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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


In reference to my post on January 7th, Career Choices, it got me thinking about "hearsay" and how we make choices based on rumour instead of fact. (Yes, this is going to be a juicy one) :)

Years ago, I was reluctant to apply to a charter/cargo company in Halifax, Nova Scotia (my home town) because other pilots labelled it a "kind of unsafe" operation. (See pic on the side). Well I did heed their words for awhile, but eventfully I went knocking. They hired me as a part time Navajo pilot. Sure some things were a little "dubious" but the company launched mine and so many other pilot careers.

Here are a few urban myths out there.....

Don't visit Israel...it's just too dangerous!

It turned out Israel sat on my list of "best layover destinations." The history, sights, religions, people...made it a place to "pin on the map for must sees." This picture is along the highway enroute to the Dead Sea with my wife who tagged along on a three day layover.

(Someone once asked me...we all know there is a "mile high" club, but is there a "below sea level" equivalent?) lol

I do have pictures of me playing in the dead sea mud, but it wouldn't do much for the mostly male audience out there. :)

Actually on one layover, the captain and the first officer (I was the cruise pilot then) were more interested in getting pictures of a flight attendant who...ahem...filled out her bathing suit to the nth degree. Later that day I had the pleasure of walking the streets of Tel Aviv with her. She stopped traffic. :)

On one layover I did walk past a restaurant in Tel Aviv which had a situation a few weeks after. I'll leave it at that. :(

Don't go to Japan, the food is too expensive!

There are tons of eateries where you can get a nice meal which includes a beverage (notice I didn't say BEER) for about $10 to $12. And that includes taxes and there is absolutely no tipping in Japan (a pilot's haven). It's deemed a slap in the face.
(In the picture, the special of the day is 580 yen...about six Canadian dollars)
Can't read Japanese? No problem, many restaurants have waxed displays of their food. The system was developed years ago when much of the population could not read. And it's exactly, "what you see is what you get." The details are so good they even include the bubbles in the beer. Ooops there's that BEER word again. Heaven forbid I allude to the fact a pilot may have a beverage on a layover. (Yes, I'm directly my shots).

Don't eat the food in India, you will get "Delhi belly."

I absolutely loved the food in India! I've been there at least 30 times and not once did I get the equivalent to Montezuma's revenge. Well I did get some back end turbulence once, but it was due to a crew meal. I know of so many crew that would hide in their hotel room possibly for two days with canned goods and other food and would never venture out. What a pity!

They didn't get to see the Taj Mahal nor the infinite layers of India. Yes, India has many layers (I know of a few people that fall in that category). :) Actually, I must post in the future about the "shoe shine boys." If anyone saw the movie "Slum Dog Millionaire" there sure are some great parallels.

Many times when I returned home it made me realize how bland and boring our North American diet is. Sure some crews succumbed to intense intestinal discomfort and some even had to be hospitalized. Yes, you would be tempting the food gods if you ate from a kiosk located on the street (see above picture) but some of the restaurants were out of this world. In fact our hotel hosted one of the top restaurants in the world. Dignitaries including U.S president Bill Clinton paid it a visit.

The backstreets of Delhi. At the time an A340 F/O

Other myths...

Don't go to Quebec, it's filled with separatists.

Yes, here in Canada we have our political issues. My first experience of "la belle province" saw me in grade 12 at age 17 making a fool of myself at "La Carnival du Quebec" in Quebec city during February. (I'm starting to have flashbacks) :)

One of my best years saw me at McGill university in Montreal where I joined a fraternity. Hmmm.... I'm starting to think where my middle daughter (diesel daughter) got her "party gene."

In fact, I sent "diesel daughter" in the heart of separatist country (Chicoutimi) this past summer. She flew stand by on airline passes via Montreal by herself. She loved it!

Nadia you have a beautiful province!

Don't even think about going to the Middle East....especially if you are a woman.

I won't mention how my kids still talk about their trip to Dubai, UAE.

My eldest daughter had the opportunity to visit a colleague in Kuwait city these Christmas holidays. But wait a sec, didn't they bomb the heck out of that country 2o years ago? My daughter could not believe the time she had. Sure, she had to adhere to local customs. She wants to go back and yes she got there on standby passes and flew via Washington, D.C

What I'm trying to say is...one should determine first hand...what a place, people, food, culture, etc are like. And this includes aviation opportunities!

Like my nephew who runs a sea kayaking company on the east coast says...."go out and play!"

and if you do...fly Air Canada. :) :) :)


Daniel said...

Israel seems like a nice place. I wouldn't mind going there someday. Also some places on Islands in the Pacific I have heard are really nice. Like Rarotonga, Christmas Island ,etc.

When you ( no if :) ) 767 Captain/First Officer you will be able to visit St.Marteen ! Not a layover, unfortunately, but still a nice place.

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel...first prize yet again for the first/fastest response! :)

Yes, I guess that too was my point (indirectly), there are some neat spots on this planet...so go out and play!

Captain Doug

Anonymous said...

Some very wise words Captain Doug!
Remember someone back at school told me not to go to China because of the food... Food turned out to be amazing. And China was a superb place, first long haul flight as well on the A340 :)
Can't wait to go back this April, even if it is for a 6 hour stopover on the way to Sydney!


From the Flight Deck said...

Ed. Thanks for the comments. I forgot all about China in my rant! :)
I wanted to mention how people think it's run by the red army with millions of bicycles
flooding the streets. If you go to Shanghai and Beijing you will see more BMWs and
Mercedes. The place is exploding with opportunity and they screaming for experienced pilots.

Are you stopping in Hong Kong?

Now there's another story...everyone thought the place was going to fall into the ocean when China took over. :)

Captain Doug

Tim said...

Hi Doug,

Looks like you've had some nice experiences traveling thanks to your job! Thanks for another awesome post!

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Tim. I sure did as far as neat experiences! Funny...many pilots shy away from overseas travel.
To each his own...I guess. How is your flying going?


Cedarglen said...

Oh Yes, And don't even risk Canada! Ha ha! While Europe is still a fav, even today, visiting my Canada friends come first. YOu folks are NICE. I've never had a bad experience and poking into more corners of your expanse us just FUN. Did I mention the NICE factor? I do not need much, so simple NICE is enough for me. Consider yourself huged, Canada. I love you.

Christer said...

Thanks for the post Doug! I agree with you- nothing ventured, nothing gained. Stereotypes are just that- stereotypes. I've had some of the best times in places I'd least have expected it.

Speaking of Israel, I thought AC only flew 767s to Tel Aviv. When you flew there, was that on the A330 or A340, and for how long was Airbus equipment on that route?


Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to explore Beijing/Xian and Chengdu. Amazing places! Incredible seeing the vast difference of development between city and rural areas.
Unfortunately, I am not stopping in Hong Kong, it's somewhere I do want to go to. I will be instead going to Taiwan ( I don't know whether I should call it part of China)
Please write about your experiences of HK! Did you ever land at Kai Tak airport?!

All the best,


From the Flight Deck said...

Craig. Fun is nice and thanks for the hug! We Canadians thank you! Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Christer. I've used that saying more than once in my life...."noting ventured, nothing gained." Although the "daring feat department" is dwindling. :)

When the A340 first came on line, TLV was one of the routes for about three years.

Then the options as a cruise pilot lessened...I used to say it was either, Delhi, Delhi or Delhi at the end. We would deadhead over to Heathrow and work
the flight to DEL.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Ed. Sounds like your travels take you far and wide.
The only time I saw Kai Tak airport was in the simulator.

They sure do have an efficient new airport in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is certainly a dynamic city.

Thanks again for the comments.

Captain Doug

Patria Yudha said...

Hi Capt. Doug,

It's really nice post, I really interested about your story of Israel, especially about dead sea
Maybe you can post your pictures about dead sea, it's not about the male audience out there but this is about the great scenery from there
I really want to see the scenery of the dead sea, and tht's maybe from your pictures.

I also heard that security in Israel is very strict, is it true ?

Thank you


Good morning Captain,

Funny that I read this post right after we booked a trip to Disney in May....Air Canada ...ALWAYS!

Maybe with some luck we'll have a Halifax native left seat to MCO :)

Great post!

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Patria. The Dead Sea is a must! But hurry it is drying up fast. They also have "bath houses" in the area. You will soon learn whether you have cuts or shaved too close when you get into the water.
It stings! But it does wonders for people with dry skin and other skin ailments.

In fact, I would buy skin cream from the Dead Sea and it was a hit back home.

As far as security, I have not been since pre 9/11. But when I went through it tended to be a "normal" operation.

Having said that, when my wife tagged along they gave her a run for her money. In fact, a "representative" approached the flight deck
when we were prepping the flight to confirm I was indeed a pilot.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III. Thanks for the feedback. You're off to see Mickey Mouse. Good for you!

Lets hope the line ups abate by then. :)

I just got a call from the "sim planner" asking if I would move up my "sims" from March to February.
I said yes, but now I'm having my druthers.
Funny after all these years, it's the worst part I dread about my job.

Sorry to dampen your good news.

Yes, who knows, Captain Doug and CAT III approach may be Orlando bound.


Andrew said...

lol "deisel daughter" Did she get that name after the refuelling incident? :P It certainly fits.


From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew. Indeed she did! :)


That's the beauty of the " Fast Pass " as my wife's uncle would say! Line ups, no more!

Sim time( testing ) is always tense here too...training on the sim, however, is the only place you are encouraged to make any mistake you want... you'll remember not to do it a second time....the best get to be the best by learning what not to do!

Good luck with the Sims and enjoy the training!

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach. If I keep doing American turns I should start thinking about getting a NEXUS card.
It's $50 for five years, but it requires an interview.
I guess that's my excuse.

Yes, aren't SIMs fun? NOT! :)

Captain Doug


haha.....that's exactly what you need!

Yes Sims ARE fun!! :)( when you are the sim trainer.....not the trainee )