Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I think this clip has been around for a while. Or maybe I just saw it in a nightmare I had once. A 747 gets hit by lightning while taking off in a thunderstorm.

To me the solution might be to not take off in a thunderstorm, but then again I'm not a 747 Captain.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heading straight west for 2 tanks of gas gets us here...

Departing one airport for another one nearby, we pass over a normal, boring area of houses.
Click on any/all pics to make em bigger.

Wait a minute...let's zoom in a little. Those aren't all just houses....

Miles and miles of the awesomeness that is a US military airplane graveyard. How many billions of dollars went into these planes? I wonder what stories they could tell?

On approach, we watched the sun play with the fog in the hills.

Yeah, my job is pretty cool.

The next pic down is what we saw when this convo took place:
"Sully-1, call the airport in sight. It's 12 o'clock and 10 miles."
"Umm, if you say so. I'm thinking we'd like vectors for the ILS"
"The airport is reporting 15 miles visibility"; the controller spoke slowly and carefully, as clearly he was dealing with a moron who couldn't find a simple airport in the middle of the desert.

After landing, we saw a gorgeous turbine Beaver arrive. The logo on the tail is 2 otters, so I'm thinking this plane must have a big brother around somewhere.

After finishing flying for the day, I went back to the hotel where I discovered an amazing thing. Did you know you can get grapefruits from trees now instead of just in stores? What will they think of next!

I continue my obsession with recording little videos of my hotel rooms...

Friday, January 18, 2008

We are looking to hire a charter coordinator for our operation. I suck at drumming up business, so it's time to hire someone who doesn't suck, and who can get us 150 - 200 hours worth of client charter per year.

Do you live somewhere near the Greater Toronto Area?
Are you good with people?
Are you smart?
Can you legally work in Canada?

This is a NON-FLYING position, and it won't lead to flying down the road. We want someone who will make this into a long-term position, and who will invest time and energy into this job, so I'm not really interested in someone who will just do this until they can get a flight crew position.

Here's the offical job description; please email me a resume if you are interested.

Position: Charter Coordinator
Contact Person: Sulako (I'm gonna be reading the resumes, and I'll be happy to give you my real name and our company's name in the fullness of time)
Street Address: 2450 Derry Road East, Hangar 9 (North End of Pearson)
City: Mississauga
State/Province: Ontario
Fax number: 905 405 8608
Apply via: Email, Fax
Aircraft Types: C550

Job Description:


We are a small corporate flight department that also does the occasional charter. We would like to focus a little more on the charter side, and are interested in hiring someone who can help develop that for us. The successful candidate would have a background in aviation and be a motivated self-starter, good with customers, and have a decent knowledge of marketing. You would be responsible for contacting new and previous clients, generating and implementing a marketing plan, organizing charters and flight following, and overseeing the day-to-day activities of our flight department.

We own and operate a Citation 550 (Citation II) light jet, which is based at Toronto Pearson airport. We have office space at the north end of Toronto Pearson airport as well as our parent company's main office in Oakville.

Email me your resume at or fax it to 905 405 8608 and let's talk!

Wages: Our owner believes "What gets rewarded gets done" and we want this done. Above Industry Standard wages + full benefits (dental, prescriptions, RRSP match, etc.)

Closing Date: Feb 1st 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This is how I want to end my flying career, rather than, say, blunt trauma followed by a fire.

In this video, a United 747-400 is performing a low approach at Frankfurt International airport on Rwy 25L. This was a retirement flight of the captain and the tower in Frankfurt asked him if he would do a low approach.

It was filmed from the tower.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year! I hope 2008 is spectacular for all the right reasons.

Well my ear has healed to the point that I can fly so that's cool. One note I wanted to bring you up to speed on. Got some others too;

Aviatrix over at Cockpit Conversation blog has gone from a public blog to an authors-only blog for the time being. This may change again in a short while, but for now, from now on Cockpit Conversation won't be public. It's nothing personal, she has to do it for professional reasons and that makes total sense to me. You aren't missing any posts, so don't worry that you are falling behind; She hopes to be blogging again soon and I'll certainly update with details as they become available to me.

I wonder what joys and tribulations the next year will bring us? I'm guessing more trouble in the middle east, skyrocketing fuel prices, more ominous weather patterns, more abuses of authority, more cat-hoardings, more carjackings live on tv and more gross obesity.

I just read that we can expect to pay $1.50/l for gasoline this summer (around here, gas has been about a buck a litre ($3.75/gallon); man am I glad I drive a Civic hybrid - even at those prices $75 will get me 900km easily and 1,000 if I drive obnoxiously fuel-efficiently.

Not so much can be done about the jet though.

We burn 160 gallons of gas per hour on average. When I started in mid 2005, our direct fuel burn cost would be around $390/hour. Reading our last weeks fuel provider invoice, our fuel burn cost was closer to $730/hour. So for each hour of operation, we paid $340/hour more just in gas, and nearly twice as much on fuel as we did only 2 1/2 years ago. Our new fuel provider currently offers a fuel burn cost of roughly $510/hour, still $120 more than 2 1/2 years ago, but a little easier to absorb. For now.

I don't know at what point it won't be economically viable to operate a small business jet. At $10/gallon, a figure that is entirely possible to see in places like New York or Boston in the event of a fuel shortage, we would pay $1,600/hour in fuel cost alone. Set aside engines, parts and maintenance and you are looking at $2,600/hour in operating costs. Oh, if you happen to be running it as a charter you might want to make a profit in the order of $1,000/hour. Even if you whittle away at that, there isn't much leeway before the owner decides that chartering the plane at near-cost isn't worth it and pulls the plug on charters. Anyway, you can see that fuel prices have a direct impact on our charter rates, and I worry about how many customers are willing to pay the increasingly insane amounts of money for fuel that it takes to get from point A to B in style and convenience.

Now my real point; I'm 36. I still have 29 years to go before retirement. Is my job going to last that long? Is the corporate pilot job model obsolete? If it is, what should I be doing? Buying a plot of land somewhere and taking survival courses in the event of global armageddon? Do I need to learn how to shoot my own burgers? Mmm, burgers. Any thoughts?