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!...

From the smallest to the biggest and a whole lot of years in between!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A full day...

Gate 43 where Captain Doug parked the A321 with Cyprus Bowl ski hill in the background.

Lots of snow sits on the nearby hills. Apparently six ski hills are within two hours of Vancouver. 
Vancouver was recently awarded the world's most liveable city...yet again.! Believe it or not Toronto ranked fourth in the world and Calgary placed fifth. I flew to all three yesterday. Maybe it's the airline putting us on the top of the list? Kidding everyone!!!!

Weather Network

Yesterday had me meeting Kelly Noseworthy and cameraman Dwayne from the Weather Network at our simulator building. I think the interview outside the simulator went well but inside it was like a "bad ride" getting very sour. I recruited a "sim tech" to run the show. But Murphy's law came along for the ride so it was glitch after glitch. No wonder I don't take it up for practice sessions. It's too frustrating.

Kelly interviewed me almost four years ago on jet streams. I sat in the right seat and she was my cutest captain. Now I sit in the left seat with her stealing "cutest F/O" award. 
The clip should be out in a few days. 

Off to work...

Then it's off to work..a 5:10 flight to Vancouver in a near full A321. The flight was smooth and the seat belt stayed off except on the descent into YVR. I nonchalantly mentioned to the F/O I love flying into this airport and wouldn't mind being based here. I looked over at him and I wasn't getting the same feeling. LOL

After a two hour pit stop...

Gee, YVR is nice. Lots of eateries, free wifi, lots of windows, art and the washrooms are well above airport standards. I think many resort to comparing this beautiful airport to Toronto's. One flight F/A yesterday described YYZ as a "cavernous vault." Funny for the most ethnic city in the world it has to be the most sterile.

Off to frigid YYC (It can't be that frigid - it ranked fifth) :)

Light snow, northerly winds and frigid temperatures greeted us. We flew a full A321 onto ILS 34. My meteorological senses were tingling. I asked for runway conditions. The guy in the jumpseat, a union safety officer, called it up for us... "90 percent bare and dry on a 160 foot centreline." Tower asked us to clear off on taxiway Charlie 2 - a relatively quick turn off. But when captain Doug
was on final that "bare and dry" runway had windrows covering most of the runway turning it white.
I thought to myself..."that turn off ain't going to happen." Sure enough with max reverse and solid braking we see sail by. As we clear the F/O made a great point..."those guys are here to serve us, it's not the other way around." I cuss under my breath..."it's time to update the runway report." 

We set the park brake on sked and make our way to the hotel. There I met "YYC Dispatcher" who posts very constructive comments on my blog. What a great guy! (Yes, I know you will be reading this but it's true). He held his own talking shop with my F/O and I. Great way to end a full day...good conversation with debriefing beverages. 


Chris Gardner said...

I have a fair idea how you became a pilot but I am wondering how did writing spark your interest into a becoming a writer and a good one too. speaking of Calgary I am flying there in May to visit a Family member and yes I am flying with Air Canada on those "Jungle Jets". The reason why is that since I do like sitting in the window seat and I dont like climbing over the poor sap sitting in the middle seat. Happying flying, Chris.

getjets said...

Hey Captain Doug....what's with all this cussing under your breath.....if your gonna cuss..make it count...love the spunk you got....
Look out for those A380's tomorrow...
misstwa ^j^

Daniel said...

Nice pictures ! Vancouver is really nice on descent, with the mountains and scenery to see.


I am living your post that you said a few blog post's back. Getting into YHZ is harder then any other airport I have ever expierenced. My brother is off on 176 and the rest are stuck with a 1 open seat CRA. Not gonna happen, unless miss connections :)

Were thinking of going via YYT and taking an early flight to YHZ, but I have a question related to the dispatch/flightplan.

The weather is fair in YYT, however if he can't land , on communicator flight package - ( Clicked on ACA632 on communicator and it shows WXX/WNDS/RWYS - out look fair - altn YHZ ) But on the flight plan it shows YUL, which one should I believe for ACA632? I am up for that because if it diverts to YHZ, bonus, my dad and I are getting off.

( I hope you get this soon LOL Also, apologies for the mistakes, little laptop !)

Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Captain Doug,

Pleasure meeting you and your great F/O as well last night, thanks for all the kind comments!

Weather hasn't changed much since you were here last night:
CYYC 240200Z 04004KT 6SM -SN FEW025 OVC065 M20/M25 A3021 RMK SC2SC6 SLP331

Hopefully CYOW is treating you well tonight before you head to warmer climates!

YYC Dispatcher

P.S. Thanks again for the beverages!

Daniel said...

Nevermind, we got, although it wouldn't take a genious to realize that it was windy. The pilot just planted the Jungle Jet down on 34 and litterally almost stopped just short of G. I am not enjoying this 5 hour stopover, overnight, its going to feel real good to get home after this trip..

Daniel said...

ATC might be there to serve us pilots but we need to work together to get the best outcomes! CRM includes the resource at the other end of the radio!

jack said...

Hi Captain Doug,

This is my first comment so I will make it brief. One of your earlier posts you were talking about how some new hires go right seat on the Embraers while the other become reserve pilots on the long-haul fleet. I was wondering, once these reserve pilots gain enough experience, do they go right seat in the A32X or Embraer, or do they go right seat in one of the heavies?

You also talked about the reserve pilots going to the 767 and 777. Do they no longer train for the A330? Or is that a Vancouver thing? And do the pilots have a choice.

Thanks in advance

Cedarglen said...

Doug: Hope yo have having a decent trip and delighted that you hooked up with (YYC Dispatcher). Visits with our own kind, (In any profession) both off the recorder and lubricated with chilled fluids of choice can be great fun. Yes, YYC-Dispatcher often shares profound observations. Ha! A long road trip these last 24 hours and I managed to miss ALL of the nasty weather. Damn lucky. I stayed up far too late last night, reading your book. A fun read, Doug. I guess I knew more than I thought, but I have still learned a LOT! For anyone interested, it really IS a worthy read and gets 4 STARS from this self-loading cargo. If one thing is clear the author is in love with AC. Careful readers will understand why. I recommend the book to anyone with an interest in flying, pointed end or otherwise. Good job, Doug.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Chris. I'm in LAX and sorry for the tardy reply.

There is an urban myth out there, one has to be a "Shakespeare" to be a writer. Not so.
You have to have ideas, be inquisitive and be ladened with perseverance.
For years, I thought writing was only for the "artsy fartsy" types. After all, my background was heavily ladened in sciences and aviation.
But with age comes a will to share. Writing for me... allows me to convey.

I hear ya about the Embraer. Passengers really like it. With two seats abreast, and as the first aircraft in our fleet with TV screens, they were an instant hit.

Captain Doug delayed in LAX

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel (YHZ) By the time you read this you would have been home for days. I'm getting slower to respond.

That info you read about an alternate is written by a layman for the public.

What you read on the flight plan is gospel. We can change our alternate with a blink of an eye, if need be.

I'm hearing more and more about how tough it is to get on flights in/out of Halifax. Just confirms my decision not to commute even more.

Speaking of things going a little amok, my flight back to YYZ is delayed due to snow.

From the Flight Deck said...

Another (Daniel)

RE: CRM and ATC. I agree! In hindsight, we should have told tower we were an A321 and with runway conditions as they were, Charlie 2 taxiway may not be doable.

From the Flight Deck said...


Ahhhh, they don't become "reserve pilots" but become "relief pilots."

Again, these pilots do not go where their experience dictates, they go according to their seniority.

You could have a 10,000 hour pilot as a cruise (relief) pilot. But if they are junior in the pecking order then that's what they will be awarded.

Many think positions are predicated on merit, nope, it's seniority.

Yes, they train "cruise" pilots for the A330 but there are no openings. It's what is happening at the time.

I hope I answered your questions.

Captain Doug

P.S Welcome!

Daniel said...

They announced before boarding that our flight could be diverted to Halifax. A few people decided that it wasn't worth it and decided not to go.

Thanks for the answer :)

From the Flight Deck said...

YYC Dispatcher. Again, pleasure meeting you!

Minus 20 C ?
For the fifth best city in the world, you guys sure like the cold weather. :) Then again, there's been studies where frigid weather brings a baby boom nine months later. LOL

My F/O took me shopping here in LAX. I won't tell you what I bought but the bottles of wine were only two bucks each. Oooops.

Maybe there will be a next time?

Until then, thanks for your comments.

Doug delayed in LAX.

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. Saw a few of those "bad boys" here in LAX.

There was some cussing going on over Denver at Flight level 360 last night as we were running into continuous light to moderate turbulence. The flight was just over six hours with much of it in bumps. Twas a long night for Captain Doug.

I'll try to keep the cussing to a minimum tonight. :)

Although my flight is an hour delayed and it's day four of a four day pairing.

Just donning my uniform for the mission.

Captain ^D^

From the Flight Deck said...

Craig (Cedarglen). Thanks for buying, reading and promoting my book! Yes, you do know more than you think in aviation and I'm glad I upped that knowledge level. Again, thanks for all your kind and inspiring words of wisdom!

Captain Doug in LAX about to launch for YYZ