!!!!! 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.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The question....

Captain Doug, 
As someone who flies (as a passenger) regularly on jets and helicopters I was wondering how to interpret the code given to runways?  The boards at the entrance and exit of runways and taxiways contains what appears to be a n unintelligible sequence of umbers but I am sure it must make sense to pilots.   
 Please clarify this system and where on-line you can obtain the key to understanding the system?

The answer... (Cedarglen...I did not forget your fuel question but your's is more involved) 
Hi (.....) I've attached a picture of these "boards" situated in Calgary, Alberta.

Picture compliments of "Kelly" in Calgary, Alberta

Each taxiway is affixed a letter. We have taxi charts to consult where these taxiways are.  

In this picture, the letters in the left forefront states you are taxiway Hotel (H) with taxiway Juliet (J) perpendicular to Hotel. Taxiway Charlie (C) is coming up on the right and taxiway Golf (G) is approaching on the left. Every letter is associated with the phonetic alphabet. My name...DOUG....is Delta Oscar Uniform Gulf.

Captain D holding short of runway 06 left in Toronto during category three operations. 

If you click on this pic you'll notice the letters are covered in snow. Where do we go? Sorry for the COLD picture for this time of year. 

The numbers you see near or on runways are oriented with the magnetic compass. 

Here's an excerpt from enRoute magazine. Julie aka GETJETS asked this.

Q: How are runways numbered? 

Julie Theriot
New Orleans, Louisiana
Runways are numbered from 1 to 36, according to their heading on the magnetic compass rose, consisting of 360 degrees and displayed in 10-degree increments. Runway 25 in Ottawa, for example, has a heading of 251 degrees. Large airports with parallel runways add a left and right designation, like runways 26L and 26R in Vancouver, both oriented 261 degrees. Because magnetic north shifts, runway numbers change over time. The runway I soloed on 31 years ago, runway 24 in Halifax, is now runway 23.
Captain D holding short of 18 left in Orlando, Florida

Yesterday in Toronto we were given taxi instructions... "taxi Delta, left on Echo, right on Tango across 33 Right and hold short of Bravo." Now you can see there is a higher chance of getting lost on the ground than in the air. LOL

Can you see the small font letters on this London, Heathrow taxi chart? My point exactly!!! I had a Jeppeson representative visit the flight deck a couple of years ago. "Any comments or concerns," he asked. "Yes, the font is too small on the taxi charts." His answer, "ah, it's you old skippers that always complain about this." Excuse me, but we old skippers taxi the airplane.....hmmmmm????

All private pilot training books would explain all of this. I see you are from England, but here in Canada we use From the Ground Up.

Oops, I pulled a major faux pas, this gentleman is from Scotland. 

Captain Doug

P.S I don't have a website per se, but if I ask my readers I'm certain someone can recommend a few. :) 

Dave, Foggy or Carlton et al can you recommend a local book on basic flying? :))
Or even a website? Thanks.


Andrew said...

well if he wanted the Culhane series (my instructor recommended it) They're basically printed on gold so they would appreciate at least. Although, I'm sure they are just a drop in the bucket compared to actual Uni/Col textbooks

I'm sure you can attest to that Capt. Doug.


Captain Doug said...

Andrew. Anything related to aviation is expensive. :)

And text books are no exception. Although not as outrageous as university books.

My daughter just bought an engineering book for $145. Ouch!

Dave W said...

Morning all,

I love the last comment on the post - recommend a good book or website? So modest (and so unlike you!) And to think I was busy rooting through my book shelf! Haha :-)

On taxying - when you are at a large or unfamiliar airport are you sat with pen and paper in hand to note taxi instructions? Are there many occasions when aviators just admit defeat when they get disoriented in poor visibility or snow covered taxiway signs? Would you sympathise with them or is it a leg pulling opportunity?

Nice to see Foggy posting again - don't forget that offer of a beer.

And books expensive - its not like they grow on trees......oh wait

Regards to all

Dave from the UK

Dave W said...

Oops, forgot to mention - its impossible to single out any one picture, suffice to say what a fantastic selection! Thank you to both the snappers and especially Capt. D for taking the time and effort to put together! The blog may not earn you much money but it would sure earn you at least one free lunch and "beverage" were you to visit the UK!

Apologies for two comments in quick succession!

Dave from the UK

Foggy said...

Transair Pilot Shop

There are 4: HQ is at Shoreham Airport(!); Gloucester Airport(!); Wycombe Air Park; central London (not an airport, field, aerodrome!)

There are others - best thing to do is use an interweb search facility of choice to look for local Flying Clubs; give 'em a ring, or go along for a chat. Okay, so you talk to five different people; you get 36 different opinions, options, etc., at least. I agree with Andrew & Dave: cost will be mega £'s but this is due to very limited print runs and constant updating to meet the requirements of the CAA - Campaign Against Aviation. The well known South American river bookshop does not have a great selection, apart from a book by a well known synoptic met man turned bus driver - can't quite remember 'is name....

Foggy said...

Dave W - Cap'n Doug has someone in the RHS to take notes!! :)

$145 = approx GBP 100. But you pay GST(?) as well. Is that a tax deductible for students on approved courses? I noticed in a number of bookshops I frequented in the US that their pricing was significantly higher than UK.

However, spare a thought for us ILS practitioners: ASD Specification 2000M R2.1 CP4 = EUR800. That's about USD 1000, and it's only available on CD-ROM! Then there is Issue 3, Issue 3.1 and Issue 4, all at an EUR800 - each... However, if someone has a requirement..........

Dave W, again - can you send me an e-mail address, please. I won't be able to make Shoreham, but a small half will go down a treat.

Kind regards / "Foggy"

Christer said...

Doug- you say anything related to aviation is expensive. I hate to say it, but I believe there is one exception- bottom feeder fares that only benefit the consumer:) Next week I'm flying from the east coast to the far west coast on a reputable Star Alliance carrier, on all-mainline equipment, and my total return fare all taxes in was $246USD (not much more than your daughter paid for that engineering book)! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate keeping extra cash in my pocket (especially when I bought 4 tickets for my whole family), but you wouldn't believe how many other people who pay for bottom-end fares expect luxury and pampering to be included in the price, and gripe about reduced emenities and surcharges. The customer gets spoiled and many begin to think aviation is a cheap thrill. Try driving across the continent for only twice that price- won't happen!

I can't figure out how airlines make any money like this- must be how they justify the extremely low pay for the new guys, here in the US anyway- by passing the real cost onto the employees. It can't be sustainable in the long run...

Brett.Wingerter said...

Runway 02-20 just changed to 03-21 a few weeks ago in victoria

Henry J said...

I wonder... Does that CATIII sign light up only when it is in operation? And also, what equipment does the plane need to execute a CATIii approach. Does the pilot need to be certified?

Captain Doug said...

Brett. Funny you should mention that. LOL

On Tuesday, we received a clearance to taxi onto runway 03. I looked at my taxi chart. And looked again. Then I looked over to my F/O with a somewhat bewildered look and asked, "what chart date do you have?" The captain didn't do his last amendmants. ahem. My bad.

When I taxied onto the runway I could see how they painted a "03" on the old "02."

getjets said...

Hello Captain("AHHHH, IF I HAVE ANOTHER PIECE-O GREEN MELON, I'LL PUKE".....)maybe it didn't start out green....Mmmmmmm ok, explains the "big head"...NO NO, not yours....LOL....

A few thoughts, comments, observations,and useless info....

Did you see or hear "Hurricane Maria" may just pass over St. John's Newfoundland....she cracking at 52 MPH....now....????????????????
All my lovely friends in St. John's, please stay safe!!!!!!!!

or wherever that storm passes....

@ WhyWhyZed....I LOVE the DC-8 videos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!the sound
hear them spooling up, and when they 'rotate'....
with the 2 look like nose holes when facing them....::::::::

like some 777's....kicking up the sand at LAX!!!!!at the end of runway 24L

I am so glad some liked the 'airline routes of 2010 pic....does look like a butterfly....ok...

Captain Doug....are you looking for bunny rabbits in the sky....with the clouds....??????

when was your last EVAL????????


taxi-ways at JFK.....mention because always listening there....except when I'm not...

how many times can you say "KILO KILO MIKE NOVEMBER".....and thats just your first turn.....?????

love all the pics you posted Captain..and Thank You for including one of mine....and for the compliments....

so I can give a compliment....then take it away.....and you never know what hit ya.....is what you said..bout me......right???

I hate everyone of those pics you posted.....!...LOL LOL(get it)
except mine of course....and I'll take a diet coke with that....


great pic of your son....!!!!!
Who's that "crusty ole soul" with him...and whats with the watch.....

gotta go....


Captain Doug said...


I took a class of eight "wanna be" pilots to Air Canada's "nerve centre" today and they mentioned St. John's being affected by Maria.
In fact, all the flights there in the morning were cancelled.
I also learned one of their tricks as to when to cancel a flight. They look at the airport's website and check out the competition.
Sure enough the competition cancelled as well.
You always gotta be looking over your shoulder.

Here's a website you may find useful as far as winds, runways and RVR settings for Canadian airports.

St. John's

And yes, I looked old next to my son. It's why I removed it. Can't have any negativity on my blog. LOL

My watch will be going to Vancouver and Edmonton tomorrow. What's your watch doing this weekend? :))))

Captain Doug said...

Dave W.
I really didn't infer my book or website. Really! :)))) Just thought there would be a good read for the gentleman explaining signage at an airport.

I modified my post a little. Apparently he resides in Aberdeen, Scotland but I thought he lived in your latitude. Oops.

Maybe you can decipher this mystery. He sees typically 11-34 on the "boards." EGPD's runways are 16-34 and 05-23.

Maybe they are gate numbers?!?

This mystery must be solved!!! LOL

I looked at the taxi chart but they didn't have the gate assignment chart.

I'm certain we can crack this. :))))

Captain Doug said...

Dave W. If you are offering a free lunch and beverage then I'm going into the chief pilot's office and begging for B767 out of seniority. LOL

Maybe in a year or so I'll be knocking at your door and saying, "remember me?" LOL

No apologies needed for great comments like those. :))))

Captain Doug said...

Foggy. Glad you still have your sense of humour intact. LOL

As I mentioned to Dave W, the gentleman lives "north" of you guys. Great idea though, going into the local flying club. They always have great books for sale at astronomical prices. :))))

Captain Doug said...

Foggy. It's tax deductible for tuition only. At least that's what my accountant says. But don't get me going on the topic of taxes. :(((

You are paying $1000 US for a CD-ROM???? Is this Space Shuttle certified?!? LOL

Like Dave said, glad to see you are back. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Christer. AMEN!

Very valid points!!!!! Passengers quickly go into the "tantrum mode" only to find out they paid next to nothing for the ticket. I DO realize tickets attract lots of "extras" and it drives people nuts.
It does for me. Especially airport improvement fees. At some airports you look around and ask, what improvement? :) ATC fees are another. Learned today it cost 65 cents per km but only 19 cents in American airspace. The Russians charge almost 2 dollars a km. Interesting stuff but I'll leave that to others...I'll stick to my cookies and ice cream at FL 390. :))))

Today during the tour at Air Canada operations we saw flight 015 plug along from Toronto direct to Honk Kong. The dispatcher showed us the cost of this specific flight.
$125,000 one way...so $250,000 for a return flight. When you start doing the math, there aint much profit.

And as the adage goes..."if you want to make a small fortune in aviation...start with a LARGE one." LOL

Foggy said...

@ Doug, "Maybe you can decipher this mystery. He sees typically 11-34 on the "boards." EGPD's runways are 16-34 and 05-23.

Maybe they are gate numbers?!?"

EGPD - The fixed wing runway is 16-34 - 05H-23H is for the rotating wingy things. The gates on the west side terminal arm are 10A thru 17 so that's the gates done with. If our friend is seeing 11-34 it must be a runway with a bend in the middle.

I've looked at the likely suspects but without going through the entire UK AIP it's difficult to I/D a likely solution; there aren't that many 11-29 or 16-34 runways in the UK. As Toyah would sing, "It's a Mystery"!

Captain Doug said...

Foggy....LOL about the runway bend. Yes, 11-34 isn't reciprocal runways.

Maybe when he sees all the grey matter involved with this mystery he can shed some more light. :)

Until then....(and like you said) it's a mystery!

Captain Doug said...

Hi Henry J

The CAT III sign, low visibility tax lights (green light centre) illuminates in "low visibility" operations. I think?

There's a ton of equipment needed for a CAT III autoland. Think precise autopilots, no significant snags, low tolerances in localizer fluctuations, etc, etc, etc. Heck we even need a stand-by artificial horizon or it's an automatic go-around. Basically the planets have to be aligned.

Here in Canada there are only two airports certified for CAT III approaches, Toronto and Vancouver.

Basically in order to perform a "true" autoland the runway, aircraft and pilots must be certified. I get my recertification in the simulator.

Captain Doug

getjets said...

Lets see Captain Doug.....(watch this....ha)
this weekend.....first...
Safe Flights!!!!!!!!!!for you tomorrow!!!!!!
I gotta say....it is a bit of a shame.....that there are those undercurrents in the Avia world of "whats the competion doing "vs".....

that's bad weather coming....cancel..."
ya know.!!!!!!!
and it about the bottom line......in the end....

That is the coolest link....."St. John's"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you very much for that!!!!!!

booked up this weekend....can't fit ya in...LOL

after a little wine....tonite
fishing for Redfish tomorrow daytime.....
evening....go shopping at Foggy's Pilot Shop.....over across the silly ole pond...and while there go visit Bas........

all the while keeping watch over......and check in on St. John's....
then I'll be starting the "Wine" gig again....LOLOLO

As long as all are safe....not to worry....Captain.....


miss(damn thats green avatar)twa

lastly....kindest wishes to all my friends here....^J^
mostly to you Captain....for your time and effort put here!!!

getjets said...

I know the NFL ain't big here.... last but not least.....

Sunday....WATCH THE NEW ORLEANS SAINT'S KICK.....the chicago bears....after the way those fans treated us last January, 2007....playoff game....bring it on....they are on our turf...now!!!!!

whats that got to do with Avia.....well.....we're kicking their butts to 'kingdom Com', and they WILL be cleared for departure.....

I don't like "CROW".....if I have to eat any on Sunday evening......don't act like you don't know me.....:)))))))))))))))


not to mention the Saints...don't they have halo's.....I fit right in.....LOL

getjets said...

DAVE W....I love mysteries..even if I can't spell the word...we'll crack the code...

I just love that...it's Friday...so ok...to be silly.....
hey..I'm not the one who said..."keep my cookie's and ice-cream at FL390"....
is that with or without hashbrowns....bye...and I am turning my computor off..all I need to come home and post some silly azz comment...oh, i already do that....

well then ....


Dave M said...

" ...can you recommend a local book on basic flying?"

The FAA's "Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge" (PHAK) served me well for my rating. It's available as a free PDF download at: http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aviation/pilot_handbook/

Captain Doug said...


Looks like Hurricane Maria is exiting stage right. The pressure is rising rapidly, visibility is up, cloud bases are increasing and the winds are brisk from the west gusting to 40 knots.
Let her go play in the Atlantic.

You get first prize for the most amount of avatars!

Can't wait for my cookies and ice cream enroute to Vancouver tomorrow. Chocolate chip or oatmeal raison. Being skipper is tough, really tough.
Oops, I'm making light of my stressful job.

Glad I'm not heading to St.John's tonight. Can you say mechanical turbulence?

Go easy with the "wine gig."

You need a clear head to do some flight following. :))))

Bas said...

Hey Captain!
That sounds like a book that comes with a golden edge!? My whole set for this year costs about the same... I checked my upcoming studies book costs and I can book a two way FRA / YYZ AC ticket for that lol.

Have a nice weekend!
Bravo Alpha Sierra

Captain Doug said...

Dave M. Well done! Well done indeed! I quickly scanned through the PDF files. The graphics are amazing. It makes me want to take flying lessons all over again! :)

Looks like chapter 13 has airport operations for signage info.

Thanks for this!

Captain Doug

P.S I'll try to set up a direct link on my blog.

Captain Doug said...

Bravo Alpha Sierra

Buy the books and buy the ticket!

Plenty of room here with two children out the door.

Who knows you could rendezvous with those two "crazy women" from across the pond that frequents your blog. So what if they live in different countries. :)))

Thanks for checking in.

Captain Delta Oscar Uniform Golf

Cedarglen said...

Hi Capt. Doug! Great answer to the fellow who asked about signage and taxiways. On the mark! With a chuckle, not worried about my fuel question and I'm sticking around. I have plenty more, but few are brief enough for for your enRoute column. I'm enjoying your new focus on the pix, but SURE miss your in depth writing about the flying itself. I'm hearing constraints... Regular readers understand and we'll stay tuned. Best regards, -Craig

Henry J said...

Hi Captain Doug,

In Japan,I just can't believe so many airports have CAT III. In Hiroshima, the city I'm staying in, they have an ILS CATIIIB approach on RWY10 RJOA but what is shocking is that on the other end of the runway is a VOR DME 23 approach. And quite a few times, I have been on the VOR DME approach when I can tell that the pilot (China Eastern A320) is manually landing the plane since the plane is banking right and left. Hiroshima has like 20 flights per day, single runway. I wonder why....

Henry J said...

sorry for an extra post but today, I am flying AC001 PEARSON9 DEP 16L using a real ACA001 route from flightaware! :D

funny that it's only a 12 hour flight today, short routing? good winds?

getjets said...

Awesome Old Guard Picture!!!!!
and Captain Doug, big Congrats on your book.....!!!!!!

Anyone hear about the Air Show crash in Reno Nevada?????????Just horrifying!!!!!I guess it happened yesterday???????


web site about the crash......copy and paste...and when you paste make sure your ICON looks like the letter " I " when pasting and hit search button.....worked for me....and I hope this is not a teaser.....got info off of PPRN...anyways

Safe Flights Captain ^D^

I will keep an eye......


Foggy said...

That's a great "pic of the day" - Fin 264 - by Craig M. I'm waiting for BA to do a 777 in the last BOAC "Speedbird" scheme. May have to wait a while...

As to the cost of "the specification", yes, USD1000 is a bit steep, considering you don't even get it in book form - but would you want to lug 5 large volumes of A4 around with you!? I believe NASA looked at it for some projects but decided to stick with what they had.

MissTWA - saw the news on BBC this morning. You're right, horrendous! Just writing another blog post now - 16.35Z - should be up in an hour or two...

Captain Doug said...

Foggy. They did a great job with the paint scheme.

CAT III approach just sent me a picture of it when he was boarding, but It's kind of blurry. Sorry CAT III.

Speaking of CDs, I just inherited Diesel Daughter's laptop (she HAD to have a brand new one for university) but there is a CD stuck in it.

Truth be told I think it is mine. Oops.

getjets said...

Foggy....I will check in with ya in a little bit....so glad you are back with us!!!!!!!!!

miss(tango whiskey alpha)

altstiff said...

Capt Doug. If you look next to the CD button you should see somehting that looks like a pin hole. Push it with a pin (or something else pointy). That should pop out that stuck CD....

Bas said...

Hey Captain!

Hmmmm, it's a nice idea for next year in the summer :) Who knows I can go and cross that pond lol!
Hope you had a great weekend,

Bas said...

Regarding that CD, the same as Altstif said but use a paperclip. It always worked for me lol!

Anonymous said...

@ Bas--> if you hop across that pond, you had better let us know!

@ Captain Doug--> nice photo of a great Canadian hero. Our school does its own "Terry Fox run" every year...We are running next week. We've raised thousands of dollars for cancer research.

Captain Doug said...

Henry J

Most major American airports have CAT III capability as well.

But do you know how many times I've had to use CATIII limits to land while flying the Airbus the last 15 years? Zero.

There were a couple of times we may have needed it but we saw the runway. Sure I've done tons of CAT II with autoland but I have not gone around
because we didn't get the lights at 100 feet AGL.

Captain Doug said...

Henry J At this time of year the winds aloft are at their lightest. Hence the shorter flight. It's the middle of winter when you see 150 to 200 knot winds.

Captain Doug said...

Bas. Come and see Canada. Who knows you might want to take your flying lessons here. :)

Captain Doug said...


I have a Macbook...there is no "pin hole" thingy. :))))

I tried using my hotel key (credit card shape) but I almost got that stuck.

It will have to stay in there a little longer... :)

Captain Doug said...

Getjets. I heard about the Nevada incident. :(

But channel that energy of yours into the positive aspects of aviation. And you do mostly that! And do it well!

Gone flying. :)))

Captain ^D^

Henry J said...

Oh! That's why! Now I understand about the winds.

However, I did encounter a headwind of 70 knots from ZBAA to CYYZ yesterday, making my flight almost half an hour longer than expected. I was expecting a tailwind going eastbound though .

Since I'm studying for an exam, I feel that simming long flights on autopilot while studying makes me relax a lot and I have actually gotten more out of it. Today, I am doing small A320 hops on China Eastern. I had a 40 knot headwind on landing at ZSPD but I couldn't divert due to fuel...