!!!!! GONE FLYING !!!!!

If you need to contact me... email: [email protected]


"Pic of the day" sent in by Craig M from Ottawa. He watched flight tracker for days until he got the shot of all shots. It's beautiful.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reality Check

"My" Airbus A321 at the Calgary airport. Pic compliments of ramp attendant "Kelly."
Yesterday, Toronto Pearson set a new all time temperature record at a whopping 37.9 Celsius  (100 Fahrenheit) !!!!

I kept reminding my family this is what living in Dubai would be like. I had that interview with United Emirates six years ago. But then again, the "sand boxers" don't see pictures like this. Gawd, what a reality check. So enjoy the heat people. Suck it up because this above scenario is just around the corner. Gross!

Last night I attended the Flyertalk dinner at a swanky downtown Toronto bar. These people are elite and super elite flyers with many of them doing it as a hobby. There are two ways of making this exclusive ranking, either by "mileage" or "segments." Here's Margarita girl's  next adventure (I hope I can remember this correctly). Instead of going from Toronto to Edmonton direct she will fly to Montreal, then to Florida, then to Edmonton via another city I forget (had a few Stellas by then) saving her $80 on the fare. Sure she has to get a hotel in Florida but it's not an issue...she even has deals for hotels too.

Interesting night!

Today I did ART (Annual Recurrent Training). It's classroom stuff where we went over weather radar, jet stream turbulence (needless to say Captain D added lots of his "two cents" worth...couldn't help it. In fact, the facilitator offered me the floor), then security issues, then a two hour group hug with about 17 flight attendants (yup we were out numbered) and a review of the FOM (Flight Ops Manual).

Plus we had to pre-study and answer questions on emergency equipment, high altitude training, surface contamination, CFIT (controlled flight into terrain), security, survival training (not sure if I need this for my Airbus), and then a dangerous goods exam re-qualifying me for another year.


jack said...

Hey Captain D!

Congrats on taking the floor at the ART!

Today it hailed in Calgary. The hail clogged up the gutter at my house, resulting in me climbing up onto the roof to try unclog it. After reaching the clogged spot, I shuttered when I realized the precipitation had actually formed into snow. Definitely a reality check for me, especially in mid-July.

Cool link for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X40F40mIDGk
It was the worst windshear I have ever seen. Let me know what you think? It get's really bad around the 7:20 mark, incase you don't want to watch the whole video.

Hope you have another fun year of flying!

jack (lower case j)

Cedarglen said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Bas said...

Hey Captain,

Can I borrow some of your good weather? It's awful here for a July... Forecasts are it'll be raining on my birthday next tuesday :(
'Two hour group hug with FA's' Hahaha, nice :P

Fly safe,


getjets said...

@ jack, watched your video....serious turbulence there.....were you on the flight????...

Captain Doug, Nice to know your keeping your CFM56-5B's butt, ahhhhhh in check....ha ha..good practice...you are over 50 afterall....yea rookie joke..hate slow Saturday's....

and indeed sounds like your 'flyertalk' group meeting was Interesting!!!!!! love to hear more of those stories....

ever get that watch strap straightened out???? lol


Christopher said...

I hope that your group hug with the FAs was a metaphorical one!

Julie Desjardins said...

Hey Captain Doug,

Been reading your blog for a while, and I'm taking your book with me on my AC trip from YUL to YYJ (with connecting flight in Toronto).

Terrified of flying since AF 447 and a bit of turbulence over the Rockies two months later, but I do it nonetheless because my parents live in BC, and my family-in-law, in Europe.

Went to fly a Cessna with a friend who's training to become a pilot last week to face my fears. Scary and so exciting at the same time! Can't wait to do it again! However, the thought of sitting on a jet plane for 5 hours and wondering every moment if we won't encounter a bad thunderstorm makes me freak out!

Any last minute tips for an anxious mom who needs to be in control of her emotions while travelling alone with a 4-year old?

Thanks and keep up this nice place! :)

jack said...

@ Julie: Actually, there are more people killed in hospitals annually than in plane accidents within Canada. Planes are about as safe as it gets. In the AF crash, there was also pilot error that was a major factor in the incident. Honestly, I would be more worried driving to the airport than taking the actual flight. It is hard for me to understand what it feels like to be scared of flying though, which is probably the same case for Capt. D, so it might be hard to give good suggestions. Don't get me start on boat propellers though... I am terrified.

You can see what the turbulence will be like for your flight by checking out this website: http://aviationweather.gov/adds/turbulence/turb_nav.php

@ Getjets: No, luckily. I just found this video.

Craig said...

Well, personally I hate the hot weather and can't wait until winter. Winter just feels so much more...I don't know "right" to me. Nothing like a nice snowfall and heading to the outdoor rink. Then again, it's not like I'm a pilot and have to deal with all the potential mayhem that snow can create, lol.

As for the frequent flyers, my dad just explained to me the other day that he's gonna be a bit short to hit super elite status with AC in I believe October. I think he might be doing a mileage run as well. With all the trips he does, I'm surprised he's coming up short.

And finally, I knocked out about 50 pages of your book while sitting in the car on the way back from NYC. Really enjoying it and learning lots.

- Craig M

Captain Doug said...


I wish there was a magic fix for the fear of flying. Jack brought up some great points. For most aviation enthusiasts and flight crew, it's our home. And like Jack, it's difficult for us to fathom this fear although I know there are about 20 to 30 percent (even more) of my passengers that have it.
Jack doesn't like boat propellers and I don't think I could swim in a lake with leeches or enter a room with snakes. :))))

A recent study also determined it's not just about allowing someone else having control, but it's a fear of how you are going to behave once the cabin door closes. People get apprehensive because they are uncertain how they are going to act.

It sounds like you travel a fair bit. Some of the fear of flying courses tell people to do a practice run to the airport. Yes, get in the car, drive to the airport, find parking, find out where you check in, etc.
It may sound lame but again driving to the airport can be a major work out.

Then it's the common sense stuff like giving yourself extra time because you have a child, bringing "entertainment and food" for the child, and a convenient stroller.

It's never easy travelling with a child, and yes I've been there, but planning is a biggie.

I wish they would ban "Mayday" and excerpts of AF 447 because it's scaring passengers with the "CNN effect."

Off to Victoria? I'm heading there later this week.

In the meantime, I'll be trying to keep it smooth enroute to San Francisco today!

I hope this helps. :))) Wish we could have you in the flight deck but those days are long gone.

There is a small window when you board. And the fact you have a child, it's a great way to woo the flight attendant to say a very "quick hello."
Maybe you can score some "wings" from the pilots???? lol

Captain Doug

Julie Desjardins said...

Thank you Captain Doug and everyone else with the helpful comments. I'll try to remember all of it while I'm up in the air with my beautiful girl.

My parents live in Victoria, so I go there at least once a year, if not more. And I used to be a frequent traveller when I was younger and childless. The fears that becoming a parent brings into your life!!! Fortunately, the amazing moments outnumber those and makes it all worth it.

Hopefully, we won't hit a rough patch tonight and everything will be fine. In less than 12 hours, I'll be on the other side of the country, no matter what state of mind I get there in. Will update you later on. ;)

Thanks and you'll be with me tonight. Second trip with From The Flight Deck. Helps bring me back to earth... even when I'm 35000 feet up in the air!

Captain Doug said...

Julie. I'll be doing the exact same flight in a few days.

In the mean time, I'll race ya to the other side.
Although I have a head start this afternoon.

I would send you a datalink message to your airplane but the time you get airborne I'll be on approach into San Francisco.

Looks like I will have a "blob" of thunderstorms to contend with south of Lake Michigan but a quick peek to where you are heading
looks good in that department.

I forget to mention...thanks for buying my book!

Until then...on you mark, get set....

P.S Have a peek at my Q and A's in enRoute and maybe you can come up with one I can publish. :)

Craig R said...

Craig M - I'm sure you know there are two ways to achieve Super Elite (SE) status - by flying 100,000 miles, or by flying 95 segments each year. Generally, a person who does one or two long trips each month will have an easier time qualifying for SE than someone who does lots and lots of short-haul flights.

As an example, my wife qualifies for Elite status even though she only flies three or four times each year. However, those are all ultra-long haul, overseas trips, so she hits the 35,000 mile threshold easily. Someone else flying shorter routes would have to be on a plane nearly every week to rack up the same distance (or the alternative Elite threshold of 50 segments flown).

So yes, your dad could still find himself coming up short in spite of flying a lot. I've had SE status in the past, and you really do need to almost live on an airplane to achieve it.

Julie - I hope your flight to YYJ was enjoyable, and that your little girl found some fun things to enjoy on the seatback entertainment system. Some of the best stuff is on the kids channel!

Julie Desjardins said...

Captain Doug,

As usual, a lot of anticipatory anxiety, but once I was on the plane, I was mostly fine. Long delays before the plane could take off both in Montreal and in Toronto made for a longer trip than anticipated, but that's part of the experience!

We did get quite a bit of turbulence over the Great Lakes, and I was able to watch a thunderstorm happen by the window without freaking out about it (and that was the part that worried me the most). Instead, I was actually able to appreciate the beauty of it! Once we were past the Great Lakes, we had a very smooth flight, and now I'm pretty confident I'll be fine for the return flight (from Calgary).

Thanks for your kind words! And for the wonderful book, which helps demystify everything that makes air travelling possible (I'm still amazed every time to see such a big heavy metal tube can lift up in the air like this!)!


On our flight from Toronto to Victoria (5 hours), they hadn't even turned off the seatbelt signs that my girl was already asleep! She woke up almost 5 hours later as we were descending in Victoria (ear pain... not a good way to wake up). Didn't even have to use the entertainment system much, although Caillou does the trick every time! ;)

Captain Doug said...

Julie. Glad to hear everything worked out....sort off. Our flight was delayed 20 minutes or so waiting for connections.

I think our on time performance has fallen big time this summer.

So you saw the thunderbumpers around the Great Lakes. We skilfully dodged them and the seat beat sign never came on once during the
entire five hour flight. Maybe it was because the F/O was flying? LOL

The only bump we experienced was him bringing the airplane back to "terra firma" in San Fran.

Twas a beautiful evening for flying. Some low level stratus decided to infiltrate the airport but no biggie.

Today that lower deck of stratocumulus has burned off giving way to sunny skies and lots of tourists at Fisherman's wharf.

Time to go join them. I wanted to do the "Alcatraz tour" but rumour has it you have to book months ahead.

Enjoy YYJ and YYC.

Captain D in sunny but cool San Francisco

Craig said...

Craig R,

I'd have to ask him again for specifics, but it's the miles he's gonna end up just short of. He does YOW-FRA-BRU quite often (or YOW-YUL-BRU). He has YOW-YVR-HNL and YOW-YYZ-HKG-KUL coming up. In addition to what he has already done this year, I thought that would put him over, but I guess not. I'd gladly do a mileage run for him, lol.

- Craig M

Captain Doug said...

Getjets (Miss TWA) In reference to my watch strap, I looked for my knock off watches to find a possible watch strap to salvage but "no joy."
Again, it's number 186 on the "to do" list. In the mean time, I modified it by cutting off the "protrusion." "Circumcision" would be too of an unkind word.
Heck, I even posted a pic for ya to show I can still fly with it. LOL

Protrusionless Doug LOL

Captain Doug said...

Jack. Thanks for the well directed comments for "Julie." Well done.

Let's hope my return flight back during the wee hours tonight is like the one coming in. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Craig M. Thanks for reading my book. I too don't really like the heat wave weather we are experiencing.

In fact, last night with us fully loaded in fuel and a full load of passengers enroute to SFO we had to take off with "packs off" in Toronto because of the
warm temperatures.

Weather and aviation go hand in hand. :)

Captain Doug said...

Grantingram. If you say so. LOL Well done and thanks for chipping in. These questions never have simple answers. Especially when it comes to flight.

Interesting to note, many operators are rethinking their recovery to stall after AF447. It's now more about angle of attack instead of "balls to the wall" power.


Captain Doug said...

Bas. The weather has been a scorcher.

Yes, some of the F/As were not hired over the phone. Ahem. (It's a running joke in the business)

I better watch what I say, I could walk down a path I shouldn't venture on. :)

But heck, in a few hours you are going to be one year wiser. And speaking of cuties, you have a couple following your blog. LOL

Group hug all round!

And I'll be the first to say, after all it's July 26th in "Zululand," HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAS!!!!!!

Captain Doug said...

Christopher. Always! :))))

Captain Doug said...

Jack. Watched the video. No biggie. They encountered turbulence and decided to go around. Bravo on their part. Maybe Korean this week flying their A380 should have done the same thing? :)

You mentioned shear? Looks to me it was text book mechanical turbulence associated with very strong surface winds. Look at those clouds and there are hills around all conducive to some wiggles, :))))

getjets said...

Captain Doug, HUGE LLLOOOLLL!!!!!!

"ThanktheLawd" you weren'T old enough to do your own surgery when you were born......ASSSSSSSSSSSSSUUUMMMMing you are.....not any worser than what you said....

and there wasn't an old piece of rubber on the side of the road....you were in the Boy Scouts weren't you??????LOL

I actually got a magnifying glass to get a good look at that chewed up "steak" you call a watch strap....picture....first I thought you were trying to sneak the pic in......on your blog....NOPE....

ever thought about being a butcher.....????
anyway..sorry you couldn't make it to Alcatraz to have your ANKLE BEEPER removed....

Safe flight to the YYZ....late tonite...don't think there will be a moon to guide...
miss(so what #187 on your list)twa

getjets said...

Group Hug for Bas.....It's his birthday!!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAS MAN......;0))))))))))))))))))))


Captain Doug said...

Getjets. Actually, I was in the Boy Scouts. :)))

Maybe next time for Alcatraz.

Yes, it's time to don my uniform. Funny I couldn't sleep for the flight back but as soon as I put my uniform on, I instantly get tired.

Funny how that works! :)))

Yes, group hug to Bas!

getjets said...

yes you were in the Boy Scouts....when young, where would you pass along the road..on your way to the Scouts......that you talk about...during that time in your life?????

Captain Doug said...

Getjets. You are losing me. Gotta get going for work.



Hello Captain!

Funny you mentioned the 6:30 am curfew....flying into YYZ this morning in our CRJ I set my watch to the stated 1:39 air time, and woke up when the guy next to me bumped me and said my watch was ringing! The seatbelt sign wasn't on at 10,000 yet....came on 30 secs or so later....I looked at my watch .... 6:24 am...... we flew left, right, up, down, back forth, then approach....gear touched the runway at EXACTLY 6:30!!!! LOLOL...must have had a wicked tailwind on the way, because we are usually not that early. :)

Hope your flights went well....

Glad you think the turbulence in that video is no biggie!!!! UGH, UGH and more UGHHHHHH....

Reminds me of the mechanical turbulence on approach to Calgary....sometimes gets a little dicey!

A lady sitting across the aisle nearly came out of the fuselage when the gear was pulled....she was mid 60's and had never set foot on a plane before today....the RJ gear scared the @#$% out of her! We re-assured her......

Hope all is well....I have to go google what happened to the A380 now :)

CAT III Approach from the AC Maple Leaf Lounge in YYZ.