Porter Airlines

Random observations from the flight:

No surly flight attendants.  Air Canada, take note.  Also, dig those pillbox hats.

It’s quiet. On the DH4 (Dash 8-Q400), I would estimate there’s about a 60-70% reduction in engine / airflow noise compared to the original DH1 (Dash 8-100).  You can actually carry on a conversation at normal volume, which would be unthinkable in its predecessors.  The only downside is that if there are crying/screaming brats on your flight, you will be able to hear them quite clearly, too.

Stupid BlackBerry tricks: I have no idea why the BlackBerry’s camera is trying to tell me that the aircraft is a many-tentacled Japanese manga monster.  Contrary to the image (below, on the left), the fuselage is not spontaneously growing another set of propeller blades and those are not prop-tentacles snaking their way out into the slipstream.

Beside it (below, on the right) is the six-bladed composite Dowty propeller as seen via a real camera, with absolutely no tentacle-porn content.

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Incidentally, Dowty Propellers has a long and honourable history as a British manufacturer of prop blades and parts.  It is now a component of GE Aviation.

Porter’s in-flight meal box. Contains one turkey-and-swiss sandwich on whole-wheat submarine-style bread, one roundel of Mini Babybel cheese, one piece of Melba toast, and one double chocolate chip cookie.  Libation options include soft drinks, water, or wine.  Note that drinks are served in actual glasses, not disposable plastic cups.

Contrast that with Air Canada Jazz’ usual snack option of stale pretzels, a soft drink, and no booze and no cheese.

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What the hell is all this white stuff doing on the ground already?  When I left Toronto, it was the beginning of our rainy season and indigenous beachcombers had just finished harvesting mangoes from the tropical rainforests along the Don River.

Trip time: about 45 minutes.

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9 Responses
  1. Flea says:

    I think the tentacle picture is stunning; a happy accident.
    Excellent non-RAF specific use of the term “roundel” (double points for its being a related aviation context).

  2. Flea says:

    Though I now note to my horror that you might have walked into the Château Laurier wearing jeans.

  3. Chris Taylor says:

    In the old days I used to insist on traveling in suits and ties, and still do for long-hauls. For the shorter flights, though, I get lazy.
    But if there’s an airline out there that deserves getting gussied-up for, it’s Porter.

  4. Waterfront is for people says:

    Your observations suggest you are a keen observer of your surroundings. Did you happen to notice the school and community centre a few metres from the ferry terminal where kdis get lessons in dodging taxis? Did you notice the hundreds of condo units that get to hear the “quiet” of the planes and breathe their fumes?
    Man is one of the few creatues stupid enough to foul his own nest.
    The Waterfront should be a place for people not travellers who are impressed by pillbox hats.

  5. Chris Taylor says:

    Perhaps I overlooked it, but I don’t recall the foot of Bathurst making the list of Toronto’s busiest or most dangerous intersections. There are, however, more than a few schools in the vicinity of the top ten.
    As for the condos and school, are they not a more recent vintage than 1939, when the airport was built? Waterfront PS, if I’m not mistaken, opened its doors in 1997. All of those condos would have been constructed within the last — let’s be generous — 20-odd years. Twin-engine turboprops have been operating out of CYTZ since 1982.
    If I were a homeowner who didn’t like the prospect of pre-existing airport noise in close proximity to my new condo, I probably wouldn’t buy in a location that featured it. But that’s just me.
    It’s not hard to figure out. Just contact the airport and ask for their NEF contour map. If you don’t want to hear airplanes, live somewhere outside the 25 NEF line. It’s a pretty reasonable precaution when you’re going to shell out a few hundred grand for a condo.

  6. Josh says:

    I’m amazed that residents of waterfront condos can even hear the odd plane flying in and out of the airport, what with the noise of the Gardiner and tens of thousands of people milling about downtown every day.
    With respect to fumes and noise, generally, where do these Waterfront luddites think they are? Haliburton? If you don’t like lots of people and their vehicles, you probably should reconsider living in one of the most densely populated areas of Canada’s largest city.
    Anyway, the silliest part of the “arguments” against the airport concern the apparent evils of aircraft exhaust – as if a few planes each day make any difference to the existing background air pollution in the GTA.

  7. Flea says:

    A pillbox hat is worth more to me than generations of whining condo owners.

  8. Alisa Roberts says:

    How shallow of you to think that hundreds of daily flights emitting jet exhaust will not affect the air and water quality of the City of Toronto, and that a private, federally subsidized company has the right to pollute an entire city. Oh, and the citizens just really don’t matter- although they live directly under the flights.
    I am very tired of hearing that adding to the air and water pollution in Toronto makes ‘no difference’-especially in terms of the airline industry- as if that justifies transporting a very small number of people to the great health and environmental detriment of many. Have you heard of global warming? Well, here it is-in spades.

  9. Chris Taylor says:

    Alisa,
    You are answering an engineering and chemistry problem with hyperbole and an emotional appeal.
    Hundreds of daily flights?
    CYTZ has three runways, only one of which can support aircraft of Q400 size. Two commercial carriers operate from it, Trans Capital Air (charter only) and Porter Airlines. Only one (Porter) has daily flights. Porter has—at most—a ten-aircraft fleet, which cannot possibly manage hundreds of aircraft movements on YTZ’s single Q400-capable runway.
    If you look at Porter’s schedule, they have 25 scheduled flights departing YTZ each day. Assume that all flights return to YTZ hub as well, making it 50 daily aircraft movements.
    CommunityAIR’s own stats say that 2,865kg of CO2 are generated with each YTZ-YOW flight, for a grand total of 143,250 kg of CO2 generated daily.
    Over 180,000 cars traverse the Gardiner Expressway every day. Assume that each vehicle on the Gardiner is a relatively new, relatively efficient compact car like a Honda Civic, which generates around 600 kg of CO2 per movement for a nice 30-40km stretch. No SUVs, no trucks, etc. That’s 108,000,000 kg of CO2 generated by ordinary road traffic, several orders of magnitude greater.
    Air travel in that equation works out to about 0.13% of the total CO2 emission generated by just one major expressway. And that’s excluding all of the other major thoroughfares (and their associated traffic) downtown.
    You want to make a point? Put up some numbers. What you have is a series of strongly-felt emotions based on zero empirical evidence.