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!...

Yes, we get that close!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On the Go in S...F...O

Just finished a long layover in San Francisco. The F/O emailed prior to the trip and asked if I was up for a bike ride. "Why not!" I told him.

Our approach to runway 28 Right was in "400 and 2" weather. (Ceiling overcast 400 feet above ground with visibility 2 miles in mist). I prefer the weather to be IFR going into SFO instead of VFR conditions like you see here in this pic. Why? Because ATC will try to ram more aircraft on the approach and it ups the workload big time. SFO is one airport where some unique approaches have been observed. Last time flying in here I had the TCAS squawking away as a aircraft flew under us to pick up the parallel runway.

Captain Doug posing in front of Alcatraz. Yes, that is a blimp going by. One can take tours at $500 per person. It has FARMERS INSURANCE GROUP on the fuselage. Is it a fuselage for a dirigible? We rented the bikes near our hotel and YES we got an airline discount. My F/O arranged things. usually it costs $36, but we frugal pilots got them for $26 for the day.

Another neat shot of Alcatraz during our 11 mile trek to the town of Sausalito. Klint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz did a great job as convict Frank Morris. No relation...that I know of. My F/O did the tour on a previous layover and he said its definitely worth it. Apparently you should book well ahead.

The trek took 11 miles according to an APP my F/O had on his iPhone. Years ago a captain and I walked to Sausalito. My F/O could not believe it. But I told him the captain had the "gift of the gab" and he entertained me the entire way.

Advection fog teasing the Golden Gate bridge. Many think this type of fog is only inherent to the East coast particularly in Eastern Canada where the cold Labrador current butts head with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. On the West coast the cold coastal waters is due to up-welling so most airports along the West coast will see this type of fog now and again.
This is a shot of the rugged coast on the south side of the bridge looking west.
It was cold in that fog and wind. No wonder Mark Twain said, " the coldest winter I spent was a summer in San Francisco." :)

This shot is on the north side. My F/O pointed on the micro climate i.e. the vegetation on this side was much more barren. Many think the Golden Gate bridge is gold in colour. Nope. It's named Golden Gate because of the channel below. The bridge is reddish. Just like many assume the black box on an aircraft is black, but in actuality it is bright orange.

On the North side looking back. Sausalito is a quick downhill ride from here. Captain Doug got a little too carried away with the speed going into town. I must have been showing off to my F/O 15 years younger. :) Men! Pilots!

We decided to take the ferry back to San Fran but not before Captain Doug bought my partner in crime a beverage. (Noticed I didn't say BEER!) The sun was warm, local talent strummed a guitar and the local scenery kept our heads turning. (A pilot must always keep up their scan) :)
In fact, two "natives" starting chatting us up. It usually takes less than five minutes to find out we are pilots. :)

Then one asked, "is there any book out there that talks about the many aspects of aviation? " Captain Doug could not believe the question. I quickly reached for my business card. They must have thought we were con artists. (Maybe escapees from Alcatraz?) After two beverages it was time to ready for the ferry but one of the "natives" bought extra refreshments. I think she took a liking to my good looking, young, in shape F/O. :)))))

The island of Alcatraz with the Golden Gate bridge in the background as the day came to an end. For dinner I took the F/O to a neat eatery. We even had two flight attendants tag along. Twas a rare day. I introduced them to the "Stinking Rose" restaurant where everything is ladened, and I mean ladened, with garlic cloves. I wrote about this restaurant in my enRoute column and they did not let us down. I'm certain the flight deck radiated with garlic the next day. :)

The life of an airline pilot.


TgardnerH said...

I'm currently way out here in Texas, but I'm from the area of San Francisco, close enough that we took a class trip or two there. As for the airship, from what I can glean from wikipedea, its the "envelope" containing the gas. A further interesting (pedantic, but I think its interesting) distinction: blimp is a ship that holds its shape purely by the pressure of the gas within, whereas a dirigibles holds its shape by way of its rigid skeleton. The airship you saw was a Zeppelin NT, an example of the latter variety.

From the Flight Deck said...

TgardnerH. Well done! And thanks for supplying the links. So there is blimp, dirigible, airship and Zeppelin all with unique definitions? Interesting!

It's okay to be pedantic especially if it's in a good way. :)

I'm readying for my "red eye" from LAX to YYZ in my Airbus, airliner, jet, aluminum tube, aircraft, airplane, heavier than air turbojet transporter. Look who's pedantic now.... :)

In all seriousness, thanks for the interesting comments!

Gone Flying

Captain Doug :)

Zee said...

Cpt Doug, just wanted to get your thoughts.

I am turning 27 later this year and I want to start my flight lessons this year and hopefully work my way to the airlines in not too long. What do you think the chances are for someone my age to have a full career with one of the majors?

Kevin said...

I just moved to Chicago after spending my undergrad and grad at Berkeley (I'm originally from California). How I miss the SF Bay Area and the spectacular juxtaposition between natural landscapes and urban development. As a structural engineer, I never get tired of the Golden Gate Bridge. It truly is an engineering marvel. Did you know the Navy originally wanted it to be painted black and yellow so that it would stand out in the fog? Thank god they went with "International Orange" instead!

coreydotcom said...

Hi Captain Doug,

I live in Montreal and I have the opportunity to go to San Francisco almost every year. It is my second favorite city in the world!!! I absolutely love it. When I was there last September, I also rented bikes and I think I did the exact same trip because I have the exact same pictures!

Have you tried the Blue Dotty café in San Francisco. It's a breakfast place (very small) and there's usually a long line up (I had to wait 1.5hours) but I thought it was well worth the wait.

Thanks for sharing your stories, I love them!


From the Flight Deck said...

Zee. Your chances are great but don't dilly dally. :)

If you reside in Canada there are some great one and two year aviation diplomas. I wouldn't be taking a four degree unless you live in the States where it is a must to have a degree to get on with the majors.

Check out my posting on the new hire profiles. Note the average age for an Air Canada new hire is 34 to 35.


Time is on your side...for now!

Now get going! :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Kevin. Interesting fact about the Navy and their colour scheme.

I never get tired in visiting SFO.
It's up there in the touristy thing to do.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Corey in YUL.

Thanks for the heads up on the Blue Dotty cafe. I'll take a look next time. :) Just in from a LAX "red eye' and my F/O steered me to a diner called "Eat at Joe's" in Redondo beach. Kind of a neat place where you potentially sit with others in long benches.

A mother sat down with her child on my bench. She had a different look about her. (Yes, even for California) LOL
When I walked back to the hotel I saw her and her daughter enter a business.
It was the local "Psychic Reader."
I thought to myself, "I'm staying away from there." :)

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Feedback is always welcome...but maybe not from a "psychic in LAX." LOL

Captain Doug

getjets said...

one week,your taking us to YYT, the next, SFO...I get to visit these places, keep the pictures and not leave one teensy weesny "carbon footprint"!!! Where are the "thank you cards????? ha ha

The pictures are spectacular Captain!!!!!..especially your picture...So you finally got out on parole AND they let you take the prison bars with you!!(reference captain Doug's pic).....LOL....yea I went for the cheap laugh....seriously...the pictures are beautiful, love the "south coast side of the bridge" one!!!!! it's my second runner up!!!!!!!!

What I don't get...... is why it took so long (5 minutes) for the "native's" to find out ya'll were pilots?????? do you realize that it takes a 'FULL' 5 minutes make 5 minutes....ha when all you had to say was, yea we're "bus driver's"...30 seconds...tops(god I hope your smiling)...ok airBUS DRIVER'S....ok ok....Pilots!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember once Captain, you asked me...why I had not gone for my pilot's license...besides the fact I'm afraid of heights(joke), and you also said "AND DON'T SAY YOUR TOO OLD"....now I Know I am too old!! Point is.. I love your encouragement and advice for your followers like "ZEE" who have questions about their possible future..he's going to be 27, and you tell him "no dilly dally" sometimes the best advice that makes the biggest impression is the simplest, along with your willingness to share....!!!!!
As for misstwa, she fly's vicariously through Captain Morris, and it's really working out well for me....so where we going next????^j^

carlton said...

Great photo's - I love that part of the USA (ever driven on highway 1? great coasal scenery....

A couple of summers ago we had a (blimp, airship, zeppelin) in London, offering sightseeing flights of our capital city. Whilst hardly the grandeur of the Hindeburg, it must have been great fun (alot safer too!)

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. I mentioned it only took five minutes because there is a standing pilot joke out there....it goes like this....

(For those who think I demean the pilot position and the profession...turn your head)

Question: How do you know who is the airline pilot at a cocktail party?

Answer: You don't have to... because they will come up to you and say, "hi, I'm an airline pilot."

End of joke....laugh here.... :)

As far as words of wisdom, yesterday I received a phone call from a "wanna be" pilot stuck in a rut for over ten years! He told me parts of his story and it would make one cry. He is now a cleaner at Terminal One where I fly out of.

I encouraged him to tell his story on my blog. Who knows, someone out there could offer him a position.

Thanks Getjets for your neat take on things. :)

Captain Doug

P.S I bet the "South Side" picture reminded you of Newfoundland. :)

Christer said...

Great pics Doug! Thanks for posting. This has definitely got to be one of the big perks of the industry you're in:)

Question- last flight you talked about was a red eye out of LAX. Did you fly back to YYZ from SFO, then out to LAX, or did they send you to LAX to take the flight back? Does AC ever have you do different city pairs like that on the same trip, utilizing UA or someone else to shuttle you around?

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Carlton. As far as highway #1, yes, indeed! About three years ago, the family and I flew to LAX and drove to SFO. The road sure has lots of bends, but the scenery is spectacular.

We then flew out of SFO back YYZ but it took two days to get out of Dodge. A snowstorm in Vancouver crippled our flights.

Captain Doug

CYYZ Guy Jeff said...

Hey Doug, here is my first entry for a test. I can't wait to make it out KSFO one day. I always thought the airport was a challenge as the runways form a tic tac toe grid. Have you ever arrived there witnessing the rolling fog coming in from the Pacific Ocean?


From the Flight Deck said...

Jeff. You are up and running! Yes, put San Francisco on the "to do" list. As far as fog making it's way to the SFO airport. Yup! You can tell in the controllers voices as things tighten up and go IFR. They got a lot of airplanes to handle and with the option
of "visual separation" is gone it can be a challenge. :)

I've also seen it roll in fog prone St. John's (YYT), Saint John, N.B (YSJ), Halifax, N.S (YHZ), Sydney, N.S (YQY), Vancouver (YVR) and so on and so on. :)

Captain Doug


P.S2 Now you need an avatar pic.

BPR said...

Hi Captain Dane,

Love the blog...I'm yet another aspiring pilot, just in case you don't get enough of those here :) Used to live in SF, huge fan of the Rose!

From the Flight Deck said...

BPR. Thanks for dropping by and the kind words. Welcome! Captain DOUG. :)