Friday, 30 March 2012


I read this in the Sunday Telegraph last week and thought it deserved a re-airing.

They hoicked him down, by fair means or foul, they hurled their bodies in his path like Suffragettes, and they tackled him like their lives depended on it.

That's football !

Isn't  it nice to see the word "Suffragettes" again?  remember!  Without a woman? there is no today /life.


Thursday, 22 March 2012




When I first started Blogging! I was not sure of what to expect?

As I grow older? I am having problems laying some of my memories to rest, Advice I received, was to write it Down! and they would go away.

I felt blogging would be  the ideal type of therapy and might release me from some of my nightmares.

But the opposite is true and! and I feel trapped, instead of laying my memories to rest? It seems to be wakening them up! Memories that I had buried in time and forgotten, are back? Trolling through my mind, awakening old emotions! which I no longer want or need.

By the time I post one memory, another one visits me? I'm not sure of what to do or where to go now.
It seems I'm on a never ending train.

Maybe time cures all things and I'll just have to wait


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Gippsland duty

Fletcher FU24
This memory! if in a movie would more than likely be laughed at?
But not for me, it happened about a year after the (Hanger incident) a friend under my supervision was killed (Which is another story) and in keeping with his families wishes, his ashes were to be spread across his small farm, he loved so much.
This duty fell to me, so there I was approaching his place at 1000 feet in the Fletcher, I had previously loosened the small casket lid, it had been modified and a Handel had been attached for today's ceremony, there was also to be some sort of religious ceremony at his house at the same time. 
There was a slight turbulence coming off the hills, so I slowed down a bit to reduce its effects on the my flight, the Fletcher wasn't the smoothest of flying aeroplanes!
I opened the casket and placed it on the seat beside me, as I approached the release point, I threw open the cockpit, the nose pitched down? only slightly and the casket got airborne for a second and the ash went every-where!   the cockpit was full of it blowing about,  I also was covered! it was blowing all over the place. It was a nightmare!
Anyway I grabbed the casket, it was empty! but I still held it over the side until I crossed the far boundary, just in case I was being observed? I flew back to base with the cockpit open and the wind turbulence cleaned most of the ashes from the cockpit.
Back at base I brushed out the cockpit floor and threw what was left of the ash up into the wind.
Later when asked "how it went"? I said, to my shame! " No Worries"  
This is the only time I have admitted to this incident in 40years
Its not so easy to live with shame and lie to protect ones self.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Short Wee Story





I'm standing outside my grandsons school,waiting to pick him up, all the parents are gathered around the entrance, waiting for their children to come out. Youngest first.
As the teachers started matching the children with their parents, she lets them go to their parents, some squealed some cried some shouted, walking shyly, or just ran to their folks, all were very happy to see their parents.
For me this was a rare privilege to witness this emotional scene.

A young boy possibly 5 years of age, walked out in the direction his teacher had sent him, firstly he was walking quite fast! but when the man he was walking towards called his name; he stopped and looked all around for a familiar face, he was fearful and hesitant, the guy  was standing beside me and I noticed the small boy looked like a lost puppy, the man called the boys name again and the little fellow started to move again, he looked so confused and and close to tears. I was getting a little concerned myself.
The guy had a black beard and looked a bit intimidating! so I watched him. He dropped down onto one knee and called to the boy again, using his pet name, saying "I'm your daddy", the little fellow look a bit unsure? But he moved into the arms of the man, as the man cuddled the wee boy, he said "Don't you know your daddy" The boy touched his daddies beard and his daddy said "Oh yes! I grew that while I was away working;  don't you like it?" "Running his fingers through the beard he said "you are my daddy?" and gave his dad a big kiss an cuddle, and they just walked off into the crowd.

My grandson came out the school running, I got his coat and bag to carry and a cuddle and asked if "he could play football for 30 minutes and would I please wait for him? ", which I did.

What is this life? if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Night spraying

Pawnee 235


Wee Waa

Mid 1970

Its 3am in the morning, I've been flying all night.

I'm on my last field of cotton for the night, so as I cross the field spraying, I can see the trees at the edge of the field coming in-to view in my lights, I pull up! turning off my lights at the same time, to prepare for a procedure turn over the trees, as I rolled into the turn the engine failed! I immediately rolled straight and my mind screamed at me! " turn to the shortest route from over the trees,"
But which way? and by the way! these pawnees glide like bricks! with the spraying gear attached.
Now for the big guess? a mental picture of my surroundings enters my mind  ,left 30 degrees! speed to best glide ratio and wait. Fuel off, pumps off, dump the remainder of my load! to gain a wee bit of height and extend my glide.
I saw the darkness of the trees leave behind me, I must be around 60 feet above a crop! I am ,unable to use my lights, as they only shine straight out in front of me and would fail quickly on the battery only, plus I could loose my night vision.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

In the Hanger

It was one of those days when the weather, had us all sitting around the hanger,drinking tea and talking flying, it's true what they say, "You do more flying in the hanger than outside of it"

Jan our most experienced pilot and the oldest by far, had just landed in thick fog ! with his loader driver sitting across his lap in a single cockpit aircraft.
He had decided to get his aircraft serviced whilst the weather was against us, and bought his loader driver with him, so he could go home for a couple of hours.

When Jan left his hilltop base it was in bright sunlight and the valleys below had patches of morning fog, by the time he arrived here; the fog was thicker and deeper.!

We didn't hear his aircraft until he was about 100 yds from the hanger, we all rushed out to see him, the visibility was below 100 yds! he certainly was lucky! getting into this short field under these conditions. But that's Jan.?
He climbed out of his aircraft, after first letting his loader driver crawl out from over the top of him, and he walk across to me and asked "was the tea on"?, so we all went inside and sat down, drinking his tea, he look across to me and asked"? was every thing OK"  I replied "yes",
Jan and myself had been friends for years and will remain friends and I have the greatest respect for his ability, when it came to flying.
In the early days we had worked together flying DH82, a bi-plane with no brakes and not a lot of power, and a powerful desire to crash, which it often did.!
I had worked for Jan for a while! But that's story for another day!

Jan and I were both experience pilots, who were good friends, our main differences! for me was his attitude.
I was the new class one ag pilot with all the ratings required, with a desire to improve the image
of our industry.
Jan was the old school with a devil may care, cavalier attitude, not interested in change!

Irresponsible airman ship did not sit well with me.

At the time of the introduction of the new legislation regarding licencing, Pilots like Jan were given Gran-father rights  which basically meant he could continue to fly as he had always done, without having to do the ag ratings.

Saturday, 3 March 2012





I'm not sure where I got this? maybe its something I started but never finished, I found it in one of my early diaries! so I'll just post it and see if somebody else will finish it.

Flying is very much like being in love with a beautiful woman.
Everyday you discover new traits to her character, new depths of emotion.
With limitless horizons of future.  TD 1963.

Rupert is my Grandson,  isn't he a sweetie? and as of today he has a new brother called Monty
weighing in at 5.lbs; 15 oz


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Boo Boo on the Transvaal

Cessna Agwagon

South Africa.


Late 1970

My first day working in South Africa.

It's my first flight and I'm taking off to spray a small field of corn, for weeds, the field is below and in  easy sight of the strip.
I believe the Boss will be watching? just to confirm my ability to apply chemicals and fly low at the same time," Boss Terry" more than likely uses this field to check out all his new pilots.

As I approach the field I could see it was rectangle in shape, and about 15 hectares, there are no obstacles in the turning area, with power lines across the Eastern end of the field, which will be no problem? to get under, as I go in and out of the field. A nice easy field to start with!
Famous last words?

I made a quick flight around the field to confirm the briefing info I had received about the field.
My plan was to spray east and west, up and down sun and parallel to the rising terrain.

I reduced power and let down into the field at 110 knots, crossing the field boundary
I commenced spraying, as I covered the field, I got a closer look at the power cable and support poles, it was the three cable type, T shape, passing under it will leave a safety margin of 6 feet, no worries!
I saw the straining wire that supports the pole directly ahead in the field, as I approached the staining wire I skidded out and around it went under the cables and climbed up to 100 feet and entered into a procedure turn bringing me back to the field alongside my previous run, so descending back into the field as I passed under the power line I commenced to spray again . I continued to spray the field in this way until with about two runs to go, and during a descending manoeuvre to go under the wires and enter the field.

 Fate showed its face.