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"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inquisitive minds

Just finished teaching 13 young bright pilots enrolled at the Brampton Flight Centre taking a one year aviation diploma. I taught upper air charts, significant weather charts, and weather radar. I also called up todays flight plan for Toronto to Tokyo, flight 001. It's was interesting to note the captain (of whom I do not know and I say this in highest respect) but his last name was Cool. Yup...Captain Cool. :)

Plus I digressed most of the class telling them aviation trivia and aviation stories. Yes, I'm there to teach weather but I'm also there to entice. :)

And speaking of inquisitive minds, here's some questions sent to me via company email from a "Montreal rampie/pilot in training." I said I would post his questions/answers on my blog.

1. When I push any air Canada aircraft and I tell them "cleared to start engines," why do they always start 2 and then #1. I thought it was always 1 and 2?

On the Airbus we start #2 because the park brake hydraulic yellow system is on engine #2. Just a safety back up. The brake accumulator should allow several parking brake applications so if necessary #1 could be started first. If we had to start using external pneumatic, then #1 is usually started first.

Picture is from Kelly in CYYC

2. Dose it happen often when you arrive at the gate and your ramp attendants are not there and cause you to burn unnecssary fuel and dose it aggravate you?

Aggravate me? Can you say ballistic? (Oops, it's SOP a pilot must be of moderate temperament) Ahem. Yes, it bothers us. We pilots are trained to adhere to SOPs and to conduct the flight in this priority: safety, comfort and schedule. So we get a little hot under the collar when a ramp attendant does the “stroll” to the gate. I do realize they are operating under major constraints (labor shortage, weather, delays, etc) BUT….

Having said all this, I’ve noticed an exponential improvement in many bases with Toronto being number one in improvement. About two years ago it was a given we would have to wait, but now it truly is rare. We pilots do know which bases are notorious, but I’m not going there. :)

External power used to start A330. Kelly's picture.

3. I've noticed on one flight, from a passenger prospective during push back, the cabin ventilation stopped periodically prior to engine start is that because so much air is required to bleed to the main engines to start?

In order to start a jet engine, it requires lots of pressurized air. Usually it’s a minimum of 30 P.S.I. (A normal atmosphere is 14.7 P.S.I). Thus most of the air from the APU bleed is directed to start the engine. I try to get the engine start switch back to normal ASAP to get the air flowing in the cabin.

4. When engine start is completed what causes the cabin and electronics to flicker rapidly? Is that because you press the bus switch from APU to GEN 1 and 2?

We get electronic bumps when each engine is started. We also get a significant bump when I disconnect the external power prior to engine start. On the older small buses it’s a downright “clunk” when this happens. And yes, it sometimes knocks out the odd screen.

It also affects the entertainment system in the back. So much so, many FSDs don’t start the safety demos until the second engine is started. It’s a normal thing for the small Airbus. It’s one thing I noticed...and forgot about....when I transitioned from the big bus to the little one.

5. I heard you pilots and flight attendants don't get paid until the cabin door is closed, engine start and the brake is released. If this is true what happens when you do a Rapidair flight when it takes about 1 hour? Do you only get paid for that flight?

The clock starts ticking when the doors are closed and the parking brake is released. It’s true a Rapidair flight YYZ-YOW is about an hour, but remember we usually do a turn. Or we will be going somewhere after the turn or just came in from another destination. If for some lucky reason we only fly one flight of about an hour we get DPG (Daily Pairing Guarantee) It fluctuates...but it’s about 4Hrs 25 mins.

6. And last...have you ever done a YUL to YOW where the airtime is like 20 min and what's the maximum altitude for that flight I found for short flights they still climb to 30000 + feet I know air is less dense and yet flys faster with less power but isn't the same amount of fuel getting there?

I’ve done more YUL to YOW sectors in the simulator. They like this leg because it loads up the pilot. We don’t climb that high on this short sector (30,000 feet) but we certainly do for YUL-YYZ. The flight planning program juggles the numbers and if it’s beneficial for us to go higher…we go higher. It’s true we burn a little more fuel getting there, but on the other side (the descent)...the engines are at idle most of the time.


WILLO2D said...

A very informative post - thanks Doug.

Re Q6, what sort of rate of climb are you getting during the various stages getting up to cruise altitude, also at what stage would you (normally) switch from IAS to MACH on the FCU?

I presume the 13 are all now, if not already, fully signed up members of the Cap'n Doug club? Good luck to 'em all...

Cheers / IanH

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi IanH.

Climb rate vary from about 2000-3500 feet on the initial climb on the A319 to around 1000 ft/min
on the A321 in the higher altitudes. The Airplane switches from IAS to MACH by itself, usually above 20,000 feet in the climb.

And yes, I showed them Captain Doug's blog. I wanted to show them the post on Pilot Profiles.

As part of the program, they are given a copy of my book. But they seemed to have forgotten lots or didn't read it. :) I was bringing up lots of material covered in my book. :)

Thanks IanH


CAT III APPROACH said... took my next question!!!!! :)

I was reading about de-ice, and how climb angles are adjusted on one of Captain Doug's original posts......

Here's one.....what is the steepest angle of climb/descent, that you are allowed....does each airline dictate this or does the individual operating manuals/aircraft performance?

I noticed before I used to fly direct to YYZ, the Dash 8 pilots sometimes would really push the nose over to duck under some heavy cumulus clouds on the way into YYM. Felt a little odd to be looking way down at the flight attendent.

and last it just me, or is it true 85% of the time on the descent, before going through heavy cumulus clouds the bank angle is changed, or a turn is initiated.....I even notice a slight bank when at altitude in I dreaming this up?

Thanks Captain Doug!


CAT III Approach

getjets said...

So Captain Doug, was your captain 'Cool"....well was he cool, and with all due respect..perhaps as a cucumber for such a long flight? while asking this...there can only be one answer "YUP".
Great questions's I would not have thought of, and thoughtful and informative answers, as one who is on the outer fringes of the aviation loop, some answers can leave me with more questions..but there's page 5221 in your book for reference....actually your book is very good, showing what little patience i do have with reading it, and the reread of certain I can get that ...OOOOOHHHHH thats what you mean!!!its enticing alright. Safe flying Captain ^j^

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach. The typical angle for take off on the Airbus is 10 degrees nose up (12.5 degrees for an engine failure). Some airplanes get up to 15 degrees. For descent it's about 2.5 degrees nose down...if that. But in an emergency descent you could see decent rates of 5000 to 6000 per minute and "whatever" it takes as far as pitch. Maybe 10 degrees nose down?

We fly the airplane to both A.C standards and as per the AOM.

Generally speaking... it's no turns below 100 feet, between 100 to 400 feet a maximum bank of 15 degrees and above 400 feet a maximum of 30 degrees.

And as one captain said every time he gave me control...."remember smoothness counts." :)

When you descend, climb, accelerate or decelerate it can give a sense of turning.
That's why a non instrument rated pilot lasts about 45 to 90 seconds in cloud. You learn to trust your instruments, not what your inner ear thinks. :)

I mailed your book today!

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. I'm glad my book is entertaining and informing that inquisitive mind of yours. :)

After being off nearly a week, I'm going flying tomorrow. I'm off to Vancouver for my first layover of the month! I'm happy and my wife is happy. lol
Even the beverage math looks good. :) (According to one co-worker...I shouldn't infer a pilot may have a beverage (BEER!!!!!) on a layover. And yes I'm directly my shots).

Captain Doug

Edwin said...

Captain Doug,

What is the difference between the AOM and FCOM?

And who approves the airlines SOP? The countries aviation authority or Aibus? Perhaps even both?

Hope you'll have a great Vancouver layover. My weekend consist of visiting schools and decide where I want to spend the next 3 years studying!


IanH, did you get my e-mail? Sorry for the late response.

From the Flight Deck said...

Edwin. At AC we only use the acronym AOM (Aircraft Operating Manual). Not sure who uses FCOM (Flight Crew Operating Manual). We have a FCTM (Flight Crew Training Manual) and a FOM (Flight Operations Manual) but no FCOM. :)

Here in Canada it's Transport Canada that approves our SOPs and gives us our operating certifcate. Of course we adhere as much as possible to the
aircraft manufacture, but all companies add their own touch to things.

Good luck with your school choice. My middle daughter is doing the same.

Yes, I'm looking forward to my West Coast layover. :)

Captain Doug

getjets said...

OFF A WEEK!!!!Well, it must be nice't cha have to actually fly those planes to rack up hours worked....your wife is happy, your happy, off to Vancouver huh...your not inferring a pilot can have a Beer while on layover, BEER(which can mean "1 beer", or "more than 1 beer")doesn't it have that built in plural meaning thing with it??? but what do I know...enjoy your layover, and beverages(its all in pacing yourself) the way, will you be doing your laundry(reference your book,page 3)lol Would you mind explaining........ "And yes, I'm directly my shots" from last post to getjets???? What are you inferring.....Captain???? (disclaimer)>> This post is for entertainment purposes only. ^j^

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. On page 3, I talked about doing laundry because I was between overseas pairings. Plus I was commuting so a laundry was a must! :)

As far as directing my shots, this was way before you arrived on the scene. It referenced a co-worker who wanted Captain Doug to portray the airline pilot
as a top notch professional with no imperfections. But my intent has always been to personalize things. That doesn't mean "airing dirty laundry" (there's that laundry thing again) but portray things pragmatically. That's all. :)

Captain Doug

getjets said...

I know why you were doing laundry silly...clean laundry is a must!!!!3 quarters change from a dollar meant 1 load of laundry, back in the day ;( so the "The Top Notch best Pilot in the Northern Hemisphere with Zero imperfections" gig wasn't perfect...your portrayal of "View from the Flight Deck" is right on...^j^ and that doesn't make me an Arse kisser


Thanks Captain for the response!

Looking forward to lots of learning!

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. Thanks. I knew you would see my point on this. Perfection is boring. :)