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!...

Slats and No slats

Slats and no Slats

A Facebook friend sent this pic. These two are lined up on the parallels flying into San Francisco. The parallels are 750 apart. It shows you what the leading edge lift devices (slats) do and how flat the RJ approaches without them. I've been in the RJ jumpseat a couple of times and it certainly "widens your eyes" while on approach. Especially when I flew the big ole A340.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Climbed the Mountain

This picture was borrowed. I could not find my picture of Mount Fuji taken on flight 001 Toronto to Tokyo.

I penned these words TEN years ago...before 9/11, before SARs, before a merger, before mad cow disease, before a recession. Be careful...it's optimistic! Funny thing is, I'm still preaching the same tune. At least I'm consistent. :)

I’ve Climbed the Mountain...Now What?

For my entire adult life I have toiled to become an airline pilot. (It was even mentioned in my grade seven yearbook under career aspirations) Now at age 39, I’ve finally made it. Looking back, I could have been a doctor, dentist, lawyer, two times over. So when I ask myself was it worth it and the answer is Hell Yes, it feels good! I think, a person’s greatest fear in life is looking back and saying, “I wish I did things differently. I thank my lucky stars this is not my case. Like most, I encountered my fair share of upsets, denials and wrong way streets. However, I remember back during my university days to what was written on one of the many cheap posters stuck on the wall to hide the cracks. It sounds corny, but here it goes, ‘If you have a dream, don’t let anything dim it, keep hoping, keep trying, the sky is the limit’.

I see so many today lacking goals...like ships without rudders. (Incidentally, if there ever was a time to become a pilot the time is now!) Today’s up and coming have major uphill battles. It seems everyone is fighting for jobs even though many are qualified to the brim. It is not enough. The market demands more and more and so many fall off the Career Mountain. I too had to struggle through two recessions, which by the way are extremely hard on the aviation world. I returned to university during the first recession to put behind my belt even more qualifications. Because of it, I veered off onto another career mountain only to realize half way up that I must climb down and start again. One-step backward, two steps forward.

As I approach the turbulent turnover of age forty, I can feel myself shifting gears a little. (Update...I'm going through the same thing...again!) :) The saying, “Lordy, Lordy look who’s forty” begins to infiltrate my thoughts. To pass on what little wisdom I have, I’ve become a mentor for up and coming ‘wanna be pilots’. I spend much time pointing out various options in their quest in becoming a pilot, but many a time I get this feeling they only want to hear the shortcut route. For most careers it doesn’t exist, just perseverance, hard work and the ability to deal with life’s curve balls. “Stay focussed and it will come,” I tell them. But for many eighteen year olds it doesn’t seem to register.

What do I see now that I am at the summit? Well, I look behind me and see the large hills I’ve climbed. However, as I look ahead I see just as many and with them many valleys. So I’ll take a long deep breath of great appreciation and then chart my course for the mountains ahead.


Perched Precariously

Since then I've written a book and more importantly I received my fourth stripe. They turned me into demi-god status. LOL. Although I'm wise enough to realize the pedestal beneath me can tumble anytime. Heck that's the way I feel about this blog sometimes, ....perched precariously. :)

Below are some shots of flights over mountains....cumulus granite.

Many flights over Greenland

The Rocky Mountains: Calgary to Vancouver

Mount Baker just south of Vancouver

Mount Ararat (Turkey) Think Noah's Ark. London to New Delhi

Greenland: Calgary to London

Volcanic mountain north of Iceland: Toronto direct New Delhi

During my A340 F/O days


Daniel said...

Nice post! Sweet pictures also! Your saying isn't corny but rather pretty neat. I like it :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Thanks Daniel...and first prize again! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

Happy New Year! Those pictures are beautiful!! Seeing mountains from above is something to behold! Thanks for the upbeat post - I'm amazed at how positive you are sometimes but I'm not complaining! I also enjoyed the last post about all the travelling you have done and (assuming) will continue to do!
Oh the travel bug - does it ever go away? I went to Minneapolis in December and I'm heading to Japan in April! I'm looking forward to it!

Take care and keep up the great posts!



Good morning Captain Doug,

Great shots! It must be amazing to sit back as a pilot and realize you get to see more of the world than most will see in a lifetime...and have a great view to boot!
I was looking at the A 340 pic and a question came to me looking at its size.....

What percentage of load do the elevators share with the main wings on an aircraft?

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Heather.

Happy New Year to you too! Yes, I can be very positive, but a few deem me the opposite.. let's hope SHE doesn't read this. :)

Just like the "aviation" bug, the "travel" bug is buried within and must be fulfilled on a regular basis.
I guess that goes for the "blog" bug. I'm handling my addiction nicely....by blogging almost every day. :)
Looks like I have a few addictions. :)

Off to Japan? You are going to love it! It's the safest, cleanest most efficient country I visited. (Oops there goes that positiveness) Plus it's nice to see direct flights out of Calgary.

Thanks for your feedback Heather...I always appreciate your take on things.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...


We pilots have to remind ourselves now and again just how great a vantage point we have.
We used to enjoy sharing it with our passengers. Well that will never happen again. :(
Having said that, many airlines are installing cameras to give the passenger a neat take on things.

When you say elevators...are you including the horizontal tail (stabilator/stabilizer)?

The tail is more for center of gravity. In fact, the A340 moved fuel fore/aft to/from the tail
during the flight. But great question and to be honest I don't know the answer as far as a percentage.

Airbus obviously does not think it's an issue as far icing because the entire tail (horizontal and vertical) has no deicing capability.

Captain Doug


Hi Doug

I probably used the wrong terms.....sorry. I do mean the horizontal tail ( if it means the two little wings at the back attached to the vertical tail :)....I think they have numbers written on the side of them...are they angles of pitch?


Great read by the way.....

It's a shame that there is such a sense of entitlement....more so now than even 10 years ago. "What do you mean I have to work hard?? That's abuse!"


Thanks for the response too by the way!

Is is possible to ice a tail on the Sim and see what the aircraft does?

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach

Yes, there is an "ice" mode. But I don't think it's all that convincing in the SIM.


From the Flight Deck said...


Sorry I'm missing it..... :)

"What do you mean I have to work hard?? That's abuse!"

getjets said...

All Gold stars for Captain Doug... your beautiful pictures and your many reflections on life!! We are humans and we are FLAWED (ain't it great,)all you can do is the best you can,and be damn sorry when your caught!!!!!thats my story and I'm sticking to it...and I'll stop there, ha ha I do hope that the good Captain doesn't get offended by some of my "smartass" comments:) My Love of aviation is true, I sorta see myself as a "voyeur".....looking into your world, your trials and tribulations, admiring the love and pride you take, especially loyalty to your company and your "aviation" family! Not unlike myself I have worked in the oilfield for almost 30 yrs. 26 of which I was a machinist. (we really took a hit with the BP spill,talk about "oilfield trash", we stick together and are recovering) anyway until that one day when the "trusty ole CHETA pipe" slipped and snapped my wrist requiring a very nice titanium plate and many screws, (do you know that when I go thru security at the airport they make me unscrew that plate.....no sharps edges on the plane), (that is a joke)I know you snickered a little:) oilfield runs thru my viens as well as flying runs thru yours, so now I am front office people, my first day in the front office, no steal toe boots, no slinging rubber mallots etc. I ran hundred thousand dollars machines, but i did not know how to turn a $10.00 calculator on....I was scared to death....Ah, the track of life, like you say!!;). you know Captain, I order your book Jan 1st, still haven't got it...do you think you might track down the St Benard dog they must have a attatched it to....waiting waiting waiting..LOL! Do keep the stories coming, they are appreciated!!!! speaking of oilfield, not until gas reaches $5.00 dollars and up a gallon will the country allow more domestic drilling... of course that is another story!!!and to think the other day, while listening to live ATC at JFK, this particular flight had to burn 300 gallons of fuel off before landing...what a waste, but good for the oilfield. Do, please let me know about the St Benard's whereabouts...again keep up the great work(don't ya just love all the adulation, don't get too big for your britches, ha ha!!! It is well deserved. Well I've rambled enough...so until misstwa signing off, and safe flying Captain!!!

getjets said...
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getjets said...
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getjets said...

OH LORD, Captain, forgive my LONG RANT!!!! :o

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. I think a little bit of "blog voyeurism" is good! :)

I don't find your "smart ass" comments offensive.
At least not for now.
They add spunk to my blog.

Thanks for sharing your story. Everybody has a story and because of it, everybody has a book in them.

Speaking of books, I sure hope mine reaches you soon! You have an aviation thirst and hopefully my book will quench your aviation appetite. If not, there's always my blog. :)

I'll try not to get too big for my britches but comments like yours makes it tough. :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. I enjoyed your rant. It's good to get things off the chest now and again. :)

Captain Doug

Nadia said...

Bonjour Capitaine

Happy New Year 2011 !!!

I like your pictures and I'm very interest by your picture about Dead Sea ;)

I don't write often but I'm addict to your blog so don't count on me to give you any help to be less present here LOL :)

Thanks to your family to share your time with us !

WILLO2D had a good idea when he suggest to your wife to write her own blog. "Be married with an Air Canada Captain addict to his blog":)

Did your daughter speak french? Chicoutimi is a beautiful city. She probably don't remark it but they have an accent there. (La La)

Thank you Doug from all Quebec. Your always welcome!

Next post on toilets...I can't wait hear about that !


From the Flight Deck said...

Bonjour Nadia!

Bonne Année aussi!

I'll tell my wife that. She has been giving me more and more grief about my addiction.

Writing a blog or keeping my marriage? Tough decision! LOL

My daughter took a five week french immersion course. Plus her and her sister went to visit a family in Nantes (west coast of France) a few summers ago.
Yes they travelled on passes. Luckily my quick thinking middle daughter told the agent (who was about to deplane her) that her dad worked for Air Canada.They let her sit in the F/A jumpseat. We can't do that here.

PLus my other daughter spent time in France with an Air France mechanic's family. Captain Doug (then a A340 F/O) flew her and my wife from YUL to CDG.

Merci encore Nadia