Flight plan

To wish you were up there...then to achieve it...trumps everything...
Captain D

......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! :)))))

If for any reason you have an issue found within, send an email and I will rectify it. [email protected]

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

My style...

My Style

Even though my writing comes off as lighthearted and carefree when dealing with aviation issues, one can rest assured the "T"s are crossed and the "I"s dotted when it comes to weather, safety and maintenance issues. If I wrote in a stoic style my blog would turn into an aviation manual. And who would read that?
.... gone flying..........

YYZ 05

YYZ 05
"Pic of the day" sent in by Craig R landing on runway 05 (Toronto)

Runway 05

Like Craig R, I landed on runway 05 at 10:00 p.m last night during a route check. I was suppose to stay in Calgary for the night. Even though I work in the most regulated industry I know, it sure is dynamic.
Yesterday, one of my flights was subbed to an Embraer, so I deadheaded and then once deadheading we were drafted to fly to Toronto.

Can anyone guess what that yellow hook like device on the wing is?

Gone flying again....

Saturday, June 25, 2011


UNABLE....the word I curtly told ATC in reference to turning right toward a demonic turbulent infested thunderstorm. For some reason, it reminded me of Captain Sully’s retort prior to plunging in the Hudson River. I guess I didn’t want to plunge into THAT thunderstorm.

Miss Moody in the last few days took on many guises trying to win her way with me. Doesn’t she know I’m married? LOL But for her...it doesn’t matter. And for some reason the movie Fatal Attraction comes to mind.  :)))

She tried to woo me 100 miles north of Mexico City, but I kept my distance giving her a wide berth. Heck she even threw in St. Elmos fire to up the mood. I wasn’t biting.

I thought she would leave me alone as we headed north to Montreal. But she changed her Mexican accent to a soft French “bonjour Captain D.” How did she know I love that accent? :)))) But the F/O and I scuttled around her again. That woman is relentless!

One more leg, Montreal to Toronto to end our four-day pairing and I knew there would be another confrontation with the "iron lady."

We get airborne only to see one heck of a nasty dark ominous killer cloud wreaking havoc over the city of Ottawa. There are two traffic corridors in this busy Toronto-Ottwa-Montreal triangle. Ms Moody sat her fat butt over our nation’s capital reluctant to head northeast. We wanted to head upwind i.e. to the Southwest. Any pilot wants to head up wind of thunderstorms and one Montreal controller let us do it.

But the next controller had nothing to do with it. “Turn right now. You are heading into the other southern corridor (and American Airspace)” were his paraphrased words.

“Unable!” I retorted. Many think we are to serve ATC, but they are there to safely get us from A to B expeditiously. The last few days all of the ATC centres were receptive to headings and altitude changes to stay away from Ms. Moody...until our last leg. This controller was not budging. Sometimes these guys need reminding their offices aren’t moving at 500 mph, they can’t be hit by lightning or be shaken and rattled in  severe turbulence only to scare the “you know what” out of the customers and ME!



We continue on our southwest heading.


Finally, he comes back... "maintain you heading and contact Boston Center. You will have to deviate 250 miles into American airspace."

Before I left I tried to soften the friction. For those that know me, I am NOT contentious but when it comes to weather you better pack a lunch because I am an all day job.
Many pilots think the weather man is always wrong. Don't trust them. My answer to that...."would you like to have a chat?"

Our track from Montreal to Toronto

I could hear Montreal, Toronto, Boston and Cleveland ATC watching our "blip" swim upstream like a spawning salmon and saying, “WTF?”

I switched over to Boston ATC anticipating a lecture...but a reassuring “welcome” greeted me. Large deviations are stressful...for the pilot, for the controller, for the passengers as they have tight connections and for FUEL. A sense of calm must prevail. 

We stay clear of the thunderstorm that closed the Ottawa airport and caused detours into Montreal.

Both the F/O and I looked back to where our track would have taken us. We both sat in total comfort knowing full well we made the right decision touching down only 15 minutes late.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “better to arrive late in this world than early in the next.”


Wild Blue said...

Here's the flight aware track:


Captain Doug said...

Wild Blue. I have the same link but the picture doesn't download properly.

It did at first but it must be my MAC doing my head in.

Thanks for the response. I'm standing by for your take on the American aviation weather network.


Craig said...


Hopefully this is what you were trying to get: http://i.imgur.com/BfjRK.jpg

Lucky for my dad he switched his flight from YOW-YUL-Brussels (whatever the code is) from last night to tonight. No way he would have made his connection with that storm closing things down.

Also, all those references to your talks with ATC reminded me of this clip I listened to a few weeks ago. I thought it was rather amusing.


- Craig M

getjets said...


perhaps this drawing on a sleepless night will do.....

Anonymous said...

Hey Doug,

Your last two posts have been awesome, sounds like the weather in North America is churning the atmosphere up!
You mentioned you saw St El. Elmo's fire, is that a phenomenon you have come across a lot during your flying career!

Stay safe from the CB's!


Foggy said...

'morning Doug,

Your Mac not showing the image file could be a browser "plug-in" issue. If at first, etc., try another browser. I'm getting problems viewing certain .pdf files with "Chrome" but they show with "Dogfox"!

A VERY good call on the "unable". At a secret RAF Lincolnshire AD base, we were playing "silly people" at very early o'dark (and stormy with lightning seen and thunder heard) and "the boss" got most upset when he was told that we could not and would not deliver "live" m i s s i l e s during such conditions. We called it "Lighning Risk 1", I guess similar to your "RED" met condition.

Sometimes, the people who think they are "in charge" have to been told otherwise.

Captain Doug said...

Craig M.

That was the picture I was trying to get! How did you change it to a JPEG?

I modified my post. Thanks!

However, I tried your link and it takes me to the "sign in" page.

I bet you can fix this one as well. :))))

Captain Doug said...

Getjets. Craig M helped me out. But thanks for taking the initiative to get me the original link.

Sleepless night? You are on the computer too much! "Number one" keeps telling me the same thing. :)))

Captain Doug said...

HI Anon (Ed).

I see St. Elmos fire about 5 percent of the time when nearing thunderstorms so yes, it's kind of rare.

Static on the radio also tends to accompany this phenomena. Just what you need when you are requesting vectors, altitude changes, etc.

Thanks for checking in. :)

Captain Doug said...

Morning to you Foggy!

Interesting anecdote! Thanks!

I guess thunderstorms wreak havoc even for the military. Funny, Ms Moody, can even overpower a missile launch.

I hear ya about "who's in charge." That conundrum occurs in our household all the time. LOL

But as far as ATC, I still give these guys "two thumbs up" in most North American airspace. :)))

They really are top notch!!!

Bas said...

Hey Captain,

That flightaware track is cool, do you check it often after a flight? (Why would you lol). Is it true you flew the A321, quite a long aircraft!

Love the weather posts! :)


Captain Doug said...

Hi Bas.

No, I'm never on Flight Aware. Although I just received an email from a gentleman who said people can track a lot better if I had ADS-B (Automatic Dependant Survaillance-broacasting)
on board. We only have ADS on the overseas fleets. Yup, it was an A321... another reason I was reluctant to go near the thunderstorm.

Sounds like you are a weatherman at heart.


whywhyzed said...

Doug -- if you have Mode S (1090ES), then people can see you with their ADS-B receivers. Available on line, or some people build their own.

There is a whole amateur ATC community out there, similar to train spotters. Along with a VHF scanner, you can play ATC at home!

Amazing what's out there!

Captain Doug said...

Whywhyzed. I agree...it's amazing what is out there! Wow!

Foggy said...

Doug, has an aircraft you have been flying had a lightning strike? As one who dealt with bits that go bang, I generally stayed as far away from a risk as was possible. Working in the storage and maintenance facility, we had to evacuate the storage and prep sheds immediately a "Risk 1" was notified, and we were not allowed back until the risk had passed.

The closest I've been to a strike - nowhere near bits that go bang - was about 75 feet. I was in an upstairs office watching the quite torrential rain coming down when the building opposite received a strike. There was a very bright flash followed very quickly by a very loud bang and all the telephones "squawking" - the building hit was the unit telephone exchange and the strike was thankfully on one of the conductor poles. The 'phones survived; the conductor pole didn't. Very impressive, but I'm glad I was not inside the building that was hit!

getjets said...

Captain Doug,
A Big Happy Birthday to your lovely daughter...Kirsten:)))))

love the ground level pic


Captain Doug said...

Thanks Getjets.

Even though my wife was in labour with our eldest for 30 hours she has since given us zero grief.

"Diesel daughter" on the other hand....now that's a different story... :)))

getjets said...

you forgot to knock on wood....lol


Captain Doug said...

Getjets. Don't need to....she takes after a certain person I know and he did fine in life.... :))))

Craig said...


I used print screen, opened it in Photoshop, cropped it and saved. I think that's the simplest way of doing it.

As for the audio clip: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=NP5N6CHD

That should work. It's just a small little 1mb clip.

- Craig M

Captain Doug said...

Foggy. We were hit on the departure out of Paris, France when I flew the A330/A340. We elected to continue to Toronto.

Had a few hits as well in a Dash 8. Apparently the Dash 8 was more conducive to strikes because of the composite.

Interesting story about the "unit telephone exchange."

Our house was hit here in Ontario years ago. My wife was on the phone. It knocked out a couple of our phones but not the one she was using.


Captain Doug said...

Craig G

I gotta get myself photoshop. Downloaded your audio clip.

Sounded like someone had a chat to tower about a go around...

getjets said...

"amateur ATC community"....thanks so much whywhyzed:)))))

tensions sure are high at JFK on the live ATC...in the last few days.....after the week past!!!! slower reads...

think a glass of wine will do the trick

Foggy said...

Thanks for the info, Doug. I'd heard the -8 was a bit of a "strike" magnet.

Many happy returns to Kirsten.......

Captain Doug said...

Foggy. Thanks for the kind "returns." :)))

Captain Doug said...


Hi Doug,
I just came across your blog, what an interesting, witty and informative read.
I look forward to following your narrative in the future.

I don't know whether or not Air Canada A320's are ADS/B equipped but an
interesting thing for your blog, if the bus that you drive is equipped with ADS/B, could be
to put in an iframe within your blog a "Virtual Radar Feed", for example if you look at
FR24 http://www.flightradar24.com/ they have the iframe code ready copy and paste.
This is just a little idea that could be interesting for your readers to be able to follow you
in the air.
I know that Canada and the U.S. don't have many short haul AC with ADS/B onboard at the moment
but there are changes on the way and this technology which is widely adopted in Europe
will soon become compulsory in North America.

I run a Virtual Radar website and forum http://radarspotters.eu/ and have taken the liberty
of posting a link to your blog on the website and forum, if this is not ok then please let me
know and I will remove the links.

Well thanks for a brilliant read Doug.

Kind Regards.

coreydotcom said...

To us frenchies here in YUL you are "Capitaine Doug", Captain Doug. Bonne nuit!

Captain Doug said...

Coreydotcom. Merci et bonne nuit aussi. Nice touch!

Captitaine D :)))

Brett.Wingerter said...

ug, just a random question here, do you have a 13th row in your airbus?

K1MGY said...

Craig, that clip (http://www.liveatc.net/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=9019.0;attach=6036) was something I did not at all find amusing.

When controllers are arrogant, they throw their attitude at the expense of safety. If a crew feels that what is happening is unsafe and they speak up, ridiculing/arguing with them throws CRM out the window.

CRM is not just on the flight deck - it's an attitude that must exist on the ground as well.

I would, if I were in charge, have fired that controller on the spot.

This leaves me with a sinking feeling that one of these days something terrible is going to happen, all because the ego of one of these tower controllers was hurt.

Andrew said...

Capt. Doug,

Question - What's the difference between Mmo and Vne? Is Mmo just the max. cruise speed?

getjets said...

Yes Captain Doug....he did do fine:))))))))).....in life....de"spite"..or maybe in "spite"....or outta "spite"!!!

Kick ole mr negative to the curb, and hope the curb is down hill abit...lol


rubykhan said...

Hi Capt D:

Congrats to Air Canada and the crew for winning the Skytrax World Airline Awards at the Paris Air Show for being the best international airline in North America. Thought to share the link and congrat you and everyone at Air Canada: WAY TO GO!!!


Captain Doug said...

Ruby. Thanks for sending this link. The problem with AC is we don't blow our own horn enough.

There is a cold facade associated with us, but underneath it there are tons of great people with big hearts.

Thanks again Ruby!

Captain Doug said...

Brett, we do have a row 13. All of our fleet has a row 13 except the 777s.

Here's a link to our fleet.

Check it out!


Craig R said...

As a matter of interest, one of AC's Star Alliance partners (ANA) is about to take delivery of its first B787, and has authorized this video showing the interior layout. I'm not sure if it has row 13 seating, but it's an interesting teaser nonetheless:


I'm really looking forward to AC receiving its first B787s, in 2013 I believe (is that still correct, Captain Doug?) I expect the seating arrangement will be a bit different on the AC aircraft, but the video shows many of the features that have been discussed on this blog previously, including the large windows that darken by touch instead of using a separate pull-down shade. Very cool airplane.

Captain Doug .... any chance you could bypass the B767 and leapfrog directly to the B787 when it arrives?

Captain Doug said...

Craig R.

That's a neat link. Thanks!

You are correct. The last quarter of 2013 they will start to show up.

With our proposed TA (tentative agreement), there will be a wide body and narrow body division equating into equal pa in the wide body.

The only glitch is, all the senior pilots will want to take it for a spin.

Translation....not likely... but good things come to those that wait...so I'm told. :)))

I agree, Boeing really thought outside of the box with this one.

Bas said...

Hey Captain!

Looking back at Le Bourget @ Paris, Airbus really did super great with the A320neo. Will Air Canada order them you think? Over 600 have been ordered so far!


Captain Doug said...

Hi Bas. There is none on the horizon but the way the B787 is taking its time to arrive...one never knows.

600 orders? Wow!

rubykhan said...

You're welcome Captain D:

I'm sure those good hearts are individuals/colleagues you'd yearn to work with. Team work has led to the Skytrax award and may there be more success to come. :))) Congrats dear!!!

Captain Doug said...

Ruby. It does take teamwork. About 55 departments are needed to get an airliner airborne.

And as far as awards, maybe there is one for best aviation blog? LOL

Captain D

Craig said...

Looking at that fleet link and I see they have the Air Canada Express livery on all the Jazz stuff. Any idea when they're actually going to start painting them?

- Craig M

Ruby Khan said...

Yes, there is an award for the best Aviation blog, and that day would soon come Capt. I can visualize the scene saying (I'm a visual person, lol, can visualize instantly any scene, lol).......saying the award goes to, ladies and gentlemen plz put your hands together for our very own, king of the Aviation blog,the captain of our hearts, our coach, mentor,inspiration, yes you guessed it right.............our very own Capt Doug Morris!!! Applause!!! :)))Cheers!!!

Captain Doug said...

Craig M. Good eye. I have yet to see one painted. Maybe their Q400s will be coming with the new livery?

Captain Doug said...

Ruby. You are a charmer!!! I'll get you to write my acceptance speech. LOL

Captain Doug said...


Mmo and Vne

Vmo is your normal maximum operating IAS followed by Vne your never exceed speed IAS

Mmo is your normal maximum operating mach no followed by Mne your never exceed mach no.

Mmo for the A320 is Mach .82

Ruby Khan said...

Sure Captain. That'd be my pleasure. lol. :)))

Craig R said...

Q400's operating from YTZ (Toronto Island) have the new livery. Have yet to see it anywhere else.

Captain Doug said...

Craig R. That new livery is "Sky Regional" not Jazz. :))

Captain Doug said...


Well said about the "virtual aviation community." :))))

Elana has been certainly seeing some fantastic weather. A complete "180" when we all met downtown Toronto.

She will be bringing back a sun tan, that's for sure! :)