When Air Canada’s new livery was unveiled in 2017, our uniforms also received a refresh. Created by award-winning Canadian fashion designer Christopher Bates, the pilots’ uniforms feature a double-breasted blazer with a 2 x 2 button arrangement that emphasizes the antique gold embroidery. The pants now have an expandable waist, which adjusts during a pilot’s career. (Ahem.) When we’re in public, our hat and tie must be worn, even when doing our walk-around checks on the tarmac – and if you see a pilot with an opened tunic or overcoat, they are not an Air Canada pilot: Ours will always be buttoned up. As pilots, our uniforms are highly regarded, and it’s important that we look professional as we travel across the world.
Captains wear four stripes on their blazer sleeves and shirt epaulettes, command wings and the captain’s hat with gold maple leaf embroidery. The first officer (and cruise relief pilot) wears three stripes, first officer wings and a first officer hat, which does not have the embroidery.
The vast majority of Air Canada pilots wear short-sleeved shirts – they’re more comfortable than long-sleeved.
“Bird strike” is pilot lingo for having a dent or crease in a hat – as in “It looks like your hat had a bird strike.”
Doug Morris is an author, meteorologist, instructor and Air Canada captain on the Boeing 787.