FighterPilot From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1336 posts, RR: 24 Posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7951 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
DZH's Tail in the early morning sun
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
IPL moved in front of DZH
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. In the office we have an area for sitting, whether costumers are being trip planned, or it is raining out.
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
Mark making sure the canoe is tied on tight
By this point in time Mark was giving me a hard time about not helping and taking pictures instead
IJE returning from a flight
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.
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.
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
Atikokan Aeros chief pilot
Me in my ultra cool hip-waders, this is probably the coolest picture of me ever
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
IPL taxiing in
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.
Me in front of DZHs tail
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!
FighterPilot From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1336 posts, RR: 24 Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7720 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.
N353SK From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 761 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7647 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.
FighterPilot From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1336 posts, RR: 24 Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7629 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!
Spelt, Sagnanga, but don't worry I can't spell half the names of the lakes up here either.
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.
Vaporlock From Canada, joined May 2001, 3645 posts, RR: 57 Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 19 hours ago) and read 7165 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... 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.....
FighterPilot From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1336 posts, RR: 24 Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7052 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
ZBBYLW From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 1942 posts, RR: 7 Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6807 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.
Jspitfire From Canada, joined Feb 2005, 308 posts, RR: 2 Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 6631 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.
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