!!!!! 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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just "plane" people

I've been getting lots of links to this WAR (World Air Route) "Just planes" video on Air Canada's A320 fleet.

So why wasn't I in this video....is the question asked???? Just because I write for enRoute, have a book, (sold two last night at FL 380), give presentations and talks on behalf of AC, answer to the PR department, teach weather to the new hires, and command their A320 on average 75 to 85 hours a month....I am NOT management nor a supervisor.

I'm just seniority number 1171 bidding 194 out of 382 Toronto based A320 captains. A nobody with a blog. :(((

But keep in mind these guys and one girl did a GREAT JOB!!!! Really!!! And yes all of them are supervisors and management (except maybe the female F/O) who are all junior to me. No I am not sore. Again, I approached this production company, but they stipulated the fleet manager picks the pilots. That's fair.

Everyone loves talking about their job and this unequivocally pertains to pilots. There would have been a line up to do that video. And besides, these guys were better looking and articulated very well! lol

Sometimes I wonder why I do what I do. Tomorrow I will be teaching a class of new hires weather for five hours on a holiday! (I had to bid the day off) No one else is teaching except for me. I am not really impressed, especially when I am host to visiting relatives.

As a lark, I checked the schedules of these junior supervisors. Either they are on vacation or have the long weekend off.

My Toronto bound flight is scheduled in near Midnight meaning I walk in the door at 1:00 a.m and my course starts 9: 00 a.m. But wait, crew sked just called me here in San Francisco and my flight is now 45 minutes delayed. That's 45 airline minutes. Translation...I won't be waking up my visiting relatives until 2:30 a.m or so.

Yes, sometimes I wonder why I do what I do. And "number one" repetitively asks the same question. Big time! LOL

Monday, July 25, 2011

Readying for a "Red Eye"

Lots of tourists on the go.....in San Fran...

Getting ready to head back on a "red eye." We touch down in Toronto at 5:30 a.m. But wait a minute, isn't there a curfew until 6:30 a.m? Yes there is, but there are about four flights exempt. I've been on approach where it showed 6:29 a.m. What do you do? Well luckily the flight made the curfew restriction but for others it meant a "go-around." Yes, the curfew is for noise abatement, but what does a jet sound like when at full power in a go-around? The games we play.

Only in California

Was that for us? 

I had to admire this guy's initiative and sense of humour. Captain "Softie" gave him a buck for the pic.

It reminded me of an old aviation joke.

Before I tell it...here's some background. Sometimes the odd transmission goes unnoticed by pilots so we tend to look at each other and ask, "was that for us?"


A guy walks into the bar... but prior to entering he noticed a guy sprawled out on the ground in a drunken stupor. The guy asks the bar tender what the scoop was with the drunkard.

The bartender said, "I think he is a retired pilot, because now and again he jumps to full attention, wide eyed and blurts out....was that for us?"

I thought it was cute.

Gone flying.

Captain Red Eye

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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

E=mc(squared) or E=mc^2

Even though I have a physics degree I still can't fathom Einstein's E=M*C (squared) nor can I explain any better the coffin corner. I am not an aerospace engineer, but if you told me "a digging upper trough at 500 millibars and its associated positive vorticity advection may kick off some low level instability" then you got my attention.

Got a request from an avid aviation fan with a doozy of a question. Can anyone help him? I think he is getting confused on the yellow speed tape portion. The actual stall speed is near the bottom. You have to pass through Vls and alpha prot...

Heck, as an airline pilot I am paid to stay out of the red tape and the yellow tape (see below). If I do enter this envelope then I get really apprehensive, it sends mesaages to MCC (Maintenance Control Centre) and I have to answer for everything.

So all you Airbus experts out there....bring it on for this guy!

NOTE: PFD should read as PRIMARY Flight Display...late night for me. :))) Oopsie

I've got a question about the Coffin Corner. I read a post on your blog and have heard different explanations from different sources, I am trying to get it straight in my head. The intent of this question is not to prove you right or wrong, I'm just confused.

In your post you describe it as the altitude where Vs increases and your Vne decreases ( i know the terms in the airbus are a bit different) to create a small margin for error.

Your indicated stall speed would stay the same with an increase in altitude would it not?  The True stall speed would increase, but all things being equal indicated stall speed stays the same. On the PFD pic of Coffin Corner on your blog, it shows your Vs at around 250 KIAS, but if the previous fact is true that indicated stays the same with altitude, then that means that your Vs in clean configuration is 250 KIAS at Sea Level. Is that true? That speed seems high to me (I dont fly a jet so I could be very wrong or missing a huge piece of the puzzle)

Where I get confused is I have also read it is the altitude where the low speed buffet and high speed buffet meet.  

The other explanation I have heard is that low speed buffet is an angle of attack where the air over the wing is accelerated above the magic speed where you get a shockwave which separates the laminar flow with a decrease in lift and increase in drag (very similar to a stall).  And the high speed buffet is where your actual speed is that magical speed where the shockwave separates the flow causing you to lose lift.

Can you enlighten me?

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. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Image is Everything

What you see is what you get.....

 "Customer surveys indicate a perception exists which establishes a relationship between a neat groomed appearance and a safe disciplined flight deck. Therefore it is important that the personal appearance of pilots should match this perception."

When I fly to Florida tomorrow rest assured everyone will be eyeing the first officer and I when we near the gate. Actually, they will be eyeing up the F/O even more, he is very good looking and fit. He also ran in the runway run and is one hell of a hockey player. Oh well, I'm still boss....lol....

A captain wears four stripes on their tunic and epaulettes. The hat has more embroidery. The F/O's hat does not have the "scrambled eggs." The tunic must be buttoned at all times unlike our American counterparts. Hats are also becoming an option or non-existent. We still kept ours. The gold "wings" are found on the tunic and also on the shirt.

Not only is image everything, but tradition plays a major role. The captain's hat is placed on the left and the F/O's on the right. Left is where the captain sits. Left and right is referenced when looking out from of an airplane not looking in. Confused? :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

EnRoute's July is up!

I want to thank Christer Tepper, Julie Theriot, and Mark Wolpert for submitting these "July" questions and you all just so happen to be readers of my blog. You may think you do not know Julie, but she has many guises. I will give you a hint...her initials are  ^J^. :))) She's the most frequent, vivacious, and prolific commenter this blog sees.

For Julie's question I referenced runway 23 in Halifax. I landed on that exact runway last night at dusk with a beautiful Maritime evening making for a perfect "time frame" to file in the noggin. I told both the F/O and pilot in the jumpseat (there is always a commuter in the jump to/fro Halifax)... "I soloed on this same runway 31 years ago." They were in shock I was THAT old. lol
My mind sure went into the reminisce mode... but muscle memory, timing and a quick snap back to reality allowed a "greaser." LOL

My F/O landing back in Toronto at midnight after a 12:30 duty day must have had a muscle twitch with his muscle memory. I'm certain he wished he had that landing back. :))) Yes, we have all been there!!!

Christer mentioned enRoute is recruiting a "frequent flyer" to write for them. It's posted on the Flyertalk forum. There are lots of "elites" and "super elites" on my blog. What about it, guys? And before you ask if this is writing on the wall for me...I say bring it on. :)))))

P.S Want your name up in lights? I need two more questions for October. The question, "Why doesn't the B777 have winglets?" made the cut. 




Captain Doug Morris answers your questions about aviation.

Q: How does your flying stack up to an Air Canada Elite® or Super Elite® passenger?  
Christer Tepper
Charlotte, North Carolina
Air Canada’s Top Tier program requires 35,000 Status Miles or 50 flight segments for Elite status and 100,000 Status Miles or 95 segments for Super Elite status. In the past year, I flew 775 hours or 268 segments, equalling some 300,000 Miles. I’ve met a number of Super Elite members who fly nearly 150 segments per year, many of whom enjoy the inside information from my column.  
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.
Q: How are pilots assigned their flights?  
Mark Wolpert
Thornhill, Ontario
Monthly rosters are computer generated. Near the middle of the month, flight pairings become available for the following month and we get to work bidding on our “blocks,” based on seniority. In my own case, I try to avoid red-eyes and early-morning flights. Many pilots avoid flying on weekends, while others pick warm destinations during the winter months. Certain airports can be specially selected or avoided, and we can choose by length of layovers as well. The wish list can be long, and by the third week of the month, the blocks are awarded. And, yes, we hold our breath…  

Doug Morris is an Air Canada pilot and captain on the Airbus A320.

Got an aviation question? Send it to 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Captain Doug!

Fifty years ago, Douglas Edward Morris was born in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland. He grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and now resides in Toronto.

Many will  deem my video narcissistic, but heck anyone who hosts a blog could be labelled pompous, egotistic, vain, and an attention seeker. LOL

Always thought getting old would suck, but now I look at it as an accomplishment. (Oops, there is a self-centered comment)

My intent (really) was to say... max out your life!!!! Many people die in their thirties but live until their eighties. 

Captain Doug...fifty today

Friday, July 1, 2011

Thank You!

Thanks Everyone!!!!

......gone flying.......

Captain Doug Morris

Received this from a young fan on one of my last flights.
I mistook the 'control tower" to be a submarine. :)

From the same artist

From my last school talk. "Number one" says part of the pact will be no more "freebies."
I think it's a gorgeous mug.

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