Tips for float flying on the West Coast

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Dwesty
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Dwesty » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:04 pm

Excellent posts!

Dare I recommend this to be a "sticky"?

Great info here guys. Thank you all for taking the time to share your opinions & experiences.
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180
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:31 pm

Having second thoughts yet? :wink: :lol:

All the good advice on this thread validates why coastal operators want someone with at least 1000 hrs PIC on floats on type and as much mountain time as possible. It's not always rainbows and puppy dogs...especially in the Fall, Winter, Spring and Faugust.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:08 pm

This thread shows that this forum can and does offer a very excellent platform form which new pilots can and do get valuable opinions....soooo..

First to 180:

I appreciate your input here and hope you do not take any of my comments as a negative towards you or your thoughts on this subject, so with that out of the way I would like to elaborate on what you said. :smt008
Glassy water landings, coincidentally, being another VFR scenario where you are depending on your instruments to set you down safely. (VSI + ASI)
A glassy water landing actually is setting up the airplane in a stabilized approach to a landing surface you can not see, be it water, ice, snow, sand any surface that you can not see including a runway obscured by cloud/fog.

The most critical aspect of this type of landing is the " attitude " in which the airplane contacts the surface and the rate of descent at contact.

Therefore such landings can be described as either a VFR or IFR scenario.

It's totally true Cat and Bob, avoiding the scenario all together is your best course of action. And I personally will do everything I can to avoid it, be it going well out of my way to follow shorelines for reference or cancel altogether.
Agreed:
But sometimes the show must go on,
I do not agree, for the simple reason that if you have reached that position in any flight you have made a truly dangerous mistake by getting there in the first place.
and arming yourself with as much training for your worst case scenarios as possible (a little refresher hood time) is better than hoping they don't happen and then shitting your pants when they do.
Refresher hood time is valuable for maintaining the skills needed to fly in IMC, I personally do not recommend such training as part of VFR flying because it is subliminally setting up one to venture beyond flight in VMC conditions to flight in IMC conditions.

By the way I do not believe in the use of wearing a hood to practice flying by reference to flight instruments only..it is sort of like wearing a condom with holes in it. :mrgreen:
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:28 pm

There have been three times during my career when I had to land in virtually zreo zero visibility conditions.

The first time was Penticton in a Tri gear Beech 18 at night .

The second time was in Whitehorse in a DC3 in ice fog on one engine.

The third time was in Niamey Niger in a Harmattan dust storm in a PBY.

On each occasion I was on an IFR flight plan and the weather went to hell and I had no choice but land.

I was taught how to land zero zero by one of the best pilots I ever met, so that should I ever have to I could do it with confidence.

His training is part of the reason I am here now. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by warbirdpilot7 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:42 pm

Cat Driver wrote:There have been three times during my career when I had to land in virtually zreo zero visibility conditions.

The first time was Penticton in a Tri gear Beech 18 at night .

The second time was in Whitehorse in a DC3 in ice fog on one engine.

The third time was in Niamey Niger in a Harmattan dust storm in a PBY.

On each occasion I was on an IFR flight plan and the weather went to hell and I had no choice but land.

I was taught how to land zero zero by one of the best pilots I ever met, so that should I ever have to I could do it with confidence.

His training is part of the reason I am here now. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Sincerley Cat, we all benefit from you being here :wink:
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Northern Flyer » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:50 pm

Lots of times I close my eyes just before touchdown. Could this be considered a zero zero landing?

All kidding aside, though I cannot offer any advice or input on flying on the coast, I too agree that pushing the weather is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. From my own experience, when you are successful in marginal weather it makes it easier to push it over and over until you don't even consider the weather marginal anymore. I always found that I was my own worst enemy, I always pushed myself harder than any employer ever did. It's a slippery slope, so be smart.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:34 pm

The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


After over a half a century of flying no one ever died because of my decision not to fly.
May I add that there were times when saying no resulted in loss of employment because I would not be bullied.

However I did manage to complete many flights safely.
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:12 pm

Cat Driver wrote:First to 180:

I appreciate your input here and hope you do not take any of my comments as a negative towards you or your thoughts on this subject, so with that out of the way I would like to elaborate on what you said.
No offense taken Cat. I appreciate your input too. Life would be pretty boring if everybody thought, felt, talked, dressed, flew the same machine, lived in the same place, liked the same vacation spot...

And I also appreciate how tone, context, and sarcasm can get lost or misinterpreted in forums, e-mails and texts.
Cat Driver wrote:Refresher hood time is valuable for maintaining the skills needed to fly in IMC, I personally do not recommend such training as part of VFR flying because it is subliminally setting up one to venture beyond flight in VMC conditions to flight in IMC conditions.
Here's another eternal debate that I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on.

I think every pilot should do their IFR training. It just plain makes you a better, safer pilot. I can see where you're coming from (kind of) that if someone is IFR rated, they might push the VFR boundaries. It does create yet another grey area. But when push comes to shove and you're on a VFR flight and suddenly the rain clouds open up and now you are in the middle of a downpour and can't see shit, well at least you can calmly do what you have to do without putting yourself (and your passengers) into a spiral dive (JFK jr. syndrom?)
But sometimes the show must go on
The moment I typed those words, I knew they would get pounced on.

I wasn't saying the show must go on so let's push the weather.

Local GFA's (another great tip brought up by a previous poster), webcams, pireps, and phone calls to camps only go so far when it comes to weather reports. We all know how spotty and shifty the weather gets around here, and sometimes the only way to know whether it's flyable/doable or not is to go for a scout and check it out. This is a reality. No getting around it. Obviously if it's shitty, then turn around, land, do whatever you need to do to be safe, but sitting around the base waiting for the next high pressure system to arrive doesn't really make sense in the real world.

Being a commercial pilot means flying when most private pilots would wait for another day. (I imagine this one will get pounced on too, but I'm getting used to saying what other experienced guys know to be true.)
Northern Flyer wrote:Lots of times I close my eyes just before touchdown. Could this be considered a zero zero landing
Ha ha. I've laughed out loud at a couple of your comments recently. Good one. I like the Johnny Depp as Hunter S Thompson pic too. A couple more very funny guys.

It takes about 50 hours to learn HOW to fly, but it can take a lifetime to learn WHEN to fly.

It's better to be on the ground wishing you were flying, rather than flying and wishing you were on the ground

Fly safe all.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:38 pm

180:

We both think the same basically, and I agree that the more training one receives and the more skills one is competent in the better the chance to survive...including learning to fly IFR.

However in that I post in my own name I try and give advice based on suggesting the most safe way to do things when a new pilot asks a question. :mrgreen:

I'm sure you already have figured that out. :mrgreen:
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:35 pm

Ya, for sure Cat.

And I very much respect that you post as a genuine person rather than remaining anonymous.

People who've pm'd me know who I am, I'm definitely not hiding anything.

Posting as an anonymous user allows me to be more forthright, honest and straight forward about a subject rather than having to tip toe around an issue for fear of affecting the reputation of the company I am affiliated with.

My handle, 180, was how much I weighed when I joined this forum over a decade ago. I should probably update it to 195. Ha ha.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:45 pm

Actually the only reason I started here and used my real name was to expose the way TCCA is managed at the top and how morally corrupt their system is.

I was allowed to post here and tell it like it is because I know the owner of this forum and could provide irrevocable documentation on every statement I made.

Much of my documentation came right straight from the top management in TCCA in letter form signed by them, their arrogance is only exceeded by their stupidity.

As time passes I still post here and hope that maybe I can help some young person in their career, knowing who to trust and who not to trust is important and it is very important that people know the facts about the regulator.

For sure one must never ever trust those at the top of TCCA , and those who you can trust in the lower levels are shackled by the system and dare not go against their superiors...sad but true.
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by skybaron » Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:08 pm

The Old Fogducker wrote:Although the legal min vis for the west coast is 2 miles, you'll quickly learn that regulation is totally meaningless, and there will be nobody that you can turn to for assistance if the boss kicks you out the door in 1/4 mile vis or less in fog. It will be up to you to say no and be prepared to be threatened by some operators who will behave as if they had just escaped from a mental institution .... lots of yelling & screaming, red faced ranting with forehead veins bulging, threatening you with your job, calling you a coward, snide comments like ... "makes 'ya wonder how they got around in the old days doesn't it?" ... showing you a drawer full of resumes and saying each one of these guys wants your job, "well if you won't go now, when will you feel its good enough?" .... etc. Don't be afraid to walk away from a job ... its better than being shrimp food on the bottom of the ocean.

You'll get ZERO help from Transport Canada if you try and talk to them. In some ways, its still the last of the wild west, where only survivors survive.

Been there. Sad but true.

TC is absolutely useless in their so-called governance of 703 ops.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by buck82 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:50 pm

Actually Legal min on the south coast will be 1 mile vis in special vfr while in the control zone. As for the previous post suggesting there are operators screeming with bulging veins at their pilots to fly in fog.. cant think of anyone around here that would do this.. and clearly if you encounter an employer this senile go public wiht the information, Im sure the press would have a feild day with it.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by skybaron » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:15 am

buck82 wrote:Actually Legal min on the south coast will be 1 mile vis in special vfr while in the control zone. As for the previous post suggesting there are operators screeming with bulging veins at their pilots to fly in fog.. cant think of anyone around here that would do this.. and clearly if you encounter an employer this senile go public wiht the information, Im sure the press would have a feild day with it.
Laughable.

I doubt you've been employed with every operator out on the coast. Don't kid yourself, this stuff (pushing weather) does happen, and will continue to happen as it always has for the past 50 years.

Why else would drivers push weather. Ego? Maybe. Or, it's the unwritten, never spoken of company doctrine that says if you don't fly in this, then there are plenty of people who want your job, and will. Could be a combination of both, Ego and Pressure.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:30 am

and clearly if you encounter an employer this senile go public wiht the information, Im sure the press would have a feild day with it.
The truth is flying in weather that is below legal limits on the west coast is so common the press would only yawn if you called them and tried to get them to print it.

Case in point would be to refresh your memory of the Grumman Goose fatal crash out of Vancouver and have a look at the weather he departed in and the weather enroute.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by The Old Fogducker » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:44 am

After a few of our pilots stumbled into fog banks or snow showers after being berated into taking off in super-crummy weather ... going to zero-zero vis in the blink of an eye because you were in it before you could detect it coming up and take evasive action, it took a "strike" by our pilots before management pressure in all its most negative possible forms ceased ... all of us agreeing that we wouldn't initiate a departure in less than 1/2 mile vis ..... one quarter of the minimum legal requirement.

Part of the withdrawal of our services was that we were going to go to the media and contact the company's customers directly to explain our concerns ... the lack of response from Mgt required me calling a friend who was a news anchor on a Vancouver TV station while I was sitting in the Ops Mgr's office. He finally backed off from his bluff and bluster when I was placed on hold waiting for my buddy to pick up the extension.

When we all started flying in 1/2 mile or greater, it seemed like we'd gone on vacation.

The Old Fogducker
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by buck82 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:30 pm

This accident and a couple of others are very fresh in my memory, I read the report and its was sickening.
Cat Driver wrote:
Case in point would be to refresh your memory of the Grumman Goose fatal crash out of Vancouver and have a look at the weather he departed in and the weather enroute.
skybaron wrote:Laughable.

I doubt you've been employed with every operator out on the coast. Don't kid yourself, this stuff (pushing weather) does happen, and will continue to happen as it always has for the past 50 years.
Very true, I have not, and also do not plan to be employed by every operator on the coast. That you find my post laughable intrigues me. You seem to be saying that because this has happened for the past 50yrs, so it should for the next 50. How can you as a professional pilot condone reckless and negligent operation of aircraft? Or excuse it because of past practices?

My hat is off to The Old Fogducker who actually had the balls to do something about it. The only remaining question is why go out in 1/2 mile if the min was 2 miles? Surely (again) the press would have a field day; especially if it was shown that Transport Canada was not doing its multi-million dollar job to deal with problem operators.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:48 pm

The only remaining question is why go out in 1/2 mile if the min was 2 miles? Surely (again) the press would have a field day; especially if it was shown that Transport Canada was not doing its multi-million dollar job to deal with problem operators.
For many decades I did everything in my power to improve flight safety including taking TCCA to court for refusing to enforce the law in an airline.

Never, ever have I experienced any back up from TCCA, however should a pilot try and expose any operator who is operating outside the law by going to the news media you are almost certain to be unemployed.

If you are interested in how TC works all you need do is read all the stuff I have posted on Avcanada and see where it got me even after I won my legal battle with them.

There is only one person who can ensure safe flight and ensure you stay within the law.

"""YOU """
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by El Capitan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:35 am

There have been three times during my career when I had to land in virtually zreo zero visibility conditions.

The first time was Penticton in a Tri gear Beech 18 at night .

The second time was in Whitehorse in a DC3 in ice fog on one engine.

The third time was in Niamey Niger in a Harmattan dust storm in a PBY.

On each occasion I was on an IFR flight plan and the weather went to hell and I had no choice but land.

I was taught how to land zero zero by one of the best pilots I ever met, so that should I ever have to I could do it with confidence.


Hey, Cat. Is there a Coles notes version of what you were taught for this situation, for us young-ins?
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:21 am

Hey, Cat. Is there a Coles notes version of what you were taught for this situation, for us young-ins?
Not to my knowledge.

My training was really quite simple and uncomplicated, the pilot who trained me just put a map in the windshield in front of me and I flew the ILS normally except at the later stage of the approach I was set up in a glassy water attitude and held the center line using the localizer needle until I contacted the runway.

If at any time I got off the runway the other pilot just tapped my hand on the power levers and executed a missed approach and took the map away so I could see how far off the center line I had gotten.

Really not to difficult a way to train.
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by West Coast Swell » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:12 am

I have not posted on Avcanada for a very long time. However .. this topic is special for me and I felt it only appropriate to make my West Coast comment.

So here goes.

My suggestion to the new guy is just this.

Talk to the line pilots and ask them questions. Usually ... you are line indocted at each destination and then slowly feed into the system. I don't know which part of the coast you are going to or who you are being hired by ? North .. Mid or South coast operator... they all have equal operating dynamics just not as severe the further south you go. My advice is to talk to the line pilots once you get there... they will know best. Be open minded and listen to what they say.... If you are wise enough to listen ... apply what they are telling you into your daily flight schedule and all will be fine. Have a plan with your fellow pilots on the shitty days. Where I worked ... if you where the new guy ... we would all go to the alternate if the weather was poor. Rather than only you going to the alternate because you where not comfortable to land at the poor weather destination. It's called sticking together ... ie .. being a team. Again ... if I was still online on midcoast and the weather was marginal or the wind was blowing the wrong way for the lodge move that we where scheduled to do... I would probably walk up to you and tell you ... dude ... today is looking like an alternate day. Usually the most experienced pilot goes first when the weather is marginal and decides if it is possible re company weather wind minimums. Always respecting the weakest link which would be you. So really ... I don't think you have too much to worry about it. Any quality operator on the coast will have a procedure (SOP) for poor weather operations. I can say for a fact there are no operators on the Coast looking to scare their passengers, risk damaging aircraft or are willingly to push the new guy out into a crappy conditions. The challenging poor weather conditions that evereyone talks about on the B.C. coast are usually flown by the most experienced pilots first and they make the call weather you junior pilots should come out and play. And when it gets really crappy ... no one goes. So what am I getting at here.... My summary is as follows ... remember ... First hand experience is the key to your safety and survival. Listen and learn... don't have a know it all attitude... be open to problem solving solutions. If your asked to do something that you don't think is safe ... don't just not do it ... identify why you don't want to do it and talk it out with the experienced pilots. Coastal Float flying was great for me. It made me who I am now. I survived 10,000 hours of Mid Coast time on a 180, 185, beaver, turbine beaver, amphib beaver, turbine otter , Goose and was fortunate to have learned from the Best. The best is still up there ... If you have been fortunate to be hired to fly floats on the coast my recommendation is to Look ... Listen and Learn ....you will have great time. It's been done before!
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by West Coast Swell » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:08 am

After having had a chance to re - read what I wrote above ... I can see I have possibly opened the door to negative comments re .. poor weather flying. As I sit here and ponder the negative comments to follow ... I can say this. In my time as a line pilot on the Coast I have been immediately impacted by the tragic loss of many lives via plane crash. Many close Co- workers ... friends ... regular trusting passengers have lost there lives due to poor decision making ..... not only have I as a line pilot been a witness to the death and destruction that arrives from CFIT ... so too has management. Ultimately ... after the tragic loss is experienced by the families and friends who suffered from the accident... management is left with the crisis of creating new policy to never .. ever .. permit this from happening again. In my circle of life... I can say for a fact .. proactive solutions have been implemented to reduce ... if not eliminate the risk of CFIT by all mid coast operators after every instance. Some people my role there eyes at reading this but its the truth. Take it from a Line Pilot who has first hand inside exposure. One crash .. two crashes ... three whatever.... the inevitable fact is that after each accident the world becomes a safer place for the travelling public. At a huge cost I agree. Where I work.... I'm not going to get into specific policy here but .... both management and line crew have since sat up and taken a hard line look at why! From my experience the Mid Coast operators have changed their SOP's to mitigate the "chance". Some operators make you sign a termination of employment document .. others have minimums published in there SOP's. Other operators just say no. Where I work the poor weather flying days of the past are very much just that. We do not do it anymore. So to end this email to the new guy about to begin flying the B.C. Coast.... If your lucky enough to be hired by a pro-active company like the one I work for and you are wise enough to respect the operational parameters and restrictions that have been put in place re poor weather flying by the operator I think you will have a great summer flying floats on the B.C. Coast.

Ps. I kinda went all over here on this posting sorry. I know what its like ready long postings. But as I said earlier, this topic is special to me. And I know there are a few people out there in the world who would appreciate what I have commented on re float plane issues on the B.C. Coast.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by DHCdriver » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:33 am

I'll listen to long winded expierenced guys any day, Keep it up, I really enjoy your posts. Fly Safe.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:14 pm

Ya, good stuff West Coast Swell...
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by beaverbob » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:47 pm

Bump, Because everybody can use a friendly December reminder.
Bob :wink:
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