Flight plan

......My flight plan....

My blog is to inspire and motivate those who have a love for aviation. I will attempt to virtually open the flight deck door and allow a peek behind the scenes. And please help make this blog interactive by sending in comments. Don't be shy! :)))))

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Again, this blog is for aviation enthusiasts so welcome aboard!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Checked out on Sarasota, Florida

Well I thought my repertoire of Florida airports (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach) included Sarasota. Wrong. Looks like yet another notch is added to my airport list. Apparently we fly there only six months of the year. 

This sign was posted on  SRQ's (Sarasota) bridge prior to exiting to do the walk around.
In a nut shell, it said "Shhhh" please be quiet!


After getting home from Cuba at 2:00 a.m, show time for a three day pairing started at 2:00 p.m the same day. My F/O beat me to flight planning and I saw he was zooming in on the weather radar. Looks like we were going to have  "meet and greet thunderstorms" in the Southern U.S kicked off by the polar front. Our routing took us downwind of these convective creatures. Pilots like to be upwind of anything and that includes me. :) A phone call to dispatch asking whether we could plan a more westerly route was met to the same tune talking to the boss when she is angry....silence! :)
"Earlier flights have been picking around them," I was told. And I'm certain they did... but one factor was not entered into the equation....daytime heating!!! Yes, my meteorological senses were tingling.
Like the boss, I didn't get anywhere with the dispatcher, but once on the flight deck we received an amendment for additional fuel, apparently the "meet and greet thunderbumpers" were intensifying....hmmmmmmm?


Another treat which added to the work load, no APU (device in the tail to condition air, supply electrics and start the engines) That meant an "airstart" at the gate, push back from the gate, disconnect the towbar and do a cross bleed engine start for the other engine. Translation...higher workload, delays and more checklists. Yeah...baby! It also translated into one heck of a hot cabin in Florida with a full load of pacs.

While enroute the F/O did a great job dodging our "meet and greet" party. Yes, we flew upwind of the bubbling ominous atmospheric mass. One company flight flew over Savannah, Georgia where it was thought to be a "hole" but "holes" fill in and they encountered moderate turbulence. 

After departing Sarasota and confirming in my flight log Captain Doug did not have airport Alzheimer (Sarasota was never before on my flight plan) ATC kept us low because the upper airspace was ladened with aircraft dodging thunderstorms. It meant for a bumpy ride. ATC was very apologetic but I made an announcement promising smoother air.

We get back to Toronto and parked at a gate where it had to be the furthest from Canadian customs. 
Actually, furthest from anything. :) After passing through customs, getting a flight plan for Halifax, Nova Scotia and being met with a completely full A320 on the last flight to Halifax we push back 15 minutes late. Yes, I made an announcement explaining things. Two commuting flight attendants were both pleading for the jumpseat and I'm glad to say both of them got seats. The jumpseat went out empty...a rarity for Halifax bound flights. 

Getting late 

At 2:00 a.m we were set up to do the visual approach on runway 32...after all... the ceiling sat at 7000 feet AGL. But a strong Northwest flow prevailed so again my meteorological senses were tingling. (I must get something for that tingle..lol). I used to write the forecast for this airport and it just so happens the forecaster did mention snow showers. Well guess what decided to pay us a visit while being vectored for a visual? Yes, "meet and greet" snow showers. We were IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) at 2000 feet AGL so we had to be vectored to the ILS on 23. The F/O demonstrated a text book crosswind landing!

I made it to the hotel room at 3:10 a.m

The life of an airline pilot.....

Jump seat in the folded position

This is where all my friends sit...notice it's empty. LOL

A picture of the jump seat as requested by an avid fan. Only pilots and flight attendants are allowed. I can't even have the "boss" in the flight deck....she is deemed a "risk." I knew there was something "fishy" about her....LOL (Kidding!!!!!) :)


Anonymous said...

Those are cool pics of the "jump"...it really is too bad no one (besides pilots and FAs) can join you in the flight deck.

I would be reeeeeally quiet. I would have a HUGE smile on my face, while I took everything in...

From the Flight Deck said...

Anon. Tis a shame I can't bring my wife or kids in the flight deck.

But I guess it's the games we play and the rules we abide by. Pity.

I guess we can't change what used to be.

Thanks for the gesture..... :)

carlton said...

How many of us followers would 'love' to sit there!!

That was the BEST part of my career in the cabin, getting to dead-head on the jumpseat. The captain once made me do the flight deck PA ; ) I particularly loved sitting on the jumpseat when doing scenic approaches into Nice and Geneva to name but a few.

You are a lucky man!

Daniel said...

I was surprised that it snowed overnight. Like, almost coming up to April and snow !? It was 10C last year at this time! Haha.

getjets said...

Captain...as with life....seems the weather tonite will not cooperate...and may be downright Stormy....take good care! misstwa

JB in KTPA said...

I would also love to sit in the jump seat..so since we cant, the pic will have to do. It actually looks a lot more comfortable than I thought it would be. So Capt., when a fellow pilot is sitting behind you, do you ever feel like he/she may be critiqing(sp?) your airmanship? If my memory serves me correctly (and my wife says I have no memory!!!), weren't you recently denied a jumpseat ride?? Just curious. Good thing you weren't in these parts today - nothing but heavy downpours all day - a good day if your a duck, not a pharma rep!!!!

Happy Landings


Hello Captain Doug!

I remember vividly poking through the ceiling on a Dash landing into YSJ when I was invited up at 17 yrs old....I only wish I knew more at the time so I could have asked more questions after the landing.....wow...

and it wouldn't be me without a question....what is the history behind the flight deck seat covers??

YMM YYZ YSJ tomorrow departure 1305!!

Safe flying and CB dodging!

CAT III Approach

ps....an idea for a post in the future....maybe you could explain the virtues of visual, vectoring and ILS approaches and the challenges you face with each....

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. We noticed the thunderstorms, and you're right things would be downright stormy. But also with life....things work out! Our inbound flight to Halifax was delayed one hour, consequently causing us to miss our connecting flight to Orlando out of Toronto. Crew sked sent us back to Halifax for the night. So things do work out.... :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Carlton. I am certain most of this blog's readership would love to sit in the jump seat. :)

It's a shame it's not an option, and I agree with you wholeheartedly...I am a lucky man!

Sometimes one has to reiterate our fortune because we tend to get caught up in the wrong things.

getjets said...

Yes, Captain, it did work out for you last evening and i am glad!

curious.....your jumpseat looks so warm and fuzzy.....would one's 'SHADOW' be deemed "too risky" to have a seat and take a ride...and isn't it, that we should not be afraid of our own shadow's....so while all manner flock over the borders.....best to only take seat when it's 12 o'clock high and there's no shadow, or keep it tucked tightly to yourself...I think I will take that up at the next 'Board meeting' (LOL with an attitude)
misstwa ^j^

getjets said...

And it's that very reason that I Thank you Captain Doug, for giving us that "peek" into your world...and sharing....it is so APPRECIATED!!!!!!!!


From the Flight Deck said...

JB in KTPA (pharma rep) I was thinking the same thing when I took the pic....that seat looks comfortable. Especially when some of our "old birds"
don't have head rests on the pilot seats. I've been in some jumpseats (CRJ and the Embraer) where one must be a catorshinist lol

As far as pilots sitting behind us and critiquing....you betch ya!

When I was an F/O I tended to be a little intimated, but now that I'm captain...it's my ship...they can go...........Sounds pompous but....
Plus I always ask the F/O if they are comfortable with "one in the jump."

Yes, I was recently denied a jump seat but not because of me personally (at least I hope not) but because my name was not listed on the manifest. It's a security thing. :)

As far as thundershowers, I was slated to fly to Orlando last night. But our inbound flight to Halifax was an hour late. So we arrived in Toronto late
subsequently missing the Orlando flight. Now I'm in Halifax all day. It's much cooler, but at least I didn't have to contend with thunderstorms. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach.

Flight deck seat covers? You mean the faux sheep skin look? Suppose to be there for comfort, but they stain easy. Just sat in one yesterday and there were coffee stains in the middle of the seat...at least I'm hoping it was coffee!!! LOL


P.S Visual approaches versus ILS. I'll take an ILS anytime. Visual approaches can get you into trouble sometimes. Yes, it's a good topic for down the road. :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. Shadows are more than welcome! No matter the time of day.

And how does that saying go? "Only the shadow knows." :)


P.S I'm glad you liked the "sneak peek."

whywhyzed said...

I have been lucky enough to get the jump seat twice on AC.
First time was courtesy of a good friend who was skipper on the 320 at the time and we just happened to meet at the gate by chance. That was IAH-YYZ. Spent the entire flight up there.
Second time was really interesting – SFO-YYZ. I was standing in line at the Duty Free, behind the skipper as it so happened. The store was right there are the gate. He paid for his purchase and went onto the aircraft. As I was paying for my stuff, the cashier and I noticed that the skipper had left his credit card with her. I convinced her to give it to me, and said I would return it safely to him, since we were all about to board anyway. I waited until we were airborne, and called the F/A and told her that I had the Capt’s credit card. After the expected “yeah, right” comment, I said, “well, just go and ask him if he’s got it”. So, I got an invite up to the jumpseat for the remainder of the flight.... abeam Thunder bay, they informed us that YYZ was closing due to severe thunderstorms, so it was interesting to see the goings-on in terms of flight planning, etc. At one point, YUL looked bad also, but we ended up there for the night anyway.
Too bad this doesn’t happen anymore.

getjets said...

whywhyzed...Great Story!!!!...."happenstance"...because ya just can't plan for those opportunities....and proof....ya just never know....

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. Clear skies prevailed when we returned to YHZ last night. Shot the LOC only on 05 with that persistent
Northwest crosswind. Again, it was the F/O's leg. When they fly first, I get all the easy legs back to Toronto.
There is a madness to my offering the first leg. LOL

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. Sounds like you couldn't write the script any better as far as entertainment value.

The workload goes up exponentially when dealing with diversions. Luckily..... statistically speaking diversions are very low.

I concur! Too bad it doesn't happen anymore as far as the jumpseat. And believe me, we pilots miss the interaction too.

Sometimes the chemistry is not there in the flight deck and with the third person it can turn things around big time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

Catching up on your recent posts, here. Good to see you "checking out" some new fields - variety being the spice of life and all that, or so I've been led to believe.

Pity about the jump-seats, but then I guess it's the times we live in - and not likely to get any better any time soon.

Take it easy - going for coffee ;)

whywhyzed said...

I have another story (Doug, hope you don’t mind me highjacking your blog)
One summer I took my family out to YVR, and by luck our plane was AC’s most famous one – fin 604. Halfway through the flight, the kids were invited up front for the usual show and tell. I brought my two boys up, and there was another Dad with his boy there as well. I let all the usual questions get out of the way...”how high are we, how fast are we going, where are we now, etc etc”, and then in a carefully chosen moment of silence, I loaded and fired:
Me: “So! This is the Gimli Glider, right??”
Capt: “ Ahem... grumble, mumble..”
Me: “Am I right? This is the one, right? This is the Gimli Glider”
The other Dad: “ What!!?? Really??”
The other Dad’s kid: “ What’s a Gimli Glider, Dad?”
Me: “Oh yeah, it is.. fin 604 C-GAUN... look it up, they even made a movie out of it”. (Can you tell I was/is an airplane trivia nut?)
Capt: “OK, everybody.... time to go back to your seats now..”
I’m pretty sure back in those days crews were told not to say too much about that fateful day.... anyway, here she is on her final flyby after an infamous career carrying loudmouth Dads who know just a little too much ;-)

JetAviator7 said...

I used to fly into Ft. Lauderdale and Sarasota when I flew for a corporation in Michigan. T-Storms were always an interesting greeting when we got South of Atlanta.

Things sure haven't changed much over the years, have they?


All Things Aviation

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. Highjack away! As long as it fits the theme and it does!

Watched the "fly by." Nice shot.

Yes, I could see the skipper now dodging those questions. :)

That's why we would have a flight attendant stand behind the visiting group. When people overstayed their welcome or if the questions went astray we would give the flight attendant the nod. They then knew what to do. LOL

From the Flight Deck said...

Jetaviator7. Firstly, I never welcomed you officially before...so WELCOME!

Secondly, I checked out your site. Very impressive! I watched your recent book review.
I must buy that book, Fate is Your Hunter by Ernest Gann. I have heard nothing but good things about it.

If you don't mind, I will include your link on my blog.

As far as thunderstorms, you make a great point..."things haven't changed over the years." One is bound to find a few when heading south from Canada. :)

That's why I like "transconning" a lot. :)

Again, job well done on your site.

Keep in touch!

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Hello Anon (love your undercover code) :)

I agree it's the times we live in...."we live in interesting times" as the proverb goes.

As far as the "spice of life" line I'll stop there.... :)

And speaking of coffee, I'm out to get one before I launch for Toronto.

Just one leg and I'm off for about 15 days.

getjets said...

Another story....i love it!!...course I had never heard of the "Gimli Glider....and i checked out the video and other related sites..well thank the lord nothing tragic happened.i gotta tell ya, i smiled thru the whole story.....Thanx WhyWhyzed
Captain Doug,Thank you for YOU...... and a very safe trip back to your homebase!!!!misstwa ^j^

Anonymous said...

Off for 15 days? You've only just got back!! It's ok for some... I don't begrudge it though. I know what it's like climbing out of bed at early o'still dark, even in the summer time. Then jetting off to another new destination - in my case, usually driving off to the same cruddy motel I existed in the previous week... and the week before that...

By the way, that's what I meant by the "spice of life"... jetting off somewhere new. I don't know what you were thinking of. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it! ;) Have a good one..... or fifteen and a coffee!!

Cheers... (still) anonymouse

From the Flight Deck said...

Anonymouse (Still) :)

We bid for vacation once a year. Unfortunately, I can't hold summer or Christmas vacation so I allot all the vacation to the end on the vacation year...April.
That way if vacation comes up I have a chance of getting some prime time stuff. For example, today open vacation popped up for June. I might move a week to June.

The only glitch, everyone is now doing this trick or leaving unbid vacation in the open so the company may assign vacation. Captain D may get vacation in November.

I know, I know....vacation is vacation and I should not be squawking. :)

I knew what you were talking about in reference to the "spice of life." :)

I better not mention I have the last week of April off as well. :)

Cheers to that coffee, cruddy motels and finding spices. :))))

getjets said...

Captain Doug, the writing's of "Spirella" you have posted along side.....that there is less statisfaction, perhaps if it's always "smooth sailing"...and lord do I agree..but just let circumtances take away that "smooth sailing"....certainly I agree, more value with accomplishments not so easily won....but today, I am hugging up to that "smooth sailing" ...human nature i guess........ok ok ok, my "pity party" has officially ended!!!! now where was I.....oh do enjoy your days off Captain...tomorrow i'll be back to kicking some......misstwa ^^j

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. It's a lovely poem. I recently read it from a "friend" of a person who frequently reads my blog and my Facebook. T.H you probably know what I'm talking about.... :)

getjets said...
This post has been removed by the author.
getjets said...

disclaimer.....again......i do not recommend commenting under the influence....yea yea......i know, blah blah blah or should I say,,,blog blog blog...it was not a good day yesterday....but now its in the history books....good day all, and to our Captain Doug!!!

From the Flight Deck said...

Getjets. Never a good idea to "drink and drive" and for pilots we adhere to "12 hours from bottle to throttle."
But for blogging, forums, Facebook and the internet as a whole, the sky is the limit.

Should be a new concept..."writing under the influence." :)

No harm taken. :))))

getjets said...

ADVICE TO BE HEEDED!!!!yea...i do not think i could have said my CBA"s ooops ABC's if i would of had to.....lol
Captain....your avitar is PERFECT!!!