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!
P.S I'd like to add Nadia from "la belle province" for her contributions!
...and YYC Disptacher...

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


The latest "Readbacks"

Monday, December 27, 2010

On the road again....

This photo was sent in from "Daniel" in Halifax. Prior to leaving for San Diego I had to drop off some in-laws heading back to Halifax. I saw the forecast and told them, "the sooner the better" as far as getting back. This shot depicts yet another severe storm affecting the Maritimes caused by a persistent upper trough over eastern North America.

The latest analysis from the Weather Network. Could we have an "omega block" over North America? The light blue line depicts the jet stream taking on huge curvature. The lobe over the eastern seaboard is an "upper trough" and "upper low" kicking off some nasty east coast storms.
The greek letter "Omega." See any resemblance on the weather chart?
I had to fly through this upper ridge enroute to San Diego. It gave us rare tailwinds and changing wind directions translating into areas of annoying light chop with the odd moderate bump thrown in for good measure. :) Because of the rare push we arrived in San Diego 30 minutes early.

On the road again...

A manager was handing out "coffee vouchers" as an appreciation to those working the holidays. I thought it was a nice touch. I gave the card to my financially strapped F/O.

I met one commuter from Halifax and he has been on the road for five days. He errored on his bidding for January so he will be working off and on until January 5th meaning he won't have the chance to get back home.
I jokingly said, he will be doing lots of laundry on the road and asked him how his wife is taking this. He said he is still married...with a smile.

I bumped into a senior captain and queried what he was doing with three large packed bags and working on the holidays. Unfortunately his story wasn't so cheerful. Something about his wife and a mid life crisis. Ooops.

Early arrival

My first flight back in two weeks and everything ran smooth. We knew we would not have the usual push back home and sure enough the flight plan had us blocked 12 minutes over sked. So we readied for an early push back. I had a sense things were going too smoothly. Sure enough our navigation systems didn't want to 'align." After several phone calls back to headquarters (flight dispatch/maintenance) we push back 18 minute late. It translated into 10:20 of flight time. An honest days' work.

End of day one

My F/O and I walk back to the parking lot and our cars were next to each other. What are the chances in a five story parking lot? I asked him the age of his car. (It looked weathered). "It's a 92 and I should have heat by the time I get home." He drove away not wearing a pilot's hat, but a tuque to stay warm. I place my bags in my brand new BMW SUV and think...."we are both in different phases of life."


whywhyzed said...

Why was the F/O "struggling"?

From the Flight Deck said...


He was just coming out of the low paying position group- Embraer f/o. Plus his previous job paid very little.

(But it did include flying a Twin Otter in the Caribbean dealing with scantily cladded tourists all day) :)

In fact, he said it was actually a pay increase for him when he started with AC. For most, it meant a significant pay cut.


Hello Captain,

There's definitely a storm here in the east....I don't rely on the weather channels to see if a storm is coming....I drive my beautiful wife nuts by checking the AC flight numbers into YSJ...the midnight arrivals were cancelled by noon so I knew we were going to get hit! I wonder if anyone else relies on this for accurate weather forcasting?? ....if AC won't land in it, then it's real!! hahaha.
My parents are supposed to fly into YQM tomorrow....we'll see how it goes!

How do you like the Bimmer? X3 or 5? We were looking at one before we settled on a new Buick Enclave CXL AWD because of the added space. Put the AWD through its paces this morning with snow up to the doors!

Happy Flying!

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach

Just looked at your "latest."

METAR CYSJ 271600Z 04015KT 3SM -SN SCT010 OVC014 01/M01 A2883 RMK

Winds from the northeast (not a good wind), visibility coming down in snow and the pressure is falling rapidly. Batten down the hatches! lol

Into YQM tomorrow? Ouch! A northeast wind is NOT good for the Moncton area. They get a localized effect off the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Looks like they may get 25 to 30 cm of snow.
I always enjoyed a good Maritime storm....while sitting in my living room. lol

We decided on the X3. I couldn't justify the extra 20 grand for the X5. Apparently the 2011 X3 is much quieter and a little bigger. Oh well.

Thanks for the weather report!

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Chris.

I'm heading your way EARLY tomorrow morning. I just checked the TAF and it doesn't look too bad for Tore Bay...
winds gusting from the south at 25 knots, one mile visibility in drizzle with a 300' ceiling. Heck, I may let the F/O fly that leg. Truth be told, if the weather was bad, I'd definitely let he/she fly into YYT. lol

Actually my wife has "us" on her NEW iPAD wallpaper. Maybe I should have her on my computer, phone, laptop, etc? ...ahem.... :) Are you suggesting that will help? No wonder I've been missing the boat.

Tore Bay here we come! (Maybe)......I'm trying to get drafted today so I can get out of the early check in tomorrow morning. :) Nothing yet.

Captain Doug

Cedarglen said...

Hi Capt. Doug, For your sake, I hope you get drafted for a lay-over run to some Southern sunshine. Years ago, I remember boarding a vacation flight wearing a down parka, with only shorts and tee shirts in my bag. Five hours at high speed and down the steps into a different world. Hope you get a nice run and a fun FO.
So nice of you to share your coffee voucher with the 'poor' FO. I'll bet that s/he is happy to be with AC and finally off the poverty scale for new hires. His/her time will come if they can put up with a few inconveniences for 'just a few' years. Since you share your coffee, the walk-arounds and give the FOs first choice of PF legs, I'll bet that very few bid to bypass your blocks. Nice guys finish first!!
Someplace else I recently read about a husband/wife, Capt/FO team flying pang haul Pacific routes for another carrier. have you ever seen any paired flight decks at AC? It must make for some interesting conversations over breakfast. And think of the money that the carrier can save on lay-over hotels . Fly safe and take a spare can of gas. -Craig


Captain Doug,

Thank you for the YSJ latest! If they get in to YQM they'll have a time digging out of the parking lot!

I hear you on the extra can get a nice second vehicle for the 20 you save. amazes me that an F/O for any airline would be financially strapped this day in age. Being responsible for many peoples lives with a multi-million dollar aircraft seems justification enough for an extra pay bump to me. ( there's my dig for the little guys ) It's stressful enough doing the job, let alone having to worry about your life/finances outside of work while doing it. Seems like a safety issue ( mind not on task ) that any airline would want to avoid.

STILL snowing!

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Craig. Your email arrived just as I was talking to crew sked yesterday about a "draft" to Philadelphia.

Let's just say last night's flight will make for a great post. :)

I don't think anyone bids around me, but you never know. lol As far as nice guys finishing first, sometimes I have my doubts.
But I try to treat everyone how I would like to be's a simple formula, but over the years (and I'm certain you experienced this)
that simple rule didn't exist.

We have many paired flights...we have husband and wife, brothers (actually two are identical), father/son, father/daughter, etc.
As far as saving on hotel rooms, I've seen that happen....and not necessarily with spouses. I'll stop there. :)

There were a couple of American carrier flights last night wishing they had taken a "spare can of gas." They had to push on to their alternates
as the airport dug itself out of snow.

Your email speaks with volumes of experience. :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach. You made some great points. We certainly earned our keep last night flying to Philadelphia and back.

Captain Doug

Aviatrix said...

Cat III Approach, Captain Doug is not making it up. FO pay is really really low. I doubt there is any occupation where someone with that expensive an education, and the number of years of experience to get into an Air Canada cockpit would be paid less.

The FO is not an exception. All pilots may be at the pointy end of the plane, but only the airline captain is at the pointy end of the wage pyramid.

From the Flight Deck said...

Aviatrix. Thanks for the back up. Good way of explaining things! :)
Captain Doug


Thanks for the comments Aviatrix....

I knew that the rates were low from previous posts from Captain Doug. It's just shocking that's all. Someone with that much responsibility ( I would argue that both share quite the load in the pointy end on any given day ) I would think...or like to think, that any airline would want to make sure the very people ( pilots regardless of rank ) with peoples lives in their hands, literally, would want to look after them to the point that their minds are solely on just that.... the cargo in the back!

Makes you wonder how many "incidents" could be( are ) attributed to someone with their mind on what bill is going to get paid this week and which one will not. I realize the Captain is ultimately responsible, but the F/O's have quite the task backing he/she up. It's the pair that make the flight go off with minimal hitch. It makes sense when gathering hours at small companies to not make a "half decent" wage, but if I'm giving you the controls to my multi million dollar airplane and making you responsible for the safety of the passengers who are paying for that multi million dollar aircraft, and trusting you are going to make the best decisions with each control input you make to get the paying cutsomer to their destination as safely as possible, I'd want you to ONLY be thinking about that and nothing else.

It makes sense to start the wage lower than a Captain of course, and the new hire to get paid the least....but the gap needs to be lessened so both pilots minds are completely on task at all times. Just my opinion of course :)

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach.

Well said...very well said. By the time you read this you would have read my last post.
Twas a work out. :)