• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • jim

      Are floatplanes as cool as I think they are? Or did my favorite childhood TV series, Tale Spin, lie to me?

      • Absolutely!

        The most fun I've had was flying floatplanes - there's so much variety in the operation - going to a large working harbour, or a lake where no-ones been for decades.

      • Tailspin is/was one of my favourite shows as well! There were a few times when I'd do a charter and have a few hours of sitting around - if the weather was nice, I'd climb on top of the airplane and jump off the wings into the water!

    • apm

      Have you ever had a near miss?

      • Yes - the closest one was after landing in a harbour, and there was another floatplane that landed just in front of me - no radio calls, no nothing. Just an asshole who thought that 100' was enough room.

        I've had a couple close calls with drones too :(

    • apm

      If you had been Captain “Sulley” Sullenberg, would you have tried to land a plane in the Hudson River?

      • I believe that the Hudson was their best option. It is really easy to sit back when time isn't a factor, and there's no stress to judge what happened, and suggest alternatives.

    • apm

      As the leader of your flight crew, how do you deal with interpersonal conflicts?

      • There's a few topics that we try to avoid - politics and religion are two. There's only been a few people where I've put them on my "avoid" list.

        We have standard operation procedures - with thousands of pilots, we have to follow the framework of our SOPs so that we operate the flight safely - we need to know what to expect of each other, and what the other person is going to do.

      • To expand on my previous answer - most companies have an "avoid" list. If you put somone on your list, the software does it's best to avoid putting the two of you together.

        I've only ever put two people on my avoid list - one for constant, wildly inappropriate discussion, even after I asked him to stop. The other was just a holier-than-thou, god's gift to aviation guy I couldn't stand.

        The flight attendants have a similar list - I was once in a cab with the other pilot, and two FAs - the one FA was telling the other FA how they had almost 60 people on their avoid list. The captain was sitting in the front seat, reading the newspaper. He casually lowered the paper, leaned back, and said "Did you ever think it wasn't everyone else?", and goes back to reading his paper. LOL

    • gorudy

      During a long haul flight what do you do when things are smooth long after take off and hours before landing?

      • Review systems, procedures, emergencies. Talk with the other pilot(s). Read a book/the paper, do the crossword.

        On long flights, we have an augmented crew - when we are on our "break" we have either a seat in business class, or in the bunk where we can sleep, or catch a movie.

    • gorudy

      What's next for Boeing?

      • They quietly rolled out their new 777 model during the grounding of the 737MAX.

        They'll fix the problem with the MAX and the pilots flying those machines will be given additional training. Neither the 737 or Boeing are going anywhere!

    • gorudy

      Should Boeing be criminally responsible for recent crashes?

      • I think Boeing is going to be getting a rather large bill from the airlines that had to ground aircraft.

    • gorudy

      What kind of sunglasses do you wear when you fly?

    • Chris

      How is it possible for pilots to appear to have such nerves of steel when something suddenly goes wrong? If we had data on their heart rates, would they be pegged and they just know how to keep their voices calm?

      • At the airline level, we are regularly in training. I'm in the simulator every 4 months. During these two day sessions, we practice all sorts of emergencies. Our simulators can reproduce over 400 types of emergencies or malfunctions. We are constantly being tested and evaluated on our skills.

        There are very few things that require an instant response. It is far better to take a second or three, evaluate the situation and make the proper decision than to rush into an action that may make things worse.

        Prior to each trip, the crew usually reviews the major "memory items" such as rejected takeoffs, and engine failures on departure. Myself, every time I line up on the runway, I do an additional review.

    • Have you ever experienced a near miss?

      • I've had a few - I already mentioned one in a previous question.

        At the airline level, we have software called TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) - it can 'see' other aircraft around and knows their altitude. If we get too close, it will alert us (starting at about 30 seconds prior to a potential collision). If we continue to get closer, it will change to a "resolution advisory" and give us guidance (such as a climb or descent) to avoid a collision.

    • What is the funniest thing that has happened on one of your flights?

      • A couple of things come to mind!

        1. The flight attendent calling up and asking us to turn on the seat belts because somone was doing yoga in the galley, and refused to leave.

        2. I have a small grasp of French - when we were deplaning after a redeye, a little old lady walked by and was saying "jamais (my airline) jamais (my airline)" I thought she was saying "J'aime (my airline)" so I put on my biggest smile and said "Merci beaucoup madame, merci beaucoup"... The in charge flight attendant just about fell over laughing. So J'aime means I like/love... Jamais means never again. So this lady comes up and is saying never again will I fly with you - and I smiled super big and thanked her very much.

    • Without naming any names, how did you get started in your career? Did you always want to be a pilot?

      • Always!

        I was the kid who'd be playing soccer, and stop to watch a plane fly overhead!

        My first job was flying fish out of, and supplies into commercial camps in Saskatchewan.

    • What are some of your favorite aspects of what you do?

      • At the airline level: Seeing new cities, and different parts of the world. On my layovers (if they're long enough) I always try to get out and do something touristy.

        Floats: Seeing the raw beauty of the country, especially the remote areas.

        Overall: Flying is still pretty magical - I grin every time we lift off!

    • How do pilots deal with jet lag? Are there differences in how prepare for a long haul flight versus a short haul flight?

      • I generally try to keep my sleep as close to my "home" timezone as much as possible.

        Redeyes always suck though!

        If I have a late night departure, I usually try to grab a few hours nap sometime in the late afternoon to make sure I'm on top of my game for departure!

    • Do pilots have to bring their own snacks and drinks with them on the plane? Or do you have snacks and drinks provided?

      • There are some snacks and drinks provided on board - usually whatever is free for the passengers we have access to. We also usually get a large bottle of water at the beginning of each flight.

        I usually bring some of my own snacks as well - especially on domestic flights. We are subject to the same customs restrictions as passengers on international flights, so that can limit us.

    • If you have enough time to do something on a layover, which cities would you hope to fly to, and why?

      • Looking forward to my next long LA layover, I have a couple good friends in the area that I have not seen in far too long, and would like to catch up with!

        Tokyo would be fun for a long stay, jump on the bullet train and check out other parts of the island, like Hiroshima.

    • kwthom

      Have you ever had situations regarding military aircraft/airspace incursions?

      • I've seen a few P3 Orions working low level and dropping torpedoes/sonabuoys into their range when I was flying floats.

    • My uncle is a retired airline pilot (he flew for United). He said there are some airports that are really tricky to navigate. Just in terms of landing and taking off. Which ones would you say are the most difficult?

      • Hmm.. good question!

        Some airports are definitely more difficult than others - La Guardia can be difficult, but it's mostly because of the short(ish) runways and lots of traffic.

        Victoria Harbour can be tough because of winds tumbling over the buildings.

        Each airport has its own challenges.

    • Great discussion. I had the opportunity to sit next to a pilot on a flight last month from SFO >> Nashville -- a really terrific, friendly and personable guy. It was fascinating learning about so many aspects of the job. What advice would you give to a young person who wanted to be a pilot?

      • When you start flight training, don't take breaks. The more time off between flights. The longer it is going to take. You'll have to review previous lessons, etc...

        Don't worry too much about not "feeling ready". A license is a license to learn.