You all know that I am a commercial pilot who would like to be an airline pilot. So, you would probably guess that when an airline in-flight magazine has a column written by one of the pilots, I read it with a mixture of admiration and ambition, imagining that I could be doing that someday. That's half the reason they put that column in there, isn't it? Almost everyone wants to talk to the pilot, to be reassured that he or she seems competent and caring, or just to get a touch of that stardust that makes these huge airplanes fly. For me the column counts double, because not only do I want to be the one flying the plane, I'm already one of those doing the writing. I love to write and to explain my job to people.
On Air Canada, my country's flag carrier, the pilot who writes the From the Flight Deck column is Captain Doug Morris. The other day, completely out of the blue, I received e-mail from Doug Morris. Not just any old e-mail, but e-mail thanking me for the piloting resources I put on the Internet. I was ten feet tall for the rest of the day. It's comparable to a struggling writer getting e-mail from Margaret Atwood. (Or perhaps from John Irving, to put that in American translation). So of course I wrote back, and he wrote back, etcetera. Captain Morris shares my interest not only in flying and in writing about aviation, but about aviation weather. He even has a degree in meteorology. (I'm self-taught). As many of you who have started private e-mail conversations with me know, it ends in us telling each other stories. Doug tells good stories.
He has recently published a book which is a compilation of his From the Flight Deck columns. Sample his style on his blog where he posts some of his magazine columns. It's a real blog though, including not-published-elsewhere original entries such as this detailed account of his latest recurrent sim training. You have to be able to take off in the sim, knowing that all manner of things are going to go wrong and that you will handle them correctly in order to keep your job. That demonstrates your ability to take off in real life, never knowing what might go wrong, and being able to handle that correctly so you and your passengers can stay alive.
En route now uses a question and answer format for the From the Flight Deck column, so Doug is currently soliciting questions to use in a similar context on his blog. I suggest you click over there and ask your airline flying questions now, before he has too many to answer. I expect that fans of my blog or of Dave's Flight Level 390 will make From the Flight Deck a regular read.