Flight Plan

My flight plan....to encourage, mentor, guide those pining for the sky. I'm also here to virtually open the flight deck door for those who want to take a peek at the many aspects of aviation.....enjoy!

...and welcome aboard!...


The latest "Readbacks"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pilot Perseverance: His first job!

Here's one story of a student pilot's first job fresh out of flight school. When I look at the pictures it makes me appreciate my cushy job wearing a white "short sleeve" shirt at flight level 390. :)

I've flown over CYMO enroute to more exotic destinations, plus I used to analyze upper air data from the weather balloon they launch twice a day from there.

But as the saying goes, "we all got to start somewhere." And yes, I've been there. :)

I've been teaching a one year aviation college diploma at the Brampton Flight Center the last few years. It will cost you about $55,000 to $60,000, but with it, you'll come out with a multi-engine IFR ticket with an "aviation diploma." This year enrollment is up. For those that absolutely know flying is what they want to do, then a "quickie" diploma course is the way to go. (I think) Part of my routine includes taking them to Toronto's deice center and giving a tour of Air Canada's flight planning facility. Plus I teach them high level 'met.'

Here's David's story (slightly modified)

I first heard about this job through an instructor at Brampton. He said that Wabusk Air was looking for rampies to start immediately. I sent in my cover letter and resume that day and was surprised to get a response the next day. That weekend my dad and I drove to Cochrane and took the train to Moosonee. We were shown the operation and got a little tour of the town and I had my interview. A week later I was offered the job thanks to (CFI of Brampton) who knew the cheif pilot very well. I started on September 6, 2010 as a ramp attendant and part time pilot. At first I wasn't expecting to fly for at least 6 months when my probation was up, but started occasionally flying the King Air 90 about a month after I started. Since then I've logged about 30 hours on it and there's talk about starting training on the Navajo. I won't become a full time pilot until I've reached 500 hours and theres another rampie to replace me. You don't make much starting out ($15,000/yr) but you will get raises as you move up the ladder. Its a lot of hard work and its not for everyone but you will gain lots of experience very quickly if you tough it out.

This is David trying out the deice simulator during our tour last year.

His first airline.
Some of the beautiful hangars he gets to see.

Some of the neat airports he will fly to.

A couple of King Airs. For most pining for the sky getting on a "twin" like this would make them drool. True story.

Typical day at work contending with icing conditions.

An iced up windshield...been there.

View Larger Map



Good morning Captain,

More about icing!( Just read IanH's link and posted about it ) Must be winter...and Christmas...icing on cookies etc!
Those pics look much like work last night...without the wings mind you...balmy -45°C with the windchill! Amazing the lengths some go to scratch the clouds:) The one year course sounds like the way to go as long as one could afford it. Lots of loans after I'm sure and an uphill climb to pay for it, given starting wages. I should have been a pilot....:)

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach.

That's why I like posting pilot stories. It makes people looking from the "outside" realize just what a "pilot wanne be" has to go through. Much of the public is bewildered by this...the high cost of training, low initial wages, poor working conditions, no fixed address, etc.

As I've averred since day one, aviation is not only a pasion it's a "disease."

F.Y.I... just the bare bones minimum qualifications (multi IFR with 250 hours) will cost about $50,000 to $55,000.

I'm flying with some pilots that are still paying off their loans.

Aviation, you gotta love it! :)

P.S You are keeping me busy with your great questions today!

Edwin said...

Funny, as I went on your website I was actually checking the hiring situation for twin-props in Europe.

It seems that more airlines are hiring people right out of flight schools to 737 and A320s rather then King airs or Navajos.

50 000 for everything? Seems like a bargain compared to Europe. Maybe I should consider flight training in Canada?

I've never heard of a Multi IFR before? What's that? Something like an Instrument Rating?

From the Flight Deck said...

Edwin. Learning to fly in Canada (and the U.S) is a bargain, relatively speaking. That's why so many
Europeans venture this way. Be careful, you may meet the love of your life and may want to stay! :)

Multi IFR? Sorry it's a North American term (I guess?) multi engine (twin) endorsement with an instrument flight rating.

The student tends to come out with a whopping 250 hours after it's all said and done.


Edwin said...


50.000 CAD is about half of what you'd pay for modular training here. Although to those 50k I'd have to add cost for accommodation, living expenses and license conversion. How is living costs in Canada? And do you have any good flight schools to recommend?

About meeting the love of my life, the love of my youth might not like that :P

Edwin said...

LOL! Stupid question; If you had any flight schools to recommend, I should have read the post better ;)

From the Flight Deck said...

Bravo, Edwin.

But for you, and anyone else from Europe, you would need a school that's JAA (Joint Aviation Authority) rated - which there are.

WILLO2D said...

Good morning Doug,

Current met for Southampton:

Weather for EGHI METAR

EGHI 131020Z 02003KT 340V060 1200 R20/1200 BR VCFG SCT001 BKN002 00/00 Q1028

Zulu Time: 10:20 (day 13 of month)
Wind: 020/03 varying from 340 to 060
Visibility: 0.65nm
Runway: 20 minimum range 1200 meters
Conditions: Mist
Conditions: in the vicinity Fog
Cloud Cover: Scattered at 100ft
Cloud Cover: Broken at 200ft
Temperature: 0°C
Dewpoint: 0°C
Humidity: 100%
Barometer: 30.36hg

I'm approx 5NM SE and the fog is coming in here as I type this. The "blocking" high over the UK is hanging in there but will move towards the end of the week allowing even colder air to spill down from the Arctic - best advise your colleagues on the trans-atlantic UK flights to have their EGLL diversions ready for briefing!! More snow is inbound here and it will not be pretty!! ;)

Re the image of the "Hanger" - it looks OK: it has a roof (required) and looks like it has air-con! What more could you ask?

As for David's story - looks like he was in the right place at the right time and is making it work. Well done to him - and seems he's going to get some regular (ish) flying that some one else is picking up the tab for. That's a good job to be in. I wish him well.

Good luck with your class - this afternoon? Looking forward to the after action report - only if allowed.

Cheers / IanH

From the Flight Deck said...

IanH. Thanks for the 'met' report. I'll use it this morning in my presentation.
A North American pilot would think the "1200" for visibility is feet but it's metres.(Two different ways to spell meters/metres)
I tell my class to convert meters to miles... is to divide by 16.
So 1200 would translate into 3/4 statute mile or about .65 nautical mile.
Then I bring up a report from China where winds are meters/sec instead of knots.

Here's Shanghai: (SHA) (Yup, they will also realize the IATA code is different from the ICAO code).
We in Canada just add a "C" and the U.S just add a "K."

ZSSS 131130Z 03006MPS 5000 -RA BR BKN007 OVC040 11/10 Q1016 NOSIG

Good rule of thumb. Double it. So 6 mps translates into 12 knots.

Their heads will be spinning. :) I am cruel. lol

I see EGLL is doing okay.

You pegged it as far as timing for "David." But I guess that applies to most things in life. :)

Light snow is falling as I speak. The first noticeable amount in the metro Toronto area.

Gone to teach.

Captain Doug

Chris Gardner said...

By looking at the FlightAware website THe 401 35000ft up is busy today over YYT. On your latest post I guess that all great pilots have to start somewhere and earn their stripes.


Good morning Captain,

Wow....I could put up with the poor working conditions on the ground as long as the conditions in the air didn't match:)

Speaking of hours...how many hours in total would Air Canada fly on average in a year? Yourself?

Do you enjoy the long hauls or the short ones better?

Does the 250 hours give someone enough to apply for a airline to start training?

If a new F/O is brand new( hire ), what length of sim time/class time do they need before they can actually sit right hand in an actual jet?

Maybe you've already touched on these.

Thanks for the responses.( hope it's not too much with the questions ) Have a great day teaching!

CAT III Approach


Captain Doug, and IanH,

I was reading Ian's METAR, and looking at the translation of it....didn't see the .65 nm anywhere but read Doug's post that clarifies that!

Then I read the Q 1028 and saw 30.6 hg..... now I see something I recognize, but should it read inHg? Is it common to mix the units like that? I seem to remember reading about a fuel tank that didn't like it :) :) mmmmmm...I'd like some Crown Royal.....I digress :) :) :)

CAT III Approach

WILLO2D said...

Hi Doug & CAT III,

So Captain, how did the class go. Did any of your students bring an apple for teacher, or would that be seen as an inappropriate inducement ;)?

CAT III, I got the EGHI METAR from one of the MS FSX apps that I have. As I have my core FSX installation set up using "North American" settings, rather than European, some but not all values are displayed using Imperial notations; hence inches rather than mm (hg) for the pressure setting. It's another reason I tend to use EGLL, EGKK, etc., rather than LHR - London Heathrow, LGW - London Gatwick 'cos that is how FSX shows airports on its internal maps. Apologies if you are familiar with FSX; it's my own "instructor streak" coming through... or is that thru? I'm pleased you had a look at Air Clues - I will add the links to my own blog for the first 3 issues in the next day or so.

Kind regards,


Bryan M. said...

Hi Doug, I have a question for you. I sent an email but haven't received a response yet.

In Fall 2011 I will (hopefully) be beginning a 2 year program at Algonquin College for Aviation Management. When the program is complete, I will have my CPL, 250 hours of flight time, and Multi-IFR ratings. My question is, where do i go from there? Who would hire a recent college grad with the minimum number of hours required? How do I progress on in my career? Do I try and find a flying job right away, or get a non-flying job and build up hours? Or do i take the instructor path? Also, where do i go from there? Do I look for a regional airline job? Or start looking at the larger airlines (after I have enough hours to apply)?

Thanks, Bryan

From the Flight Deck said...

Bryan. Sorry for missing your email. I knew I read your email before and I tried to look for it a few days ago.

Welcome to the biggest conundrum a new pilot has..building time!

It's up there with "the meaning of life." :)

You and thousands before and after you will be up against the biggest obstacle a new budding pilot will encounter...building time and getting work.

For me, I instructed on the side. That lead me to a part time position flying right seat in the Navajo. My foot was in the door! After that, the rule of thumb is... "take what is being offered at the time." Fate will lead you to the right place.

Yesterday, in the new hire class, not one pilot had less than 3000 hours (Air Canada's present minimum). There was one gentleman
(the oldest in the class) who had 8600 hours, a Seneca college grad, with his last job being chief of standards on the Airbus. Unfortunately, his
company went bankrupt. But he still had a smile on his face.

Welcome to the modern mysteries of the world....flying for a living!

But enjoy the ride, it will all work out!

Captain Doug

Edwin said...

CAT III Approach,

I'll try and answer a few of your questions, but I'm just a wannabe reading forums and articles so I have no real experience.

I think Captain Doug told me he liked the long hauls better, but I'm not entirely sure.

250 hours could be enough to apply for a jet job in Europe, although in north America it's a bit different. There, you will have to start gaining hours by flying small planes, instructing for example, when you have about 1500TT and some multi engine time, you can start applying to the regionals (The FAA wants to ban pilots from flying jets with anything lower than 1500TT) and if the industry is going good, you'll be able to apply for the major airlines with about 3000 hours total time (the requirements may be lower, but as I've understood it, more time is really wanted).

For your question regarding training once hired, that depends if the pilot already is type rated on the type of aircraft he will be flying, if not, he/she will need to get one, and I'm not sure how long that takes, but I'm guessing 4-6 weeks before they put him in an actual cockpit. Then he/she has to complete a number of sectors with a training Captain before he/she is released on the line.

Again, I have no real experience of it, just what I've read. I'm sure Captain Doug will be able to give you a better answer.


Captain Doug,

I really enjoy these pilots story and their background, thanks for posting this, and I wish David all the best in his career!

From the Flight Deck said...

Chris. Yes, many are shocked to find out just how arduous the path of becoming a pilot is.

It's one of the most respected and revered professions I know and yet one of the most misunderstood.

It's why I blog...to spread the word. Although my wife thinks differently. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach. Aviation is a hodgepodge of units. In Canada and the U.S, weather reports give the pressure in inches of mercury and millibars.
Standard pressure being 29.92 inches of mercury and 1013.2 millibars (which is also know as hectopascals). Europe's weather report only uses
QNH (altimeter setting) in millibars.

I asked my class yesterday whether the settings are identical when converted, They are not. Both are "reduced" to sea level using different temperature
profiles. (When I write this, I'm thinking this would be great useless stuff in a book) :)

As far as the fuel tank incident (diesel disaster) I'm still contemplating calling the company again and treating it a safety issue.
I've seen diesel nozzles coloured yellow, black and someone saw them green. :)

I guess it's not only aviation that inconsistencies exist. :)


Aviatrix said...

That blog entry does not describe the poor working conditions there. It merely describes the baseline of any Canadian first job.

From the Flight Deck said...

IanH. The class went well...I think. Just eight candidates. Four will get F/O Embraer and four have been assigned B767 relief pilots all based in Toronto.
Great bunch of guys.

As far as the apple, I brought one. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Edwin. Well done! You certainly are up on your aviation! Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach. I'm not sure how many hours Air Canada flies but we have 650-700 flights a day excluding Jazz's 650-700 flights a day.
We carry on average 65,000 to 80,000 passengers per day. An airline pilot typically flies 500 to 800 hours per year. (Actual flight hours). I hover around 740 hours/year.

As Edwin mentioned, I like the long haul flying because it's more of an adventure.

The minimum time Air Canada is presently looking at is 3000 hours...250 hours just gives you bragging rights that you are a "pilot."

Four of the eight "new hires" will be going right seat on the Embraer. They should be on line in about two months but with Christmas in the
way, things may take just a tad longer.That goes for the cruise pilot positions as well.

You sure are loaded with lots of questions. Good for you!

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Aviatrix. You pegged it! "Squander " would be one word to describe the living and working conditions" of a new hire.

I too camped out in some "eyebrow raising conditions" (in a trailer in a clapped out hangar) and slept in the back room of a flight service station flying "bank bags" during the wee hours of the morning. Having said that, I had some of my best sleeps. :)

I guess that's one reason why enrollment is down in aviation?



No need for apologies sir...I'm not familiar at all, just with the units of pressure measurement ( I'm operations in the oil industry, and I too am an instructor :) ) I appreciate your responses. I really enjoy learning about avaition. As I've said to Doug before, our professions are similar on many different levels. Thanks for the responses!

CAT III Approach


Captain Doug,

I'll ease up on the questions...sorry! With regards to my fuel tank comment...it wasn't the "diesel daughter disaster" I was refering too....I thought the Crown Royal comment would give it away :) A certain large glider vs. english and metric units might :)

WOW....these new hires are coming in loaded with hours it seems! Now I am getting a better appreciation for what is required for flight time, and why the hardships need to be endured to get there. Makes me have even more confidence in the Air Canada pilots, because I'm sure they've experienced plenty given some of the work conditions, and to acquire that many hours before they're considered a new hire speaks volumes to what experience levels need to be in order to begin training at the corporate level. As a passenger it gives a better appreciation for the knowledge, skill, and experience level of the pilots in charge of safely bringing me from point A to point B!

I didn't know AC moved that many passengers per day! wow. I went on the Flight Aware link last night for the first time. Double wow. Is that the same system that is used on the bus to show passengers flight information? It looks very close. ooops...there I go with a question again...I'll stop while I'm ahead.

Thanks again, and thanks to Edwin as well for your answers!

CAT III Approach


Captain Doug and all on this blog,

Came across your "pilot" episode last night. Very cool idea. Think someone like TLC or Discovery would run with it if they got their hands on it. If any of you haven't seen it....check it out on youtube.

You truly are passionate about what you do sir. It's that passion that keeps us passengers safe up there. AC should be proud to have you on the books. Keep it up. :)


CAT III Approach


....and you're right Doug about the inconsistencies....our pressures at work are measured in psig, and temps in °C! go figure.

and we set our instruments to an atmospheric of 14.2 psia because of the elevation :)

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III approach.

Yes, Air Canada recruits are very qualified pilots. You have ex-cheif pilots and check pilots, ex-snow birds, pilots who have flown heavy jets and the list goes on. Having said that, the "competition" also recruits some very qualified personnel. There is a huge pilot pool to draw on here in Canada- for now!

After teaching my class we had the VP of flight operations give a talk. I stayed around to listen to his take on things. He explained the hiring process at Air Canada.

It's quite a system. At one time they would interview 12 pilots for 10 positions. Now they interview 30 pilots for 10 positions. What a work out both for the potential pilot and the company.

Thanks for the clarification about metric and imperial units i.e. the "Gimli glider." :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

CAt III Approach. As far as the "pilot" I was suppose to go to YUL (Montreal) this morning to help pitch the idea to a local production company.

I wiggled my way out of it, but the producer is gong to bat to see if we can get this "project off the ground." (pun intended)

I think many passengers would love to watch excerpts on aviation. Last year we pitched the idea to Air Canada. They loved the concept but
we had to find the funding.

Yes, we were looking at Discovery, TLC and other stations (different languages) around the world. We were even thinking about hooking up on the internet and people could watch things transpire in the simulator- for a cost!

We'll see what today brings. :)

Captain Doug

Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...
This post has been removed by the author.
From the Flight Deck said...

Adam the Winnipeger ( I responded to your email but I noticed you deleted your comment). ???

Yes, that was quite the summer in 1983. That particular FIN retired a couple of years ago.
I was there the year before, 1982, where I completed my commercial pilot license at Interlake Aviation. I'lll never forget the sights I saw when the small town was inundated with fish flies for a couple of weeks.

It was a good place to train. The area is about 90 percent VFR, uncontrolled and YWG (Winnipeg) is a short flight away to do IFR work.

Captain Doug

Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...

Captain Doug,
Sorry about deleting my comment it was an accident!
Thoes fish flies never get old! While i was there i also took picture's of the Canadian CL-215 Water Bombers!
The Snow covered Winnipeger,