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....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Them's the Brakes (air brakes and ground spoilers)

Okay, just one leg on a four day pairing to go. We met the pilots that took this bird in. It's always nice to get a quick briefing on "ride" conditions and if there are any new snags. They mentioned the speed brake handle was kind of hard to move and engage. Hmmmmmm?

We entered the flight deck with maintenance already on top of the situation. I could tell it wasn't good, the flight was late arriving, we had a full load and I suggested we delay boarding.

Like anything electrical nowadays it breaks down into components. With a few screws removed the "speed brake box" came out with cookie crumbs falling inside. It wasn't me! My DNA is not on those cookie crumbs....I think....

With a little shake, maintenance could tell something worked loose in the box. Could it be a raisin? LOL
Calgary maintenance said, "this is going to be a two to three hour delay." The replacement would have to arrive on a flight from Vancouver. I suggested opening the box, but the philosophy is don't fix... but "remove and replace." (Maybe this goes for a lot of things?) :)))

Maintenance, and we pilots, assumed there was no way we could dispatch without speed brakes and ground spoilers. But "Jacques from Airbus" thought differently..."mais oui, Monsieur!

What would this entail? A special code for take off numbers. Plus Captain D would have to stand on the brakes in case of a high speed reject (we did not have auto-braking). And we had to use"balls to the wall" (full power) on take off. No problem. For landing we would have to add 30% more for landing distance. No sweat when landing in Toronto.

The speed brake is used to slow us down or descend quicker. The F/O needed it when trying to meet a constraint on the arrival into Toronto, but did a great job making the altitude and speed.

During landing these speedbrakes along with the spoilers turn into ground spoilers but they would not deploy hence the distance penalty. The F/O landed and cleared where we usually do.

While flying along and when offered cookies and ice cream....I abstained. I don't know if seeing all those crumbs buried within the innards of the flight deck or seeing the fitness magazines the F/O was reading  put me off my "flight level treat."

Most don't realize a flight deck is also a kitchen. It's where we eat snacks, have our meals and drink coffee, tea, water, etc. It's also a great place to catch a cold. If the other pilot shows up with the sniffles, dollars to donuts you will be going home with them as well.

It's a place where tears are shed, confessions made, (it's sometimes a  confession box moving at 500 knots), stories are told, silence so thick you can cut it, where singing is done, some whistling (although one captain almost came out of his skin when I started whistling. It's been documented more than once whistling was the last thing heard on the cockpit voice recorder), financial talk is listened to, jokes are told, and where "wind is passed." I could write a book on what transpires in an office the size of a closet. But I'm not coming out of the closet!!! LOL


Here in Montreal on a gorgeous sunny downtown layover. I went to the gym with the last half painfully running on a treadmill. After eight minutes the treadmill went kaput!

Well I decided...where one door closes another opens so I left my key with the concierge and ran up (yes ran...taking almost an hour) Mount Royal. (Everyone who visits Montreal should walk Mount Royal. The view of Montreal is spectacular. And for those single guys out there, the scenery is amazing and I'm not talking squirrels and trees. lol)

It reminded me of my silly days climbing hills and mountains. I climbed Mount Massda (Dead Sea, Israel), Victoria Peak (Hong Kong), Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, B.C, Signal Hill, Saint John's, Newfoundland (Getjets that's a must visit), hills in Seoul, Korea, etc. and now Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec. Looks like I'm still being silly at age 50 and I'm still climbing mountains.

Gone flying... yet another "cookies and ice cream" run to Vancouver. Luckily I burned a few calories today.


getjets said...

Hurry Captain before anybody gets home....you read my last comment.....?????
you must have posted your latest at the very second I refreshed...because all I saw was """"""0 COMMENTS"""""
I haven't even really looked at the pic except to say...I saw cookie crumbs....so I am laughing my ass off....so there.....

are you ready for your getjets fix??????


saminacam said...

Enjoy the stories and humour, wonder? does the top brass read this blog by any chance? Anyway...keep on trucking! OOPS! forgot you are a pilot, make that keep on flying.

Captain Doug said...

Getjets. We must be operating on the same frequency. I'm literally out the door to go flying. I'll respond in Vancouver.

But I will say one thing... Glad you received your passport!!!! I see travel in your future.... :))))

Captain Doug said...

Saminacam. Yes, the "brass" reads my blog.

getjets said...

and so much fertile material for come-backs at you....I'm talking MOTHERLODE....but.....on the other hand....minus on finger in the pie for teaching purposes....you Captain Doug, are funny.....and do me prouder than hell!!!!!!!!!!!!

I gotta go back and read this one again....I'll bet it was a rasin bouncing around in that box....LOL

you made me LOL

miss(getting my fix)twa

Safe flight Cap!!!!!!!!!!!!

getjets said...

EXCUSE PLEASE.........yea the "top brass reads this .....

and if your remember right(referencing the "cold enough to freeze the balls(usually 16 ball thingie's) off a 'top' brass monkey........

the "frozen top brass monkey" (which is really on the bottom)..........is the reason we're rolling all over kingdom Com...............:)))))))))
just to be clear here.....

good evening...:))))
This was a public service announcement of sorts...and all in good clean fun!!!!!!!



aderollo said...

Capt D. Yeah we've vacuumed out all sorts of stuff out of the fighters during phased inspections. In the USAF, if a pilot left anything not officially part of the cockpit (car keys, sunglasses, ect) they owed us Crew Chiefs a case of our favourite "adult beverage".
Happy Landings!

Brett.Wingerter said...

Hey Doug what other things can you do up there? Can you listen to music? Is there like a radio frequency that you can tune to that played music? Lol that would be the best

getjets said...



hasn't anybody ever heard of a DUSTBUSTER!!!!
and they even have those attatcments...kinda like your phone...sucks up a lot of Hot air"(yea my phone too)ha ha

so you can chew, drop misc crumbs, and vacuum them up before they start rolling around all dried up, making all kinds of noise, jamming the speed brakes....hey remember ...."Speedbrakes" have feelings too!!!!!!! LOL
instead of dustbuster,

No.... lets change out the right quarter panal of cockpit....


coming out this fall!

bye.....remember this for entertainment purposes only...:)))))))besides the Captain's gone flying....be a couple of hours before he sees all the collatral damage I've left...
I'll come up with some flim-flam excuse......least I didn't leave any crumbs.....
I hope the F/A is giving him a damn cookie...huh "ANON" ??????????

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha...yes, for gawd's sake, I hope that F/A will give him his damn cookie! :)

You are the best, getjets. :)))

And to saminacam, yes, the brass does read this. :) And really, they should be proud that Captain D works for them.

Oh and welcome, saminacam. Enjoy the crazy company on this blog (referring totally to Getjets--hahaha)

Paul [Daniel] Asuncion said...


"scenery" Mount Royal. Next time, please provide documentation [using digital camera]. Maybe show them ID first, and explain that it is for your blog.[good way to promote it too]

Reading about the very detailed and careful procedures in your posts makes me wonder if, after retirement, will any other flying be able to hold your interest? [for recreation].

Or when you retire, will you stop flying altogether, since nothing could come close to flying for

Clinton (from SRQ) said...

Great post!!! I really love to hear about the nuts and bolts of what really goes on "behind the scenes" of the flight deck doors. This is the reason I enjoy aviation blogs so much. Before reading these types of blogs, for all I knew pilots could have been playing twister on the flight deck during cruise.

And being 6'4 and having wedged into many economy class seats, I appreciate any pilot who will delay boarding in this type of situation.

Henry J said...

INTERESTING! I've never seen controls taken apart before...

One thing I have been always wondering, does the Airbus spoilers activate with the autobrakes? Never sure because of my crappy merge on flight simulator...

Heather said...

Hi Doug,

So there's an Airbus call centre? Is it a 1-800 number somewhere in the cockpit? 'If you have questions or comments please contact Jacques' hehe.... I never would have thought! hehe.. :)

Are there cup-holders for you guys up there? One would think liquid spilled on the instruments might not be a great idea!

Hope Vancouver treats you well!!

Heather :)

Anonymous said...

We all know that you take every aspect of your profession VERY seriously. You don't need to write disclaimers, but I understand why you feel the need.

IMO, I like that you can also write in a light-hearted manner--it makes you seem like less of a "stuffed shirt". :))

btw, always remember to shake those cookie crumbs off the shirt and pants when you come out of the flightdeck. Just saying... :)

Maybe there should be a dustbuster in there?

Heather said...

Hi Doug,

I just wanted to say that I enjoy the mix of professional insight and charming humour that makes up your blog! That's why I like it so much!! :)


getjets said...

Captain Doug, I have every intention to climb "Signal Hill"...in St. John's and get in that castle....

I was there when was 7...and I remember the wind being so strong....my Momma's babushca(head scarf) would not stay on.....

I was there at 7, and I will go again....and wear her same babushca!!!and look out at the Atlantic Ocean....and toast my Blessings....and all my dear friendships......A promise I will keep!!!!Serious

now I just have to find me a bus driver to get me there.....LOL


Dave W said...

Hi there, I trust you weren't eating a cookie, dropping crumbs when the treadmill broke??

I concur with Heather, there are some real technical gems and insights within your posts but not so much that you alienate less technically minded souls!

A thought struck me with your great pic, in years gone by all controls in the pedestal would be connected to cables and levers whereas now maintenance just unplug a connector and away you go!

Nice to hear the powers that be check in, maybe we should start a campaign to see Capt D in the next cockpit video!!!

Regards to all

Dave from the UK

Dave W said...

Sorry, I mean flightdeck video! :/

Foggy said...

Can't do that Dave W. The Fleet Management "Junta" would have something to say/do about someone "flying their SID", if you know what I mean!

As to the cookie crumbs in the flightdeck console, I'll not go into detail about things I found in various flightdecks, cockpits, elsewheres on aircraft I worked on - a lot more "interesting" than cookie crumbs.

And re not opening the spoiler select/control box on "the line", that would be a Big NO - NO!! The engineer who swapped out the LRU/LRI - Line Replaceable Unit or ditto ditto Item depending on which course you didn't attend - would probably not be qualified to "open the box". Even then the fault would have had to be cleared by a 2nd Line - in this case, probably and authorised MRO facility - with functional and independent checks and the "Item Record Card" duly "Stamped". I'm surprised that there wasn't one "on Station".

Cheers for now / Foggy

Bas said...

Wow thát's cool to see! So flight decks aren't always the cleanest heh :P
I'm up for that flight deck video with Captain D in it! :P +1 on the signature list lol!

Anonymous said...

Great post Captain D!!! I wonder whether pilots have strict guidelines to adhere to when it comes to activities in the cockpit... Can u blog at FL380 or read a magazine? Or does it all depends on the Captain's preference?

Happy landings,

Wannabe Mike

Captain Doug said...


Thanks for the visit. I bet you could tell a few stories. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Brett. As you know an ADF receiver can pick up AM radio stations. But when you are flying along at 500 mph the stations come and go.

No music allowed but the chatter on the radios is the "music" to a pilot's ears. :)

Captain Doug said...

Getjets. Just finished up some more "cookies and ice cream" flights.

I've been abstaining from those killer cookies. Well truth be told I snuck a couple when I went back to use the washroom, but they don't count. :)

It sure has been bumpy the last few days.

And for those wondering why I'm calling it the "cookies and ice cream flights" it's because most of our transcon (Trans continental) flights
offer business class fresh baked cookies and ice cream. If there's leftovers we pilots tend to indulge and the rest are given to the kids (I mean the
kids in the back). LOL

Captain Doug said...

Paul (Daniel) Asuncion

That is an excellent idea. I'll just give them my card and say it's in the name of aviation.
On second thought, I would miss my flight because I would be at the police station explaining myself. LOL

Good question (actually an excellent question) about my pending retirement. I know "number one" will be saying, "are you still here?"

I heard one pilot who had retired months before but his wife was unaware. He would don his uniform and leave for a few days.
But she soon put "two and two" together. I'll stop there. :))))

I had to use autoland last night arriving in Halifax's fog. Now sitting in the hotel and a beautiful day has broken out.

Might check out the scenery at Point Pleasant park.

Captain Doug on another "scenery" tour. LOL

Captain Doug said...

Hi Clinton in SRQ.

Divulging what goes on behind the scenes requires walking a fine line. Sometimes I trip on that line so I must post with extreme diplomacy and tact. Many ask why bother. Why have a blog? Why write about this stuff? Why?

Now and again I ask myself the same questions.

But until I get punted, or if a co-worker takes a major offense to it, or if I decide enough is enough... you are going to hear about it. :)

Captain Doug said...

Henry J.

The spoilers, autobrake, reverse is all interconnected. We arm the spoilers for take off in case of a reject.
But autobrake is not activated until passing through 72 knots. Lots to think about when you are barreling down the runway. :)

Captain Doug said...

Hi Heather. We don't have a 1 800 "call airbus" but we do have a MOC (Maintenance Operations Control) in Montreal.

These guys are armed with manuals, computers, "quick fix solutions" for out fleet around the world.

We can also datalink them when airborne. Plus they have the capability of monitoring certain parameters of the airplane while it is flying. Think Air France 447.

And yes there are cup holders and yes spillage is a major concern. Last year an American flight had to divert because of spillage.

I took a picture of a "picture" a young girl sent to the flight deck. I'll post it today. It shows where a "cup holder" is located. So a $60 million dollar planes comes with upgrades like cup holders. :))))

Captain Doug said...

Getjets. It will be almost certain a stiff wind will be blowing on top of Signal Hill. But it makes it all that more invigorating.

The longer you delay the more intense the weather will get so the winds may be lifting more than a babushca. In other words, don't be wearing a dress. LOL

As far as bus drivers... I know a few. And they are pretty good with crosswind landings. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Dave W.

I get on the treadmill to compensate for my "carb fix." But what a price to pay for a cookie! :)

Thanks for the kind words. I'm certain a huge gamut of people are reading this blog. No I'm not bragging, but there are inquisitive people out there and yet nasty ones as well.

So... "Gentle I go into that good night."

Captain Doug tip toeing :)))

Captain Doug said...

Heather. Thanks for the kind words and you are a charmer. And that's good. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Foggy. I had the same look..."that's a big NO-NO" from maintenance when I asked him why he doesn't "open the box"

Now I know. Only specialists are allowed inside. And in hindsight it makes total sense.

And yes cookie crumbs are at the bottom of the list as far as things found in a flight deck. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Hey Bas, thanks for the vote!

When we leave the flight deck we are to clean up after ourselves. It's professional courtesy plus it's written as such.

But little things like crumbs take awhile to disembark. :)))

Captain Doug said...

Wannabe Mike.

There are very strict guidelines when it comes to activities in the flight deck. A few of these guidelines
have been amended. Enough said. :)

How is the Cathay saga going?

Chris Gardner said...

MMMMMMMMMMMMM cookies. Anyways I been busy on dating websites these days just writing to you to let you know I,m still alive, lol. Happy flying Doug and take care, Chris.

Anonymous said...

Dating websites?

Well then...good luck to you too, Chris. Hope you meet someone wonderful... :)

Captain, I wonder if you can add that feature to your blog? Your blog seems to have almost everything else...

Love this place.


Captain Doug said...


I was wondering where you went, but I appreciate people come and go...blog to blog.

But your venture sounds more interesting. Dating websites? Maybe I should set up a link for aviation types that like talking about more than airplanes...now and again. LOL

Do you want me to post your particulars on my blog?

"Stud muffin from St. John's seeking female aviation enthusiast that prefers driving to the airport and watching and talking airplanes instead of romantic
dinners and going for long walks."

Just kidding Chris. I like your forwardness, but I do appreciate it can be tough out there.

Thanks for checking in. :)

Captain Doug said...

Anon. "Number one" believes I should be making money from my blog with the amount of time I spend on it. Maybe this is the answer? An aviation dating service? Talk about a niche!

Here's a questionnaire for my new site?

1. Do you look toward the sky when you here an airplane overhead.

2. Are you Airbus or Boeing or fly both?

3. Do you like props, jets or both?

4. Do like airline meals? Airport restaurant food?

5. Do you like sleeping in different beds...correction...different hotels?

Boy, a person could have fun with this.

Back to my boring aviation blog. But boring is safe. :))))

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha...so funny, Doug!

You know, I would be a perfect match for Chris. Only I am married. I gotta find more like me.....let me check....

does age matter?

Yes, yes...we could have a lot of fun with the aviation dating site...

Where is Getjets?!?!?! We need her opinion...

Captain Doug said...

Anon. If you are married then stay away from those sites. LOL

Captain Doug's dating service....
Site motto: "Come fly with me!"

Not bad, eh? :)))