Print from Airliners.net discussion forum
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/87406/

Topic: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: FighterPilot
Posted 2006-10-12 10:30:48 and read 8854 times.

As promised, I said I would do a thread on "The day in the life of a dockhand." So here goes:

But first some information to get you up to speed. I work for Atikokan Atikokan, a charter service located in Atikokan Ontario, Canada. We mainly transport customers to and from outpost cabins within the vicinity of Atikokan. We also do any other work that might need to be done by plane in the local area, IE. supply runs for Quetico provincial park, or medivacs. Atikokan Aero currently employs four pilots, including the chief pilot and we all stay on site on the base in a bunkhouse. We have a fleet consisting of two deHavilland Beavers (C-GDZH and CF-IPL) and a Cessna 180 (CF-IJE) all of which are on floats. For more information go ahead and check out our site. www.AtikokanAero.com

I am a dockhand for AA, and have been one for 3 years now. What I do is fuel the planes, load/unload, "catch" them when they taxi to the dock, weight up costumers gear, do any office work needed to be done, Mow the lawns, landscaping, and anything else that needs to be done. Aswell I go on flights and help with the cargo etc.



The typical day starts at daybreak, usually 5am or 6am in the morning, sometimes 4am in June. I'll get up, eat some quick breakfast, and go pump the floats on both of the Beavers for water, while one of the other pilots pumps the 180s floats.

Early morning - Dave inspecting DZH
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4668.jpg

DZH's Tail in the early morning sun
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4672.jpg

Once the floats are pumped, there is not much to do until the first costumers arrive, when they do I'll turn on the scales, and weight up the costumers gear, and when that is done I will load it onto the plane. Depending on the size of the party, we will use any combination of the planes, be it the 180 or all three. When the plane is finished loading and fueled I will untie it and push it from the dock, where the pilot will then start it and proceed with the flight. Unfortunately I need both hands to do that and I don't want to wreck my 350D so I am unable to take pictures of that portion. The flights range anywheres from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the distance flown, or time taken to unload at outposts etc.

DZH waiting for her first flight of the day
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4673-1.jpg

IPL moved in front of DZH
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4675.jpg

If all three planes are gone, or there are no scheduled flights for the next while, I will usually go to the office and watch some TV.  thumbsup  In the office we have an area for sitting, whether costumers are being trip planned, or it is raining out.

HQ
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_3884.jpg

When I hear an arriving plane call on the radio that they are 5 minutes out, I will go back out to the dock and wait for the plane. This usually repeats all morning until all the scheduled flights are done.

Mark tying a canoe to one of the canoe racks on the floats - Note the other canoe on the other side
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4719.jpg

Mark making sure the canoe is tied on tight
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4720.jpg

By this point in time Mark was giving me a hard time about not helping and taking pictures instead Big grin
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4721-1.jpg

IJE returning from a flight
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4724-1.jpg

IJEs cockpit
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4641-1.jpg

Once all the morning flights are done we will go for a well deserved lunch in the pilots quarters. Alot of the time we will have food that wasn't used by the costumers and they will give it to us instead of bring it all the way home. This way there is always something to choose from that you like for lunch.

Pilots quarters
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_3885.jpg

After lunch it's right back to business. If it is a quieter day I will sometimes start to do yard work or some "landscaping." Luckily for my I would finally go on a flight that day, I would get to help fly out a 16 foot boat out to one of the lakes. Big grin
Once the boat was all tied down we were off. I would have liked to have taken a shot of the boat from the outside, but again was too busy.

Looking out the Co-pilots window
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_3971.jpg

Landing
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_3983.jpg

Atikokan Aeros chief pilot
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_3984.jpg

Me in my ultra cool hip-waders, this is probably the coolest picture of me ever  crazy 
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_3986.jpg

Once the boat was at the lake we flew back to the base. There was only a few flights left in the day after that.

IPL returning, once I get my 100-400mm hopefully we will be seeing more shots like these on A.net
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4661.jpg

IPL taxiing in
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4664-1.jpg

If there is no more flying to be done and still time left in the day, everyone will do something be it yard work or paper work. Only once all that is complete, is it off to town for a coffee, groceries and possibly supper in town. After the evening in town, it is back to the airbase and off to bed to repeat the same thing the next day. Big grin

Me in front of DZHs tail
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/CanadianFighterPilot/IMG_4952.jpg

I love my job bigthumbsup , but unfortunately with fall here, and winter soon approaching we will be shutting down for the season and I will be working elsewhere for the winter. But I'll be counting down the days till spring!


Hope everyone enjoys
Cal  airplane 

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: Ryan h
Posted 2006-10-12 10:44:12 and read 8848 times.

Nice photos of the float planes.

Although I have only been on one flight in a floatplane I would like to do it again.

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: ClassicLover
Posted 2006-10-12 12:36:57 and read 8801 times.

Hey that was an excellent report! Sounds like you really enjoy your job - and the location looks brilliant! Nice scenery...

Thanks for sharing - makes a difference from all the usual trip reports! Well done!

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: ANCFlyer
Posted 2006-10-12 12:58:04 and read 8792 times.

One of the best reports on A-Net! Love those seaplanes and "bush" flying!

Are you near, or do you fly to Quetico . . . I could look it up, but just as easy to ask you . . .

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: Semsem
Posted 2006-10-12 17:03:23 and read 8698 times.

Fantastic. Very interesting; thanks.

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: Vio
Posted 2006-10-12 17:21:01 and read 8690 times.

Very nice report Cal. I'm still debating if I should get a float rating. Bush flying seems like a lot of fun.

Check out my report as well. It's not as exciting as yours, but still lots of pictures from "Kanada" :P

www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/87399

Cheers  Smile

Vio

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: FighterPilot
Posted 2006-10-12 19:44:12 and read 8623 times.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 3):
One of the best reports on A-Net! Love those seaplanes and "bush" flying!

Are you near, or do you fly to Quetico

Thanks! Yes we are very close to Quetico. Being that Quetico is well know for its canoeing Atikokan is know as the Canoeing Capital of Canada. The pictures of the Beaver with the two canoes tied on the side were flying all the way to Basswood lake, which is in the southern most part of Quetico. We also do supply runs for the ranger stations.

Cal

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: N353SK
Posted 2006-10-12 21:30:19 and read 8550 times.

Does your company fly in supplies to the ranger station in Cache Bay on Saginagaw (I hope I spelled that right)? I specifically remember seeing a yellow floatplane in that general area once while I was camping in the BWCA.

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: FighterPilot
Posted 2006-10-12 22:00:58 and read 8532 times.

Quoting N353SK (Reply 7):
Does your company fly in supplies to the ranger station in Cache Bay on Saginagaw (I hope I spelled that right)? I specifically remember seeing a yellow floatplane in that general area once while I was camping in the BWCA.

Yes we do, that was almost certainly us! Big grin
Spelt, Sagnanga, but don't worry I can't spell half the names of the lakes up here either.  bigthumbsup 

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: Oldman55
Posted 2006-10-13 03:19:25 and read 8394 times.

Great report and pics. i guess now that winter is fast approaching you will have even more time to hang out in chat room  Wink

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: MCOflyer
Posted 2006-10-13 04:01:21 and read 8376 times.

One of the best Sea plane reports on the net. Good pics and keep up the good work.

MCOflyer

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: JAFA
Posted 2006-10-13 04:01:46 and read 8376 times.

Wow!! that looks like a cool job! Nice to see something other than the usual airline reports. Hope to see more.
It looks beautiful there. Youre cute too!! (just a compliment, not a come on)

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: ANCFlyer
Posted 2006-10-13 07:19:53 and read 8323 times.

Quoting FighterPilot (Reply 6):
Yes we are very close to Quetico.

I spent two weeks canoeing through there many moons back . . . Saganagans Lake was/is awesome! We started at Gunflint Lodge . . . great time. Beautiful country . . .

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: FighterPilot
Posted 2006-10-13 19:13:18 and read 8235 times.

Thanks for all the replies.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 12):
Beautiful country . . .

Ya I love living up here, hunting, fishing, boating, and anything else you could possibly do outdoors. Mind you, with the foot of snow we already have here, if you not used to it winters can be shitty. Hope to see you around here again some time.

Quoting JAFA (Reply 11):

Errrrrrr....... Thanks

Cal  airplane 

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: Vaporlock
Posted 2006-10-15 07:23:46 and read 8068 times.

Quoting FighterPilot (Thread starter):
I love my job , but unfortunately with fall here, and winter soon approaching we will be shutting down for the season and I will be working elsewhere for the winter. But I'll be counting down the days till spring!

Cal, what a fantastic report!!! I fully understand why you can't wait till Spring!!! Wow, you are one lucky guy...  yes  Although it is hard work, it has its' rewards for sure.

Your pics are so good and I know we will be seeing lots on a.net! Landing and taking off on water is the best.....

Keep up the great work!

Phyllis  bouncy 

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: RC135U
Posted 2006-10-16 01:40:48 and read 7975 times.

Cal
Fascinating report and excellent pictures. Gotta ask one question though - I can see how your buddy Mark is securing the canoe to the port float, but how did he manage the starboard?

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: FighterPilot
Posted 2006-10-16 04:08:38 and read 7955 times.

Quoting RC135U (Reply 15):
I can see how your buddy Mark is securing the canoe to the port float, but how did he manage the starboard?

Good question. We started with the starboard side tied to the dock, tied the canoe on. Then we untied the plane pushed the nose out and held onto the tail and spun the plane around, we then tied the port side and then tied the other canoe on.
Tying the canoes on while tied to the dock is easy, it's when your in the middle of a lake and your trying to tie a canoe on, when it can be difficult. It is done in a similar way, stand on the float and get the canoe parallel to the float, then roll it over onto the float up onto the little catches on the canoe racks, then tie it like it was tied to the dock, being careful not to fall into the lake. As you can imagine this can only be done on very calm days, even a little wind can make it extremely hard to turn the planes around on the lake when standing on the dock, not to mention fly. Canoes aren't what you would call aerodynamic, only hydrodynamic Big grin

Cal

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: ZBBYLW
Posted 2006-11-02 03:10:37 and read 7710 times.

Brilliant TR! Sounds like alot of work being a dock hand but at the same time very enjoyable. Also looking at the pictures of the cargo carried on the outside of the aircraft (boat) it really proves just how versatile the DHC-2 Beaver is. Thanks for posting the TR hope to see others shortly.

Cheers Chris

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: Jspitfire
Posted 2006-11-06 23:34:38 and read 7534 times.

Sounds like a great job!

I hope to be doing pretty much the same thing as soon as I have enough money to move out. I just got my float rating about a month ago, and I plan on moving up north or east to find a job first as a dockhand, and then moving as a pilot.

Great pictures as well! How do you like the 350D? I'm still deciding whether to get the 350D or the Nikon D70.

Jason

Topic: RE: Day In The Life Of A Seaplane Dockhand - Pics
Username: FighterPilot
Posted 2006-11-07 01:18:10 and read 7511 times.

Quoting Jspitfire (Reply 18):
Great pictures as well! How do you like the 350D?

Thanks. I love my 350D, it's perfect for what I use it for. I was in the same situation as you about a year ago. I jumped on the Canon bandwagon for their quality and lens selection. If I was to go back, I would still choose Canon, I have no reason not too. However, being that the 400D is out I would go for it. The cost isn't that much greater, and it offers so much more. This obviously all comes down to what you choose though.
Hope that helps

Cal  airplane 


The messages in this discussion express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of Airliners.net or any entity associated with Airliners.net.

Copyright © Lundgren Aerospace. All rights reserved.
http://www.airliners.net/