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! :)))))

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!!!

Cool Pic

Cool Pic
For all of you trying to cool down this summer, here is a cool pic sent in by Adam the Winnipeger.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our airplane found Anchorage, Alaska!

Flight 538 Vancouver to Anchorage Alaska compliments of "getjets." My son had to retrieve the file from his PC because I still can't figure out to get it from my MAC. The map keeps shifting. 

Vancouver to Anchorage and back to Vancouver

Captain D gets to add another notch on the airport list! Plus, it’s my most northern airport. Anchorage sits at 61 degrees north just 300 miles south of the Arctic Circle.
We were bestowed a 319 to take to Alaska and back with the #2 bleed u/s (it runs part of the pressurization system) restricting us to 31,000 feet. I dislike this limitation because it lessons the options i.e. higher is usually better. 

The weather charts had isolated Cb’s topped at 25,000, but the big kicker is the “cumulus granite” along the route. In fact the highest mountain in North America is Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet north of Anchorage. Plus some of the MEA (minimum enroute altitude) sat as high as 22,000 feet. Hmmmm?

Some of the "cumulus granite" along route. An "undercast" layer blanketed most of the route.

So I’ll let you play captain. What would you do? And yes, the F/O never set foot in Alaska either.

What did I do? I cussed under my breath moody from being morning caffeine deprived and said…"I am going to Tim Hortons to get a coffee to see if I could get a personality.”  It took three Tim Hortons to find one that didn’t have a mile line up.

Some of the many glaciers seen nearing Anchorage

The F/O greased it on runway 14. Anchorage is no different from any other medium sized airport and ran a great operation. In fact, the terminal looked fairly new.

Looks like some Canadian geese made it this far north. Again, a beautiful  terminal.

Some "odd" passengers

What is the protocol for a new airport? Read the briefing notes. Here’s one paragraph I thought amusing, but really didn’t help me with the “big picture.” I must admit someone had a sense of humour.

“Contrary to info released in the last U.S presidential campaigns, the former governor of Alaska can not actually see Russia from her living room as reported."

Unfortunately large scale synoptic cloud blanketed the west coast of British Columbia and much of southern Alaska so our viewing pleasure was limited … being at a lower altitude we could have really taken in the sights. 

Luckily the weather in a 30 mile radius of Anchorage was gorgeous. Our alternate was the Air Force base about 15 miles away and on a clear sunny day it could add for some confusion. Two big pieces of real estate so close to each other threw Captain D off for a 'nanosecond' but my sharp F/O didn’t fall for it.

We had the honour of taking the lame bird across the Rockies to Edmonton, Alberta thereafter. Of course there were thunderstorms topped at 34,000 in the Okanagan Valley so a 40 to 50 degree deviation kept us out of the lumps.

The life of an airline pilot….

P.S I won’t even mention the night last night dodging thunderstorms (okay maybe I will), doing a “slam dunk” approach reminding me of my bushwhacking Navajo days but this time it was with a fully loaded A319 with one in the jump seat. Here's a pic. Ottawa (CYOW) to the north was womped by more sever thunderstorms later on, knocking out the power  in the city for hours.

My words to Montreal ATC last night (in a higher octave)...."I want down and keep me tight!!!" Translation, get me below the bases and keep me close (visual) to the airport. He threw out all vectoring altitudes and gave me full reign to the airport. He did a great job and knew time was of the essence....no time to dilly-dally. Those Cbs (Convective buggers) were minutes from pouncing. We neared the gate and the airport went into a "red alert." So close and yet so far. We waited 30 minutes to be marshalled in. Yeah baby, the life of an airline pilot. 

The other glitch.....we had to depart back to Toronto....yeah baby again!

...I'll stop there.....

Anyone out there want to challenge the salary of an airline pilot?

Captain D playing with his new camera for his "50th" with a mirror on the bridge. 


Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...

Hey Captain Doug,
Nice to see you were up North for a bit!! lol
Talking about new airports, Winnipeg is having the public test out the new terminal!! I can't wait for that!!! I will be taking lots of pics!! lol

Safe Flying,
The Winnipeger

Captain Doug said...

Adam the YWGer. Let's hope the terminal opens soon. Enough is enough as far as delays.

You guys should enter the rivalry Calgary and Edmonton have on the go. LOL

Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...

Captain Doug, I totally agree! They find every excuse under the sun to delay anything and everything!lol On their website it says the Terminal will open on October 30th..... Who knows... the time will come.. hopefully sooner than later! lol

Safe Flying,
The Winnipeger,

Craig said...


I love the pics. I'm guessing this is going to be a regular addition to your posts now...? I love that last hour into YVR with the mountains, though it's been cloud covered the last few times I've been there.

As for YOW last night, yes, that was pretty crazy. I watched the clouds and wind from my front step and it was nothing I've ever seen before. Maybe you saw this from the last day of our music festival http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfqpXNfywT4

- Craig M

Captain Doug said...

Adam the YWGer. I hear ya about the "blah, blah" excuses. It's equivalent to the B787 delays.

Captain Doug said...

Craig, My son showed me the video.

I too love the approach into Vancouver. The "Meadows" arrival is my fav. Maybe one day we will be allowed to film things?
I think some guys are mounting a camera, but I'm kind of unsure what the "higher ups" think of this. But then again, four cameras were used for the "Just Planes" videos.

Next time you watch all that nasty weather happening on the ground, just think there are pilots up there doing lots of "dipsy doodles" to avoid that stuff.

Thanks about the pics.

Craig said...

Hm, there's a few Air Canada cockpit videos floating around on YouTube. Filmed from someone in the jumpseat, I believe.

And of course I always think about the pilots during storms! I followed along on the flight tracker for a bit, watched some flights do circles, etc. Unfortunately the YOW ATC feed was down on Liveatc.net or I would have given that a listen as well.

- Craig M

Captain Doug said...

Yes, I think you are right about videos floating around. I'm not brave enough to film and post it.

There are many "eyes" that land on my blog.

I try to keep everything kosher.

Daniel said...

I've read the pilots briefing notes a few times and sometimes I will come across something that is pretty funny. At least they have a sense of humor :)

Any YHZ turns coming up next week?

jack said...

Pardon me if I am wrong, but doesn't Edmonton still use the cardboard boxes donated by the homeless persons in Calgary for their terminal?:D

I know Shopping Mall Santas can make up to $200 per hour, which is $70 more than the average neurosurgeon and just a bit less than a 777 captain. Ughhh, the world is ridiculous.

Just yesterday I was trying to do First Aid on a woman who came into the pool after being bit by a dog. I then found out that if I did that, I would then make the pool legally liable, which is a big nono. Instead, I gave the some bad-aids and they went to the ER. Then I started swearing about law, not realizes that one of my colleagues was training to be a lawyer :P.

Brett.Wingerter said...

Tim Hortons ftw!!! Hey Doug an air Canada airbus video just came out from just planes, are you in it?

Bas said...

Awesome post! It's so cool you've got a camera now! ( I like the fluor vest by the way, haha). Have you got a nice flight deck picture for my blog maybe? :P It's missing a nice flight deck picture in the slider LOL.

I believe Captain Dave from FL390 flies to Anchorage a lot, and I saw the airport in the Flying Wild Alaska. That's some tricky flying out there!


Captain Doug said...

Daniel. I'm off for a few days and then set course for San Francisco. No Halifax turns.

Captain Doug said...

Jack. Maybe I should think about being a shopping mall Santa on my days off? LOL

Captain Santa

Captain Doug said...


"No joy" as far as me being in the video. They were all "supervisors." In fact, there must have been lots lined up to do the video. One flight flew with two captain supervisors.

I did email the company (Just Planes) asking whether they would be interested, but they said they don't pick the pilots. It's the fleet manager and unfortunately I am not in that "circle."

I've mentioned this before, most pilots love talking about their job but past events have killed the opportunity to put it up on the pedestal.
Looks like the guys did a great job in the video.

As far as a coffee, I think I need to set course for Tim Hortons. :)

Captain Doug said...

Hi Bas. Flight deck picture? I have many. What are you after in particular?

I must start reading Captain Dave's blog. He has been around for a very long time as far as "blog years."

He doesn't post much but he sure has some dedicated and well versed followers.

But I have some great people visiting my blog as well, including a young Dutch Aviator! :)))

Christer said...

That's cool you got to visit the State which is the farthest north, farthest west AND farthest east (a tiny portion of the Aleutian Islands are actually across the dateline)! Was scoring this route a lucky strike for a YYZ-based captain, or does AC regularly send you on any A320-series route? I find it somewhat bizarre that a YWG crew is assigned to the YYT-LHR etops A319 route. Do YYZ or other based-crews ever pinch hit that run too?

Thanks for sharing the pics. Always fun to have an insight into life on the line as well. Thanks again for the post, and stay safe!


Christer said...

Ha, as for the Santa gig, you'd have to forget about visiting the gym, and switch to LH so you can start on the beard:)

Captain Doug said...

Hi Christer. Yes, one would think a Vancouver based crew would fly the Anchorage route and usually they do. When you have 650 to 700 flights a day it takes a master mind to figure who flies what. I see there are more of these pairings for August. YYZ crews can't do the YYT-LHR runs because they are not ETOPS qualified. The YWG based pilots have a unique qualification...ETOPS. It's the smallest base we have.

Interesting tidbits about Alaska. :)

Captain Doug said...

Christer. LOL about Santa. Maybe when I go on the wide body fleet I will gain some weight.
I noticed many of the overseas guys tend to "put on a few." LOL

Daniel said...

Doug, in relation to the YYT/LHR route, if Richard was only in the Jump seat would he have to be ETOPs rated? I don't if he ever takes command as the Captain but every flight plan I see , he usually doesn't. I would email him but it's not working =(

Hopefully someday I'll get on the plane you're flying :P I asked if you did because we are flying out Wednesday morning on a A319, small chance you could flying it lol.

Craig R said...

Hiya Captain Doug

Would those 319's used on the YYT-LHR route be unique aircraft, or would AC's entire 319 fleet have ETOPS type approval? I ask because one of the US carriers makes a distinction with its B757 aircraft, listing some airframes as "B757-200" and others as "B757-200 ETOPS."

Would that be just a Boeing thing? Something that would have been in play during the days of the 757's production run and no longer applies? Or the airline acquired a few planes (perhaps through merger) with different engines that do not meet the ETOPS requirements?

Craig R

Captain Doug said...

Daniel. He would have to be ETOPS rated if he was "qualifying" the other pilots. I think only a handful of YYZ supervisors are A320 ETOPS rated.
But I'm not totally sure of your question.

Yes, maybe one day our paths will cross. :)

Where are you off to on Wednesday?

Daniel said...

Hmm, never was told that he was Qualifying them. I got the impression that he was only there to help the pilots so they don't mess up LOL.

Our final destination will be Oshkosh for the airshow via Toronto and then either Milwaukee or Chicago. The 787 is going to be there so that's pretty much why I want to go haha.

whywhyzed said...

re the salaries of airline pilots..... it amazes me that the connectors pay so poorly. It's a shame because the level of responsibility is exactly the same. Especially in the US.
Good argument for status pay vs formula pay I guess.
But I do think $275K at the top end seems excessive, but the market forces are what they are.
On the other hand, does $200 sound excessive to fly a plane full of people from YYZ to YUL?

Captain Doug said...

Craig R.

The A319s would have to have HF (high frequency) radios and there are certain requirements as far as fire suppression in the cargo holds.
Certain A319s must also be used to fly specific Caribbean routes as well.

And it's true about the engines. Government authorities oversee engine performance with some engines meeting different ETOPS specs.

So no, it's not just a Boeing thing. It's just a "bragging thing." :)))))

Just like Richard Branson with his logos such as, "mine is longer than yours" painted on his Virgin Atlantic fleet.

Captain Doug said...


Who is getting $275K? Maybe in the good ole days? But how much do you pay a person with the keys to a $250 million airplane responsible for 365 souls on board?

Ninety percent of the time, the job is easy and uneventful but it's that ten precent where a wrong decision or lack of experience could lead to
a bad day. Something to think about when relating an ATC/pilot/doctor job. When a mistake is made, who and how many suffer the most?

I hear ya about the connector pay. I think the public are still in shock about that one.

whywhyzed said...

I think the senior FedEx guys were pulling down numbers like that (and they don't even have passengers!!)

Captain Doug said...


Yes the Fedex and UPS guys do okay. And I agree, they don't have to worry about the seat belt sign. LOL

getjets said...


Hey Captain....as far as safe Airline's....just like in the NFL...(GO SAINTS!!!!)...any team can win on any given Sunday.....should fear walking across the street more....

Great recall of your flight into PANC....and I am glad, you were able to get to see your flightaware pic!!

kinda reminding me of the "Ghost of October Past" story I posted on a while back...the story's website is also at the top of this comment...it's a lovely REREAD!!!!

Seems it's not just the Autumn season, wreckless weather comes to call....and you and your F/O were CHAMPS.....!!!!!

stunning pics of the mountains and glaciers!!!!!!, funny how camera's really work when kept dry....lol........OH, and the highway worker with the 'vest from hell on'....LOL

enjoy your time off....(^_~)

misstwa ^J^

Cedarglen said...

Hi Doug, Nice pix of the PANC run, thanks. It seems like a 'tight' space between the cumulo-fluffy and cumulo-granite. To be limited to FL310, well, that's why they call you Captain and me SLC or PAX. I've whinned about performance limiting MELs before. Again, that's why you're the Captain. I've written at length before about the differences between surgeons (one client) and Pilots (hundreds) so no need to repeat it here. You and your FO earned your salary and there will be no quibble from this quarter. The new BD Camera seems to be working well (if an old fart can figure out how to work it . Best wishes, -Craig.

getjets said...


Captain, this is a slide show from the Paris Air show last month....

be warned....about 20 minutes worth of pics....

but pics from every conceivable angle know or unknown inside these jets, the massive engines.... ...last rivit....even the A-380 date with the building....Dreamliner,even a couple of infrared shots...the testing equipment...wingtips, electronics,bathroom, configs...

It's worth the watch....
Just wanted to share with you and your people

yea, I have my own blog...but I haven't gotten the clientele you have...and these pics are to die for:)

I hope you don't mind.....

sorry bout the "vest from hell" statement...LOL

getjets said...

stay with it....after highlighting, instead of clicking 'copy' go down list and click 'search for your highlighted site' will show the webaddress...hit search again, and WALAAAAA.... more than once...it will bring ya to the page....if interested.
and if no joy...did the best I could...not like I am getting royalties...ha

Captain Doug said...

Getjets. "No joy" with the link. Getting a 404 code...whatever that is. :)))

Your own blog!?! Why don't you send the link on my blog?

Be forewarned...your gonna get lots of visitors.


P.S The vest is a must when we do our walk around.

Captain Doug said...

getjets. I tried and tried. You have to stop teasing me with these links...... :)

getjets said...


Ok there is my blog address...now don't everybody crowd it all up...LOL....it's first come, first serve...ha ha

cheaper than a bottle of ripple...and you just might get a laugh....or be insulted.....sky's the limit....funnin....

Thank you Captain Doug, for letting me post it....if I get no visitor's I'll blame you....ha

and arn't those pics from the Paris Air Show the bomb??????, yea some, repeating, the really cool ones make up for those...

Again Thanks!!!!!


Captain Doug said...

Miss TWA

I posted your link on my "fav blog" list. It's a keeper.

And for everyone else here's the link again....


getjets said...

Man what a good day I'm having!!!!!!

hope all too.....
Danke!!!!!! to the Captain


Captain Doug said...

Cedarglen (Craig) You pegged it, the F/O and I earned our salary.

Funny thing though...while flying back to Toronto on the third day, crew sked data linked the flight deck to draft the F/O.Instead of flying to Montreal he had to fly to Halifax and back. I inherited a new F/O to flirt with thunderstorms to Montreal and back.

Made for a long day breaking in a new F/O. LOL

Bas said...

Hahaha :) Lots of flight deck pictures hmmmmm... awesome! Have you got one with all the whistles and bells and a view outside? I'd love that!

The one and only, Dutch Aviator :P (Well not really, lol)



Hello Captain,

Nice post and pics

Can you elaborate more on your slam dunk approach? Staying below the cloud bases and such.

Those are the days I bet the passengers would like to know they have an experienced Captain AND and meterologist at the helm!! I bet with your training, your instinct and radar "read" is a cut above the rest, meaning the passengers get down through a hole that one with less know how about the white fluffy things...in this case, big ugly black things .... would nare attempt without a large jolt or two in their behinds. lol.....nice work.

Maybe with the big $, you could invest in a new watch strap....seen that thing hanging in a few pics now! LOLOL.....if you're anything like me, you just leave it till the bitter end before a new one...lol.

CAT III Approach

getjets said...

I noticed the watch strap too.....and thought what ever the Captain is leaning on with the watch strap....he's consistant....


Bas said...

The watch strap? I didn't even notice! Seems like every pixel of your picture is being studied here hahaha.


Anonymous said...

CNN Breaking News...

Captain Doug's watch strap... :))))

I like it. It's like a trademark.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog, and will follow with great interest. Nice to "see" one of the "Company" front-enders in the blogosphere. Cheers from here

getjets said...

Captain Doug, one Huge THANK YOU....from getjets(misstwa)...so nice of you to share, and put my site address... and it's really apreciated!!!!

@Anon....LOL...."FOX NEWS ALERT"....

Mother of all twisted watch straps
read my lips...."no more....."

"Wish I could help"....BUT...I'm STRAPPED FOR TIME...get it...ha ha

yea I know...

Will the good Captain spring for a new Timex....THE SAGA CONTINUES...

OR will he just turn the plastic Knob on the top of the "timex display case"....around and around

thats right Woolsworth closed down.

did the strap come with a lifetime's supply of Rice-O-Roni(the San Franciso treat)....

these are kinda lame....but fun....
i am gonna open a lemonade stand....for funds to help finance replacement...

miss(and I wonder why I have no visitors...lol)twa

Anonymous said...

@Getjets-- LOL!!! :)))

getjets said...

wait.....didn't you wear that watch to your "PROM" Captain.....

did the strap come with it's own "tire iron"

can anybody say....INFO-MERCIAL....

I thought they stopped making "CRACKER JACKS"

you called within the next 10minutes didn't you....

came with the WILLIE NELSON "BOX SET" oldies....

ok....hell of a way to show my gratitude....LOL...I'm not going down alone.....soon as I find out who ANON is.....big LOL


Captain Doug said...

CAT III approach. That is one of my patented sayings... "slam dunk approach"

It's drop the gear, hang out the flaps, stay visual and fly it on.

Sure we backed it up with an ILS but we didn't use a standard STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) or took vectors. We did "My way." Think Frank Sinatra.

Yes, I am very thankful for my meteorological background.

Now about my watch strap....

Captain Doug said...

Anon. Welcome!!!!!

Just found your blog, and will follow with great interest. Nice to "see" one of the "Company" front-enders in the blogosphere. Cheers from here

Captain Doug said...

Getjets, Anon and CAT III Approach.

I am embarrassed. When I posted that last picture of me, I said to myself "I hope no one notices my watch strap."

It's conspicuously hanging as well in my Runway Run pics.

You guys are all too sharp.

Yes, part of the strap broke about a month ago. But it's 186 on the "to do" list.

I miss my Hong Kong layovers where I would buy knock off watches to support the underground economy.

My favourite was a Tiger Woods Tag Heure. It was a beauty, but we all know what happened to Tiger Woods. ahem.... Yeah, it broke.

So I broke down and bought a real watch on an Ottawa layover about three years ago.

Maybe I'll take it back? LOL Or wait until i go overseas and buy a "knock off" strap. LOL

Glad to see lots of you have a sense of humour. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Bas. Thanks for staying out of the "watch strap" comments. LOL

They are a tough crowd especially that "getjets" :)))))