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!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Addendum to...stressed pilot post...

I was thinking of this article yesterday during the crazy high winds we had in Ontario. Apparently the wind gauge here at YOW broke.

Also had a nice flight into YVR on the A321 today. Whoever was doing the landing greased it pretty good.

Still pondering a career in aviation, I just don't know what I want to do exactly. Not sure if I can handle the pilot life.

-       Craig M

Craig don’t let my last post scare you. And I hope it didn’t!  Even though we are labelled to have the most stressed profession we are also deemed one of the mot revered, respected, trusted professionals out there. Just the other day I went to get papers translated by a little old Italian lady (my executor work is still on going) and I asked about pre-payment. She said, “oh you are an airline pilot, I trust you. “

Wanting to be a pilot is more than a passion, it’s a disease! Actually, it should be listed in the medical journals as a known mental disorder. LOL

What other profession would people be lined up to fly an airplane for next to nothing and thank the owner for the opportunity?

Starting off is fun. Sure most of us rack up a huge debt, but you are hanging around types doing and loving the same thing. Then you get your first job flying for poverty to build up time, but you are working with cronies doing the same thing. The camaraderie is second to none. You share stories, dreams, and all of you look to an airliner passing overhead and think, “one day!”

You start moving up through the ranks, you get promoted, and your logbook gets thicker. By golly you almost have some respect. Many of your “buddies for life” will move on. All the moving and starting from scratch with yet another new “rinky-dink” company will get you closer to that ultimate airline job.

But then reality sets in. That girlfriend wants to get married. She is putting the claws in you. You are now chief pilot for some corporate operation making about $120,000. You have status, good pay and you are engaged.

Then...the call comes. Here in Canada, that would mean Air Canada. (Okay I fly for them so I’m biased). They want you to start next week, move to Toronto and pay you one third the salary. What do you do? And believe me I’ve flown with many that went through the same thing.

Now comes the stress. You are on line, you are married with one infant and the baby was up all night. Crew sked calls at 5:00 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. check in. You’ll be gone for four days.  Your new bride looks at you with jealousy and resentment as you will be escaping sleepless nights, staying in a nice hotel and perhaps going out for a nice meal and maybe having fun...maybe. The unpaid bill pile is stacking up, your wife does not know anyone and you are leaving her Christmas Eve.

But if I had a dollar for every grown up that took me aside and said, “Doug, I wish I pursued aviation” I would have a very big bank account which would even make my “boss” happy. LOL

Choices! You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. :))))


Anonymous said...

Good to hear you still enjoy the profession- there are many out there, particularily on forums, that rant about how they hate flying and how no one should pursue it. I am one of those in debt guys...multi ride in a week, one year of school to go. Lots of camraderie and friendly wagers on who is getting hired by a regional first. The US economy is finally turning around- Mesaba Airlines was at my school and they want our grads with only 300 hrs! The future is looking good for aviation!
Thanks for writing- I have followed the blog for months- I enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

It's okay, Doug, you didn't scare me much at all. My main worry is the scheduling part of it. I've also been looking into a career in ATC a bit recently. Applied for a summer student job at NavCanada, but haven't heard anything back yet. Fingers crossed they haven't passed me up yet.

I'm still only 20, I'm sure I'll mature a bit more and my thoughts will change about things.

By the way, I'm all for Airbus, but I'm headed to the Boeing factory in WA tomorrow. Ever been?

- Craig M

Cheesecake C-CAKE said...


Captain Doug you have just mentioned almost all the things I think about flying including the words "one day" when looking at a jetliner. I can see that there are no shortcuts to any place worth going

I am supposed to be studying for my exams but now after reading this post my mind is on flying airplanes hehe

Congrats to you on making your dreams come true.

Anonymous said...

"Live the life you've always imagined."

Excellent post--I hope it inspires many to persevere in pursuit of their dreams.



Bas said...

I've got nothing more to add either Cheesecake :) You've said it all Captain! :)

'One day!'

Anonymous said...

200 000 came and went so quietly...

I wonder who the lucky visitor was?


Christer said...

When you described leaving the crying kids with the wife while heading to the refuge of a nice hotel etc., I thought you were describing my career Doug. While I can't relate to crew scheduling knocking on my door, some of the family dynamics are the same when it comes to being away from home. Hats off to you guys:)


Ken Fung said...

Another excellent post!!

Craig Ritchie said...

Every occupation has its positives and negatives. But I can't think of many careers that can match the positives associated with being an airline pilot.

Of course, I must confess to being more than a little biased here .... as someone who was torn between chasing two dreams, and chose the other one.

Chris Gardner said...

Done my civic duty today I just voted. Speaking of elections do you inform the passengers of the results while youare flying.

From the Flight Deck said...


I hear you about those aviation forums. I would like to post one looking for runners for a charity event but I know some one would turn it around and make seething remarks. Especially with the atmosphere as of late. No thanks. :(

I also saw Delta is forecasting a huge pilot shortage. After all, it's the baby boomer pilots (includes me) that rule and they have to move over for generation X.

Emirates is also recruiting big time. Maybe this boon I have been hearing about for the last 30 years has finally arrived. I hope for your sake (and mine) it's true.

Dan please let us know how things work out...so keep in touch!

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Craig M.

A job with ATC? You'll find many controllers have their pilot license.

I know it's a tough go here in Canada. Can you say politics? (I'll stop right there!) :)))

No, I've never been to the Boeing facility. I heard it's worth the visit. There was a chance of me going last summer but things feel through.
A captain with BA invited me. He too ran a blog. But his blog, he himself and his offer - vaporized.

I guess that's the virtual world for ya!

Enjoy that tour!

Captain Airbus :)

From the Flight Deck said...


Thanks for the kind words!

And I agree wholeheartedly, there are no shortcuts. I'm amazed how many starting off in this
business think there is a pill that gives 3000 hours. Nope, just elbow grease, determination and a little
bit of luck (or anything else you want to call it). :)

I know you work for a large phone company part time and I want to share a "positive" note.
Two days I opened up our phone bill. Twas $1905.00!!!! Yes, you read right.

When diesel daughter had her phone stolen in Mexico the culprits racked up $1200 in roaming charges. Bell (oops I mentioned the company) will reimburse me $1000.

I still had to fly extra hours yesterday (Cancun, Mexico and back) to pay for the other portion of the bill. :))))

I would love to throw the five cell phones I pay for in the, in the....wait a minute my cell phone is ringing.

Hold that thought. :)

Thanks C-CAKE :)

From the Flight Deck said...


Yes, I too hope it inspires those to persevere with their dreams - whatever they may be. :)

Thought I'd mention this quote I came across
yesterday while flying from Cancun to Toronto at FL 380 abeam Charlotte, N.C.

The flight deck was pretty quiet even after Captain D's "controlled nap" over the Gulf of Mexico. :)))))

The first officer pulled out a book he bought in the Downsview (Toronto) aviation museum. My book sells there as well. (I still have to land my book in the aviation museum of Ottawa).

This gentleman, Philip Gray, was selling his book, Ghosts of Targets Past. He flew as a Lancaster commander in WWW II. (I sure hope I will be signing books in my eighties). :))))

What am I trying to say? Well a caption caught my eye while scanning through his well written book.
The author wrote from his heart. He mentioned about love for the war, love in general.
This song played on the radio while he courted a reconnaissance officer, Judy. But again it too applies to aviation.

I fall in love too easily
I fall in love to fast
I fall in love so terribly hard
For love to ever last

My heart should be well schooled
It's been fooled in the past
But still, I fall in love too easy
I fall in love too fast.

Sure it pertains to "love" but it sure hits the nail with the "love of aviation."

Captain Doug getting philosophical at FL 380 :))))

From the Flight Deck said...

Bas. Yes, "one day!" :))))

Captain Doug

P.S I see you are working hard on your blog! You're even getting a few comments!

Check out Bas's blog!

From the Flight Deck said...

Anon II.

I can't tell who the winner of the $10,000 is for being the 200,000 visitor.

Oh well, I guess I'll have to keep the money. LOL

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...


You pegged it! It's not just flight crew who must leave home. Look at the passengers.
Lots of them don't want to be there, but it's part of the job description...and I thank them for it. :)))

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...


Thanks for the positive feedback. Have I seen your name here before?

If not, welcome! :)

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Craig Ritchie.

I concur, being an airline pilot is dynamic and it's why I love it! No day is the same. And yes, there's perks!

Sounds like you came to a fork in the road. I hope the other path you chose was a good one!

"Someone should make roads without forks in it. It sure would make life easier!" ....Captain D

I like that quote. It's a keeper! :)

Cheesecake C-CAKE said...

Captain Doug,

Sometimes I wish I can wake up one morning and find my logbook pages miraculously filled in. Wouldn't that be something.

Having your phone stolen is definitely a bad experience. For a teenager not having a phone for even a few days is frustrating. I bet the look on your face must have been priceless to see that bill lol.

Several days after you picked up your daughters phone from my not-so anonymous store I had my phone stolen too.

In-fact, it was stolen from me at gunpoint in the store while they wiped the rest of the store clean. It took sometime for me to snap out of the whole incident.... But atleast it makes for a good story :)

I hope that doesn't deter you from coming back there. Those guys probably won't strike twice in the same place.

......Anyhoo I wish you the best in your next adventure. If you ever need some accessories for your phones let me know and I'll give you a crazy deal.

From the Flight Deck said...

C-CAKE. Your story trumps mine big time. Wow!

It would deter me for coming back BUT since you are offering deals......lol

Seriously, you've been through some trying times. I hope they nab the guys!

I'm off to the East coast tomorrow.

Looking forward to the Maritime scene.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...


I took toute la gang out to vote. We now have four eligible voters in the house.

I inform passengers of hockey, football, soccer (football) and baseball scores.
Not during the regular season of course, but who won for the year...most certainly.

We request the info from flight dispatch.

And tonight I would announce the PCs got in with a majority. Time will tell on that one. :)))))

Good look everyone!

I'll be in your neck of the woods late, late Wednesday night!

Captain Doug

Craig Ritchie said...

Captain Doug,

Forks in the road are always good. It keeps life interesting :-)

Craig R

From the Flight Deck said...

Craig M

I hear ya! Along with the potholes, twists, dead ends, detours, roads paved with gold, less taken roads, and sometimes one asks "what road?" LOL

JetAviator7 said...

There are many more ways make a living flying than the airlines, many of which are every bit as interesting and rewarding.

Never give up the dream to fly - if you do you will regret it forever, trust me!


All Things Aviation

From the Flight Deck said...

Jetaviator. Good point...there's more to flying than that illusive airline pilot position.

And you are so correct in saying...never give up!

Captain Doug...glad to to be flying for the airline I aspired to since grade seven. :))))