group, so that too went through my mind. Would there be more
explosive events from others? And like you said, what will happen to them at altitude? Will they need medical attention? Will I have to make
a medical emergency landing. I thought it would be better to deplane them.

The flight attendants mentioned about the biological hazard. The washroom would be quarantined just for the sick passengers. Who would clean things up? They said it was a mess already. (I don't know how flight attendants do it. It sure takes away the glamour factor.)

That's quite a story about cleaning the flight deck. The word "gross" comes to mind.

Years ago when I was in university I took my physics partner up for a local flight. It was mid afternoon with lots of day time heating.
So the sight seeing over the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia got a little rough. Combined with the fact this student was a tad out of shape, had eaten, plus a little nervous caused an explosive vomit event all over the cockpit. I had nothing to clean it up with. I get back to the airport and he looks over at me with vomit over his glasses and said, "nice landing." Funny what you can remember some 30 years ago.

He and I had the task of cleaning things up. Three days later the flying club called and said the cockpit still wreaked of vomit. They wanted me to come and clean it some more. Luckily I had the excuse exams were in session and I could not make it.

There's lots of stuff that go on in a plane load of passengers, and some of it isn't pretty. :)

Just readying for a flight to Vancouver, B.C and then another transcon to Toronto.

Tomorrow I point the airplane south to Nassau, Bahamas.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

WIll02D I too received a message saying my post was too long. But it posted it anyway. ????

Like you said, at least the system is free. :)

WILLO2D said...

The joys of Trans-con: now which time zone am I in? YEG-YVR-YYZ in a day must be tiring at the best of times, but on day 3 of a 4 stretch... take it easy, Doug.

Re. the "clean-up": the culprit on that particular flight was an "Air" rank officer from a Commonwealth air force. Not good in the career stakes to tell him, "You made the mess, you clean it up"! ;) And he pulled the Emergency O2 bottle instead of releasing the Leg Restraints when preparing to climb out of the aircraft. Honestly, you just can't get the staff...


Anonymous said...

Do you ever get flack from your superiors at AC for content you post?

From the Flight Deck said...

Anon. Do you want to explain yourself?

shege2000 said...

Captain Doug,

I had flown to Mongolia ( Ulaanbatar) more than 5 times through Toronto-Beijing-UB and Toronto-YYVR-Seoul to UB, all on AC to Seoul and beijing and Korean and Air China to UB. The desert you mentioned is Gobi not Kobe.

Quick question for you. I flew B777 to YVR and it took 3hrs.58min , while the same flight on A321 took 5.20 mins, why is this?

Please note that I cant wait to have you sign my copy of your book. I always carry it with me anytime I fly A321 aircraft...


From the Flight Deck said...

Shege2000. You are absolutely correct. It is the Gobi desert! I'll fix that right away.

I must have been thinking Kobe, Japan. It's host to the Nara Deer Park where there are hundreds perhaps thousands of deer.They are aggressive, coming up to you nudging for food.

Now I'm confused. I just went on our employee website and took a look at travel times to Vancouver from Toronto.
The A321 does it in 5:02 whereas the 777-200 does it in 4:55. Not sure how you got 3:58.

The A320 fleet generally cruises at Mach .78. Not sure about the B777, perhaps Mach .80?

I'll gladly sign your book!

Thanks for the comments.

Captain Doug

WILLO2D said...

Hi Doug,

Difference in flight times: headwind/tailwind? Normal Gatwick-Stockholm flight time is approx 2.5 hrs - I used to do that route quite often when I left the RAF. One trip Gatwick-Stockholm was delayed over an hour due to headwinds pushing back the incoming flight. The return trip to Stockholm took less than 90 mins - we landed 5 mins ahead of scheduled arrival!

B777 Vmo/Mmo is 330kts/M0.84 according to my download info from the Billy Boeing site, but some other data provides 310kts/M0.82 - take yer pick.

Kind regards,


shege2000 said...


I flew AC 034 on September 19 from Vancouver to Toronto ( i was on seat 2K). the flight was 3.58 mins. You can also confirm this through



From the Flight Deck said...

Shege2000. Now I have it figured out. I thought you were comparing two planes, the A321 versus the B777 going the same direction...westbound.

I see you were heading east. It makes a HUGE difference.

Here's the stats with two different airplanes and two different directions:

It's all about the winds i.e in this neck of the woods (Canada) ...the prevailing westerlies.

A321 Westbound 5:02
B777: Westbound 4:55

A321: Eastbound 4:23
B777: Eastbound 4:17

As you can see eastbound transcon flights are about 38 minutes shorter.

On your particular flight the winds were a little stronger. Also note summer times vary compared to winter times because winter winds are stronger than summer.

As well, the routing changes on a daily basis depending on winds which also change the enroute time.

I hope this suffices.

Captain Doug

Nadia said...

Lucky man Doug ;)

It's the view we're looking for when we go spotting to CYUL.

In the bed on the fifth floor we have a similar view but in another angle. We are in line with the 28 and see the terminal.

Do I miss something? Your wife is working for Westjet?? I'm not sure to understand.

Thanks to do regular update to your blog. I'm addict !!! :)


From the Flight Deck said...

Nadia. Good morning! Bon Matin!

Yes, my wife was recently hired with Westjet. In fact, she is presently in Calgary training to be an

How often do you go to CYUL to "tail spot?"

You are welcome about my blog. I TOO am addicted. But my wife does not like my addiction.

But what does she know, she is working for Westjet. :) :) :) lol

shege2000 said...

Thank you very much for your explanation.

I wish you and your wife the all the best in aviation.

From the Flight Deck said...

Ian H

We have it all figured out. For me the wording was a tad confusing..."I flew a B777 to YVR and it took 3hrs.58min , while the same flight on A321 took 5.20 mins."

But I received a clarification..."I flew AC 034 on September 19 FROM Vancouver to Toronto..."

I sent an email explaining just that...headwind/tailwind. It's all good!

Thanks for the speed info. I have a good friend flying the "triple" and I will query him as to their cruise speed.

Having said that, our cruise speeds vary daily because we factor in a "cost index." We now slow up with tail winds and speed up if there are connections, etc.

So even a question on how fast we travel is not easy to answer.

Thanks again for all your input!

Doug on the other side of the Atlantic.

From the Flight Deck said...

Shege2000. You're welcome. It was a good question! Many people are surprised to hear just how much winds aloft affect our flights.

This is where the weatherman is extremely accurate, upper wind forecasts. Most of our flights, have calculated fuel burns accurate to within 100 kgs,
all because of very reliable wind information.

Again, thanks for all your comments!

Captain Doug

Nadia said...

Hi Doug,

We go to CYUL 4-5 times from May to october and 1-2 during winter.
We are to CYUL from 10AM to 8PM after landing of BAW.

We don't sleep everytime at the hotel, only 2-3 times a year.If not we start late after the departure of BAW at 10PM.

The "spotting" include thursday october 7 to see the A380 of Air France. We have to take both a day off to go there. YOUPPI !!!

We are very addict or crazy :)

Now we got 150 of 204 different tail registration pictures of
Air Canada. We got all the A321 ;)

Not bad for two people who have to do a 2.5 hours ride to live there passion.

Congratulation for your wife. It must do great family discussion.

Bonne soirée


From the Flight Deck said...

Bonjour Nadia.

I receive pictures from "tail spotter" Erik in Frankfurt, Germany. He sends me many. In fact, I use some on my blog.

Would you like his email to get pictures of the "fins" you do not have or do you prefer to get them yourself?

Thanks for the best wishes for my wife.

Like you said, it will make for great family discussion. :)


Nadia said...

Salut Doug,

For now, our goal is take pictures by ourselves. But if one day we'll need help, I let you know.

Thanks for your help ;)