A description of a typical day’s flight from Montreal to Vancouver and return - as a backdrop for a detailed, non-technical description of what an airline pilot does. (check left hand column for series index).
Time: CYVR Departure minus 0H00
We’re both a little more awake than we were in the Montreal darkness this morning. So the checklists and start up procedures flow even more smoothly - and a little faster.
We’re soon waved off and under way and as our final load figures begin scrolling off the printer F/O Paula confirms that we’re loaded to the gunwales.
We arrive at the button of runway 26L with the checks complete and I make one last check over my left shoulder to ensure no one will try to occupy the same space time coordinates before continuing onto the runway. My plan to use a rolling takeoff is interrupted by a Beaver puttering southbound along the coastline. I recite our take off speeds and confirm our initial climbout altitude as we wait. Then:
“Goose Air, One One Two, you’re cleared take off, runway two six left.”
The thrust levers go up through the clicks to the TOGA slot, there’s a second where it seems as if nothing is happening except for a rise in the noise then slowly the Lumber Jet accelerates.
Rotation speed is 160 kts. and it seems to take forever to get there. A gentle tug on the stick and we leave the rumbling pavement behind and transition into the rich sea-level air. After only a slight pause the altimeter begins a determined run up the scale.
The usual thumps and whirrs. Some quick calls and frequency changes and we are soon out over the open ocean west of Vancouver then turning majestically through south towards south-east towards an inspiring view of Mount Baker.
“Goose Air 112, direct to Princeton, maintain flight level 230.” The air is smoother now than when we arrived. It’s often surprising how quickly areas of turbulence can well up, then subside. But up ahead as we near the mountain range again, the clouds convince me to leave the seat belts ‘on’ for a while yet. I ask FO Paula to make an announcement to keep our new flight attendant crew and passengers in the know.
Above ten thousand feet I put Otto back to work and move my chair closer to the windows for a view of the lower mainland and Fraser valley. This time of the year the green-drenched ground is a welcome relief from the December blahs dominant in most of the country.
We’re soon level at FL330 with the cruise checks all done. The countdown to home is underway. The datalink comes alive with an update from our flight dispatcher. South-western Quebec along with parts of Ontario and New York state are rapidly deteriorating into a serious winter wonderland. Visibility continues to drop. Snow continues to fall.
I glance at the estimated fuel overhead Montreal. The first of many such glances over the next few hours.
Time: CYUL arrival minus 4H30
Max weights of interest:
- Maximum taxi weight............................................................75 900 kg (167 329 lb)
– Maximum takeoff weight (brake release) ................75 500 kg (166 447 lb)
– Maximum landing weight .....................................................64 500 kg (142 198 lb)
– Maximum zero fuel weight ................................................60 500 kg (133 380 lb)