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, November 5, 2010

Glad that's over with....

This shot was taken when I commuted as a passenger from Halifax over three years ago. For those keen eyes you'll realize this is an Embraer wing. You'll also note snow on the ground. That won't be the issue for Halifax the next few days as remnants of Tropical Storm Tomas decides to pay a visit. A wind and heavy rainfall warning has been issued. Followers Dan and Daniel et al...batten down the hatches!

Glad that’s over with…my route check

The last two days consisted of six flights with a “check pilot” to convince him I stuck to the script, knew my airplane and procedures inside and out, had all my paperwork in order, demonstrated command and leadership skills, CRM (Crew Resource Management), etc, etc, etc.

Two legs would have sufficed for this mandatory annual check, but I had the honour of flying six legs with him! It turns out he was a great guy – they usually are. He had quite a “DJ radio voice” and a few times I looked over wondering with some training if I too could sound so smooth. lol

The first flight started with a maintenance snag, but the wording in the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) had me scratching my head. “Jacques from Airbus” sometimes has a knack of confusing the issue with the wording.

Being November and the first flight of the day, there stood a good chance of frost on the wings. Sure enough frost emblazoned the composite spoilers. It's an Airbus issue. Luckily it was removed at the gate. Good…no taxi to the CDF (Central Deice Facility).

With the start of any pairing we must review certain emergency drills: a rejected take off, engine failure at rotation, and a rapid depressurization drill. I rattled them off flawlessly albeit lacking the perfection of a smooth morning DJ radio voice. :) I even wooed the checker by briefing the “go around” procedure which should be done during the first approach briefing.

The flight to Montreal and back proved routine but you can never relax. That day three legs also meant three aircraft switches.

The next morning started with a deicing for frost in Halifax. My first for the season! The deice center, located directly behind us, usually required us pushing back from the gate, starting up and taxiing over to the deice pad. Our “lead” took the initiative of towing us over, translating into less work for us and saved fuel. Sweet. Both the checker and I scratched our heads…why haven’t they done this before?

Off to Toronto we go. Because of the deicing, it started cutting into our prep time for the Fort Lauderdale turn. After saying good bye to the passengers, it was off to flight planning to print off a flight plan and to converse with flight dispatch about possible thunderstorms over Florida. Then it’s through American preclearance customs, security and off to the gate. Things were getting tight. It’s the first flight of the day- translation- more checks. A maintenance issue had to be resolved requiring maintenance to show up. It’s a full flight and everyone is trying their best to get this bird out on “sked.” We were ready, but the parking brake is released one minute late, but a quick message to dispatch gets us an on time performance.

A strong southwesterly jet stream of 140 knots paralleled our route and for an hour it proved to be “grumpy” giving constant annoying “light chop.” The thunderstorms were not an issue in the immediate area of Fort Lauderdale, but we were running late because of the strong headwinds. Again, everyone tried their best to turn us around quickly but an eight minute delay incurred. I noticed the “delay code” pointed the finger at us. I fire a message in curt terms stating the delay was incorrectly assigned.

Phew. The last leg back to Toronto and the check pilot was flying. I started to relax. But then he said, “okay let’s talk about this check ride.” I started to sink into my seat bracing for the pending de-briefing.

Any instructor knows, you always start off with something positive. And that’s how it started. Wait a minute he praised me some more. Then more compliments. I’m slowly coming out of my “slouch” position. There seems to be smoke being blown up my… Did he just suggest, I should consider being a “line indoctrination captain?” A line “indoc” captain means you are checked out in both seats to spool up new captains or first officers coming on line. I’m told it’s a gratifying job, but you will witness some interesting landings. I better not tell my wife the position also comes with a small pay raise. :)

The real good news is my next “whoop” to jump through won’t be until early spring- where it’s in the “sim” I go.

As well, with a week vacation coming up, it translates into two weeks off. Anyone out there have a luxury sun filled residence that needs taking caring of? lol


Anonymous said...

Are pilots at AC allowed to join in this?

Andrew said...

Hey Doug,

Good to hear your Check ride went well. Mind dropping a post about what happens when a flight is late? You sparked my interest with "delay code"??


From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew. Most airlines around the world are very concerned about on-time performance.
Internally, delay codes are assigned to clarify why things ran late. As you can appreciate, It can be a multitude of things.

But because of sensitivity issues, I won't post on this topic.

Sorry to be a party pooper. :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

HI Anon. I don't see why not. We are not allowed beards, but allowing a mustache to grow for a month wouldn't be pushing the limits.

I'm not sure what I would look like with a "cookie duster." lol

Captain Doug

coreydotcom said...

Is line doc captain something you apply for is it a kind of thing where an insider recommends you and you get in?

From the Flight Deck said...

Coreydotcom. It's a bit of both. I would have to email the pilot responsible for the A320 fleet asking whether he would be interested. But having a recommend goes a long way as well.

Captain Doug

Daniel said...

I'll take another storm, we lasted through Earl :D

Snow on the hand can leave me alone. Its going to be a sad sad day when the first snow storm hits.

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. I see YHZ is gusting to 40 knots and the winds are split between runway 14 and 23. Wild ride tonight.

METAR CYHZ 051900Z 17025G40KT 1 1/2SM -RA BR OVC003 16/13 A2981

WILLO2D said...

"Glad that's over with..." but how long to the next route check? It don't matter as you have that one out of the way and a cool glass of your favourite beverage - beer, in the world of non-conformance to the politicised compliance mantra - your fitting reward ;)

The suggestion to take up the role as an "Indoc" Captain is interesting. A bit like being a mentor for a junior pilot coming onto a squadron following their completion of the type conversion course: they know how to fly the aircraft - interesting landings being part of the process - now they learn to fly with SLF and "dispatch" breathing down their collar. I guess it would be a case of check everything then make sure everything is checked, then check it all again, especially for a new "right-seater".

Question: who "checks" the "checker"?

I don't know if you have seen these:

Aussy Wx Calendar 2011

I thought you might like them.

Kind regards,


Daniel said...

I can't really say if its a mess at the moment but it seems everything is doing ok, not the best. The smaller planes, Air Georgian etc. And all the Americans have seem to cancel, not unexpected, I hear from my dad that if its like 4sm and below vis they usually don't come because of the lack of training for regional airlines. I am pretty happy that he isn't working tonight because of him being a lead it usually means he always leaves last. Sometimes up to 4 - 6 hours after his shift ends if its a mess . -.-

The TAF seems to indicate it will get better however.

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. I'm certain Air Georgian will be flying if the winds meet their crosswind limitations. I've flown with many ex-Air Georgian guys and they are top notch! :)

Daniel said...

A few of them were delayed but did end up leaving a bit late. And yes, I do agree :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Will02D (Ian H)

The route check is good for one year.

The checkers can check the checkers. But to get their "A" authority I believe Transport Canada must be present.

I took a look at the calendar. Gorgeous pictures! Made me realize I'm not appreciating nature to its fullest.

Here in Canada we have a weather calendar by weather guru David Philips. I have several copies.

Thanks Ian

Captain Doug