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"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Follower Alan emailed this cool video. (Turn up the volume!) They shot the SADDE SIX ARRIVAL but Captain Doug did the RIIVR TWO arrival. Actually the F/O flew. I worked the radios and enjoyed the scenery as I once again offered the only leg.

We also landed on 24Right!!!!

Please note this shot was taken at over 12,000 feet 50 miles back over the RIVVR fix.

Prior to entering flight planning, crew sked called saying our return flight was cancelled and we will be deadheading home early in the morning.

(And yes I followed the cardinal rule by calling home to give my wife a heads up. The rule is to always call ahead if you are going to return home early). LOL

The reason for the cancellation...proactive decision due to a pending Toronto snowstorm. Too bad, because I looked forward to my LAX Redondo Beach long layover. This month I did not bid one-day turns because the boss said I was home WAY too much. Hmmmmm…. :)

So here I sit at FL370 in J class. My F/O had to settle with the “other” section. It sure takes the sting out of deadheading as captain with an automatic upgrade. The F/O gets theirs based on space available. And yes, I think it’s unfair and yes I’ve been there.

We boarded the airport hotel shuttle and it worked its way doing the milk run picking up passengers at various hotels. The driver asked a full bus their airlines. “American, Delta, AirTran, United, etc “ were blurted out and then it came to the F/O and I. A pause. Then Captain Doug boomed out, “Air Canada the number one airline,” accompanied by a big smile. I did get a few smiles and chuckles back but most of them looked like they needed a Starbucks hit.

I boarded the flight last. I often wonder why many stand in line in the departure lounge and rush to wait in the bridge or wait for slow pokes to make their way in the aisles.

Plus I chatted up the duty free agent asking her about her job. Over the years interviewing people for enRoute I quickly realized everyone loves talking about their job. She was no exception.

I began to settle in seat 2C waiting for the question I generally get and I was armed with a reply. Sure enough as I placed my bags in the overhead bin, I hear, “hey, aren’t you suppose to be flying the plane?” Another pause. Then another big smile. Then, I boom out…”Because Air Canada is such a safe airline we fly with extra pilots. “ Well at least I got more chuckles in business class than on the hotel bus. Maybe I lack a true sense of humour, but passenger mood sure has changed.

Finally one lady joked, “I thought you were the automatic pilot.”

“No, there’s two of them in the flight deck plus two real ones. You have six pilots on board today.”

I make sure I finish jesting with a smile.


And speaking of snowstorms....

Here's YYZ's TAF:

FM020400 06015KT 6SM -SN OVC025 TEMPO 0204/0206 11/2SM -SN OVC015
FM020600 06015G25KT 3/4SM -SN VV007 TEMPO 0206/0209 2SM -SN
FM020900 05020G30KT 1/4SM +SN +BLSN VV002 TEMPO 0209/0215 3/4SM
FM021500 05020G30KT 1/2SM -SN BLSN VV003 TEMPO 0215/0217 2SM -SN
FM021700 02015G25KT 2SM -SN BLSN OVC010 TEMPO 0217/0219 3/4SM -SN

What does this translate into? Nasty stuff!

By 0900z the weatherman is bringing it down to 1/4 mile in heavy snow and lasting for six hours. The rule of thumb for snow accumulation is to invert the fraction.

So 1/4 means about 4 cm of snow/hour.

The media has been playing this "baby" up for days. And speaking of media Captain Doug has been asked to do an interview on winter operations for the Weather Network around noon. Right in the thick of things.


Jason said...

Wow thats some crazy weather, happy im flying in whitehorse (a Balmy +6 tmr) instead of toronto...just wondering whats the minimum amount of time required between flights for AC to get you a hotel

Jason said...

Oh and how fast is the wifi during flight? and do you have to pay for it as well?

Dennis said...

WOW. this is a very great clip- I wish futher clips of this kind ;-)

Best greetings from cold Germany


Good morning Captain Doug the snowman!!

I hope your A320 has four wheel drive...you may want to lock it in to head to CDF today!! hahaha.....
YSJ is going to get your leftovers this afternoon.

We'll be tuned in to TWN today for the interview....I think Chris St. Clair and the gang there have hit the nail on the head by bringing you in to talk.....the aviation perspective ( Captain Doug's ) on storm conditions is a welcome change from the snowy streets and highways.....makes people appreciate more why flights are cancelled/delayed and what is done to mitigate it. If Air Canada is not flying the storm going to be the reciprocal of "tickety boo" :)

Got your book, thanks! Up to page 63....kids are keeping me busy but nap time I get some reading in....really enjoying the read and the perspective from which it is written!

And it wouldn't be me without a question....when you deadhead, how much do you pay attention to the flight mechanics....do you find yourself critiquing the take off/landing/turns/engine noises etc? Do other pilots you know do the same?

Have a great day

the skiis are shined up and ready to go, from YSJ

CAT III Approach

getjets said...

Great video posted !!!Also caught it yesterday on another "aviation blog, so well shot, the fast pace, vivid colors and great music to match!!!View point so few of us get to see, really awesome!!and no rest and never a dull moment for Captain Doug these days as well! Thanks for posting the video,

Yesterday in the 70's here in South Louisiana, this morn...30's, yea a shock to our systems, but just can't imagine the misery with this particular Winter Blast for ya'll up North!!!! Been one Brutal Winter.."GLOBAL WARMING AT IT'S BEST"!! , It's "ground hog" day...Mr Punxsutawney Phil(say that 3 times), saw his shadow, so an early spring...."NOT"...Another one of those'urban legends..ha! Hope to catch your interview on TWN. Winter operations, huh, yea, "nothings operating!!!!" Finished your book, enjoyed it very much!! I highlighted many of your funny remarks, and interesting 'first person' views!! In case of a pop quiz...it's not memorizing answers these days...the trick is to know how and where to find those answers.. Keep up the great work Captain, is apreciated!


just watched the interview on TWN with my kids!

nice work....my oldest ( 12 ) thought it was cool that I had a book signed by the man on the TV!

CAT III Approach

p.s.. the fuel savings into YSJ today is huge....they're all cancelled :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Jason. We must get minimum crew rest (10 hours) even if we deadhead home the next day.

Also, if there is a wait of five hours or more we must be given a hotel.

I hope I answered your question. :)

What are you doing in Whitehorse?

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...


The "wifi" is still being tested on two of our A319s. Not sure about the speed but I think it costs
about $10 per flight. I also assume they will have to put filters on what can be accessed. :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Dennis. Hello from snowy and cold Canada!

Yes, that was quite a neat video!


Captain Doug

ddw said...

thanks for the video, very cool...I live in Redondo Beach, I am always up for a beer with a fellow pilot if you are bored! [email protected]

From the Flight Deck said...

DDW. I'm in Redondo Beach in the middle of the month. :)

Who knows...our paths may cross?

Does your airline (company) have a name? :)

Maybe you can send me an email?

[email protected]

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach.

As far as being in tuned with an airplane, I think it's part of a pilot's nature.

Flight attendants say we can be the worst passengers...asking to adjust the temperature, storing our bags, etc.

When we take off I stop and listen. I try to sense, listen and feel the take off. I also guess when we are at 100 knots and rotation speeds. I watch passengers treat it as ho-hum.
But as a pilot, we know it's a critical phase of flight.

So yes, many of us are "back seat" drivers. :)

Captain Doug

Cedarglen said...

Hi Capt. Doug,
Glad that you made it home, even if your "forgot" your airplane. To cancel a flt into known awful weather, even +/-36 hours in advance is a SMART move in my view. Someone at AC's operations really IS thinking ahead of the airplane. They mayhave to deadhead a couple of pilots (perhaps FAs as well?) but it is NICE to give the PAX that much warning. Maybe they can make other arrangements or stay home or... At least their options are better than sitting in a diversion lounge, wondering...
As for your personal PAs from seat 2C, I think your seatmate got you ! And that "J" seat has got to be more comfortable than the jumpseat. ??Does it bother you to ride in back, or do you think ALL AC pilots share your consumate skill level?
Sorry about any typos; messing with a new gonculator and keyboard.

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach.

I see you guys are next on the snow list. :)

Apparently TWN is airing some taped sessions now. I asked if they could send me a link.

I looked on their website. Nothing yet as far as links.

If you find something let me know so I can post it.

Thanks for the feedback!

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Getjets

I thought it was a great video because the weather was identical and we landed on the same runway. Though, I'm not sure what kind of an airplane it was.
I see they parked around gate 68 and we parked at 24. So it must be a fair size. Alan, who sent in the video, is wracking his brain to figure out what type it is. I know he will crack the mystery. :)

Yes, it's groundhog day. Wiarton Willie, our Ontario version, didn't see his shadow, so that's good news!

Thanks for the kind words about my book.
I bet your aviation I.Q went from excellent to superior! lol

The Weather Network is airing my taped interview now. Hopefully they will post a link.

Captain Doug

Cedarglen said...

Oh, yes Capt. Doug, I must rub it in a little... Westere Coast Range of Oregon today is bright sun, a few, very high whisps of clouds and surface temps of toasty low 50s. Even we are in shock. A day to do some of last July's chores, hardy har har. As for the book order, sending evevn a check (cheque?) way up their is a pain. I found some elderly Canadian currency, so will send that. I know, a bad practice, but $25 won't get either of us on a list of known terrorists. (Might be interesting to have an AC left-seater on a "No-Fly" list. Ouch!

From the Flight Deck said...

Cedarglen (Craig)

Yes, I was surprised and impressed how proactive the company was. I guess we cancelled about 70 flights. But it's now wreaking havoc on the East coast so I suspect more cancellations will be the norm.

I don't like riding in the back. Not because I don't trust the pilots, but if I'm going to be in an airplane, I want to be flying it. :)
It's another reason why I disliked commuting.

Have fun with that new keyboard. :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Cedarglen (Craig) Wherever there is a LOW there is a nearby HIGH. Enjoy!

As far as the "no fly" list....it's a list I hope to never make...in more ways than one. :)

Thanks for going out of your way to send payment.

Captain Doug

whywhyzed said...

I flew YYZ-IAD this afternoon (sorry to say, not on AC this time) and we went to the CDF of course.

I've been there before, but this time something was different -- they sprayed us with pink fluid, but it turned bright green on the wings and stayed that way until it blew off on the takeoff roll. Pretty weird colour.

From the Flight Deck said...


You got the "full meal deal" today. You were deiced with type 1 (pink or orange) and anti-iced with type 4 (bright, fluorescent lime green).

Passengers love the weird colour. :)

Captain Doug

P.S I moved a picture of the lime green Type IV next to this post.

Daniel said...

Hmmm, I quite like this snowstorm. Because of it, my 12 day break may turn into a 14 day ( Were on 13 day , today ) break from school. Although, I went and shoveled about 10 CM a few minutes ago in blowing snow - miserable. At this rate it should be a snow day a week, which I don't mind :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. 12 day break? What school is that?

Daniel said...

Friday the 21st was a snow day for us. We had exams last week , which I only had to write one, so really 11 1/2 days and including the weekends. We have a two week break starting the 12th to the 26th including the weekends, which we will be spending in the nice Caribbean sun. I think I need a more break time from school, don't you think ? :D

I go to Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour.

From the Flight Deck said...

Okay, now I see. Did Sidney Crosby go there?

Daniel said...

Yeap, he wen't to my Middle School ( Astral ) also.

Jason said...

Thats not too expensive i guess...and im flying a navajo doing survey work, a lot of fun in the mountains...

From the Flight Deck said...

Jason. Flying a Navajo in the mountains. Are you taking lots of pictures?

I have about 1200 hours in a Navajo. Looking back, it was kind of "on edge flying" but fun. :)

Aviatrix said...

I never knew that snow accumulation rule. Cool!

JohnN said...

Finally getting around to watching the video - very cool. Are there more out there like this? In even higher resolution - that would make one awesome IMAX clip.

Thanks for posting it.

From the Flight Deck said...

JohnH. It was a cool video. I'm sure there will be more out there. :)

Captain Doug