Flight plan

My flight plan....

This blog is to inspire and motivate those pining for the skies. I will also virtually open the flight deck door and allow a peak behind the scenes.

If for any reason you have an issue found within, send an email and I will ratify it!

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

And please help make this blog interactive by sending in comments. Don't be shy! :)))))

Not my license plate but "follower" Mark from my hometown captured this shot.

Friday, May 6, 2011

May's enRoute

May's is up...feel free to visit the site to comment: enRoute

Q: Are you in contact with other aircraft while up in the air? 
Dylan Renz
Most airliners listen out on a designated emergency frequency. When we fly over remote areas, such as the High Arctic or the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, we also listen out on a worldwide air-to-air common frequency. This is where chit-chat between aircraft is a little more prevalent. Here at Air Canada, we have the capability to send messages to company aircraft via data link.
Q: How do you ensure an aircraft is properly balanced? 
Brian Spreadbury
Pincher Creek, Alberta
Air Canada operates its own weight and balance department, dubbed “load.” Everything, including fuel, is weighed prior to takeoff. If the weight of the fuel deviates from what was projected by a certain amount – 300 kilograms in the case of my aircraft type, an Airbus A320 – we send load a message so they can readjust the final weight and centre of gravity. In addition, our passenger counts must jibe with load planning. Load tallies the total weight of cargo and baggage and sends the ground handlers a breakdown; then everything is positioned in the aircraft as recommended. Part of the information allows us to fine-tune our flight control settings as well.  
Q: What is that barking sound in an Airbus during taxi?  
Erin Palmeter
A device called a PTU (Power Transfer Unit) transfers pressure between two of the three independent hydraulic systems. Sometimes when the captain decides to taxi the aircraft on one engine, it makes the PTU work a little harder. The barking sound (and I admit it can be loud) is when the PTU gets a little overzealous. But, occasionally, a real bark may be heard from one of our four-legged passengers travelling in the cargo hold!  


K1MGY said...

Doug, when I "click here" on the Ask the Pilot logo I get.. the logo.

Looks to be missing a necessary hyper link.

Cedarglen said...

Doug: I like this month's questions - and your responses. While perhaps a bit 'dumbed-down' for your regular blog readers, they are on the mark, relevant and include excellent answers. AC is proud of you - and you know it.

From the Flight Deck said...


I didn't really intend to have a link there but since it says "click here" I fixed it up.

Thanks for the feedback!


From the Flight Deck said...

Cedarglen (Craig)

My enRoute questions are designed for the passenger in 22B. Having said that many frequent flyers and flight attendants love the info as well.

I guess it's just like the newspaper, T.V and most movies...it sits at a grade nine level.
But we all have to start somewhere!!!!

Cedarglen said...

Thanks, Doug. It works for me . Some weeks ago, you discussed brake settings, including #3, which would bring cabin contents into the cockpit, even through that super door. Please see a recent video from Boeing about brake testing at V1. (I'd include it but I don't know how). It is impressive and yes, I know that your 'little bus' can do just as well. That must be an "E" ticket ride. As always, you are On The Numbers! -Craig

Cedarglen said...

That meant brake testing on the new 747-8F at well over 975k pounds. -C.

From the Flight Deck said...

Cedarglen. (Craig)

I'll google it or I'm certain one our astute readers will find the link.

Airbus uses lo, med, max. We use max for take off in case of a reject but never on landing.
Brake setting #3 must be a Boeing thing. So it's the B747-800???

Nice bird!!!! I'd look really good in one of those. LOL

Oh well, one day, and I mean one day, we will see the B787.

Thanks for checking in.

I'm off to the Maritimes tomorrow. Just finished digging holes and setting four 12 foot posts in the ground for a trellis. The spring projects have begun!

getjets said...


Captain Doug, this is the site of the massive brake test for the 747-8....hope it goes through..just do the "clicky" thing and scroll down a bit....:)))

and like Cedarglen says...is very interesting!!!!
but, Craig... whats up with the 'little bus' comment......???
safe flying ^D^

little ole misstwa...over and out..

From the Flight Deck said...


Just another example of you having your finger on the aviation pulse!

Watched the video. Wow, no reverse, old brakes and an all up take off....

The brakes certainly looked toasty. :)))


getjets said...

Captain Doug,
listening to "Live ATC" at CYUL this morning.....how some of the controllers and pilot's exchanges are in another language...

Assume it is French

I remember a while back....a story about whether a 'go around' should have been taken instead of landing, during a very heavy thunder storm....

The "ATC" and pilots were speaking spanish to each other....and the debate was...

for safety...shouldn't they have spoken only English....(the language of aviation)
or because the flight was whithin a predominantly Spanish speaking country....the exchanges actually safer....

because both ATC and pilots in this case, perhaps were more comfortable speaking the language of their origin...
just something to think about



Hello Captain!

Read it yesterday MCO to YYZ on an A320....was a 321 on the way down, and TURBULENT with a capital T!!!! ugh ugh and more ugh...rhymes with Doug....lol

here's a couple....

What RPM's do your Airbus fans rotate at during cruise normally?

During the initial descent, is it me, or after a long flight, do the pilots intentionally rock the wings slightly to make sure all the controls are functioning as they should be?

Why is the tail section so much more turbulent than the front of the plane?

How many aircraft systems are redundant? ie. left and right side controls?

Just back from a wonderful trip with my girls, got the boat out of the garage, bring on summer!!

Great Enrout read by the way!

Happy Flying,

CAT III Approach

From the Flight Deck said...


Does the term "can of worms" mean anything? :))) Years ago, the right to speak French in Quebec was
a contentious issue. I'm amazed how well Montreal ATCers switch back and forth with ease and without missing a beat. But many pilots do feel there is a safety issue. I'm okay with it.

I was there today. Slipped in and out of there without a peep. And that's the norm.

I think I know the story you are referencing...but sometimes people make small things BIG things. :)))))

Captain Doug home from a two day pairing....

From the Flight Deck said...

CAT III Approach.

Sorry to hear about the bumps. Did they charge you any extra for them? LOL

As far as RPM's, "Jacques from Airbus" does not tell us this stuff. The engies are CFM 56s which are a very popular engines. In fact, their website claims an airplane with CFM 56s takes off every five seconds.
We go by percentage of N1 (N1 is the big fan speed). Today when I was trying to set N1 because of no autothrust it worked out to about 86 percent.

There's no flight control check on descent. :)

You wouldn't believe how many times we get a call from the back complaining it's a very bumpy ride in the back and we have not turned on the
seat belt sign. Most airplanes, especially the A321 is longer aft of the engines so the tail is going to swing a little more.

As far as redundancy...where do I start? Instruments, nose wheel steering, flight management systems, hydraulics, electrics, brakes, side stick...

The only thing the F/O doesn't have that the captain has...is the pay. LOL

Heard a good joke yesterday from my F/O. He said one captain told him "he was one stripe away from being good looking."

I thought it was funny....though it does hold some truth.

Reminds me of another joke. It starts..."oh captain, my captain..." I'll stop right there!

I hope Orlando was fun.

Captain Doug