Saturday, 24 November 2012

This Story is for you.Rupert

I found this single page laying on a window ledge on the waterfront, at the isle of Mann. I was down there for the TT meeting, I sail down every year with my mate.

I thought to myself I would keep it and read it to my grand children, I felt it had a special quality about it, which they would enjoy, so I took it on-board and placed it between two pieces of paper in a book for safe keeping and quickly forgot about it!

I have my yacht out of the water now and have started to do a bit of winter maintenance.
When I was clearing out my library of read books, that single page fluttered down onto the deck as if to remind me! it was still there, so I took it into my house and placed it on my computer keys.
Firstly I thought I would try and find out a bit about it from the Internet, also I only seem to have half the story and there are no illustrations at all on my page, as there are on all the three bears stories, I viewed.
Anyway I had a stroke of luck, I found a web site that specialises in old books and they had a three bears book with a load of beautiful pictures, very old and possible the only one in print, and the story line very similar to mine, so I contacted the owner and asked if I could get a copy of the second part of the story? She graciously posted the full story for me and others to read, how cools that!
All credit must go to Marchhouse books, for this wee story that I copied for my grand children.
Their web site is full of wonderful books for children, some of them rare classics, it's a site well worth a visit, with Christmas presents in mind? visit:

Friday, 16 November 2012

Being Cursed

Life can be cruel.

This is just a short story but for me! it will never go away.

First let me explain a bit about Aviation Engines in particular.
As Pilots when we get into an aircraft, we have to have a little faith that the pilot before us, treated the engine with respect (As per the manufacturers Guidelines" which basically means No! hot starts! No! over boosting! or running hot! all things that would point to a possible engine failure, important considerations when you're expected to depart on a 1500 mile ferry over wild terrain and water. ( get my point?)

Now to my story:

I had just returned to South Africa for the fire bombing season and was sent south to pick up a second hand Thrush turbine,
which was to be used by me for the season.

The Thrush was a relatively new aircraft on the Agricultural scene and many of the pilots had only read a book and started flying them! even the operators seemed to have not picked up on the maintenance schedule, set out by the manufactures.

The difference is alarming an engine that is monitored correctly during its life, may go as much as 9000 hours before being changed! unmonitored engines may be changed at 2 to 3000 hours. when you consider the cost of an engine $ 100,000. It's a no contest decision.
I'm sure if the operators had realised this! they would have sent their pilots off to the factories for training.
Now I don't have a problem with this, but most of these guys didn't seem to know! To them all aircraft fly the same. crazy?
But they didn't seen to realise the turbine was so different! they just treated it like a piston engine with more power.

Back to my story:

Boss Terry had asked me "to give the aircraft a good inspection before taking delivery and if I found any thing that looked like a problem, not to take delivery, without talking to him first".
so as I walked into the company office, of the company we were buying it from, I introduced myself.
After a few pleasantries,  I asked "to see the aircraft" it was parked on the front with a couple of other Thrushes, so I walked out to give it an inspection, after spending a good 2 hours checking over every part of the aircraft I could get at.
I decided that the airframe and all the attachments were in excellent condition.
On turning on the master switch, I noticed the battery was below start up power, this could indicate that the battery required replacing, or the alternator was faulty.
I went into their hanger and asked to borrow a meter to check out the starter motor and alternator as it  functioned as one unit.
As I returned to the aircraft, one of their pilots, who must have been watching me, came over and asked "was there a problem"
I mentioned "the battery seemed flat" He said "that's not a problem
It's been flat for a couple of weeks and they have been Hot starting it, when they used it"!
I was amazed and visible taken back that a pilot would admit such a thing, he looked at me and asked me "did I know what a hot start was?"
"As he had done them a few times on this aircraft and he was willing to show me how its done"!

 I declined his offer and  said
"yes I have heard of hot starts" and I am also aware that there is a good chance that the engine could explode during this type of crazy cycle and another thing! you may have voided the manufacturers warranties in regard to this engine.
They could declare this engine as scrape!"

"You obviously have no idea of how to operate a turbine so please go away" he walked away, I could tell he felt he had said to much.
I found the fuse on the alternator side of the starter blown. so I returned to the hanger.
I asked for a battery jump start and they said "they would start it by a " Hot Start" again."
I was amazed I asked "who advised them to do "Hot Starts"? they just looked at me, I said "I want a fully charged battery trolley to start the turbine" OK? which I got. So I started the turbine and it was all in the green, I pushed in the alternator fuse and immediately the charge started to flow to the battery.

I taxied over to the aircraft run up area and carried out power and propeller test, which were fine by the way.
I returned the aircraft to the parking bay and shut her down and had another quick inspection of the engine for oil leaks and  burning smells.
I removed the key to stop anybody from starting it again.
I walked over and entered their office again, the company owner and chief engineer were awaiting me, I said "I would have to call my employer and give him my report and he will talk with you direct".

"But I must warn you! I'm tempted to report this to the Civil Aviation Authority, they started to protest and I said " you guys are flying Turbines around the sky, with a load of untrained Pawnee Pilots"! "Really it's unbelievable."
"Now I will return to my Motel and speak with Boss Terry and he will Phone you."

The Chief Engineer gave me a run down to the Motel, on the way he made up a few excuses, saying his "boss had put him under pressure to keep the aircraft airborne and working".
I said "now look, you were quite willing to allow me to fly away in that aircraft, knowing hot starts had been used on it, I could have been killed, So please shut up".

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Guy Fawkes

Please Remember the 5th of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder and Treason,  should ever be forgot.

Do you remember this?

Guy Fawkes was born in York on 13th of April 1570.
He died on the 31st of January 1606.
His name became synonymous with bonfire night.

He lived a chequered life and was a capable soldier, leaving  England to join the war in Spain.
On his return he got himself involved with some conspirators,
Who's aim was to blow up the king, and the house's of Parliament by placing Gunpowder under the building.
Unfortunately for them! King James got wind of their plans and took steps to foil them.
Big steps as it happens?
Guy Fawkes was captured and taken to the "Tower of London" for interrogation by the kings men! on the 7th of November.
On the 8th of November he gave up the names of his other 12 conspirators and said their intention was to place the King's daughter Princess Elizabeth on the throne.

Lord Chief Justice Sir John Popham said "that each man condemned would be put to death by hanging, firstly they would have their Genitals cut off and burned before their eyes and their Bowels and Hearts cut out and after hanging they would be drawn and Quartered  and not forgetting the decapitation"!
Their deaths were to be between "Heaven and Hell" as they were considered unworthy of of either.

After about a 3 day trial the Attorney General Sir Edward Coke?
declared them all Guilty.
All of his fellow conspirators were hung drawn and quartered.

But our old mate "Guy Fawkes" Jumped from the Gallows killing himself, but that never got him off the hook! they still hung him, quartered him and left his remains for the crows.

What comes out of all of this wee story, for me is! what ever you do. "Don't upset the King".

Now how much truth is there in this story? I wouldn't think a lot? history was written by the Kings men? and from my present day experience!  not a lot of truth comes out of the houses of Parliament,
So you be your own judge?
I'll leave you with this little saying.

It's said : "Guy Fawkes" is sometimes toasted as the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.!

Listen to your inner voice. That statement above has got to be the truth!


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Proper English" (from a lady)

                     my Baby

I always think that every day is an adventure, so image how thrilled I was, when I received an e-mail advising me on my inability to write or spell correctly and as she put it "use Proper English" and "grammar" in my fantasy based Bloggs.
She went onto say she thought I am also "a male chauvinist pig"! who would do every body a favour by retiring.
What ever did I do?
In Reply,
Firstly! let me say I make no apologies for not being good at the Queens English, enter any court environment ! it's a language that is used, with the use of an solicitor or barrister to help you to understand it, and it  suits certain situations  a word can have  quiet few interpretation, Can I write? who knows!  I just do my best`.

Male "chauvinist Pig" what a derogatory word, one which I believe has come into popularity in the last 15 years  and is misused on  many occasions. It means a man who feels a woman has no worth, I am definitely not one of these.I love them.
This lady could offer to read and edit my blog for me, if she finds it so offensive, I'm cool with that.
Now let me ask a question?
Why contact me on my blog e-mail? instead of putting it directly on my post, I need the comments!
I don't get many comments on my blog, in truth I don't get many at all, but not to worry, we all know, I got this one? right.
I'm not sure but I feel this person knows me somehow!
Will I change? no!
There is more of a chance of watching a butterfly fly upside down in the middle of winter over flowers! than of me changing, it's not my nature to back down, so as they say. " bring it on"
Thank you.


Saturday, 10 November 2012


Agman Fire-bombing South Africa

Agman : One born of unbridled imagination woven from the chimerical threads of pure Fantasy. the adventure called life goes on.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Mary Rose what's in a name

I'm sure you all have had one of these in your pocket.
But have you noticed how the Royal Mint has been changing the designs on the back of them? and they are real cool!
The latest to date; which caught my eye, still has the silver coloured centre and a gold coloured ring around the outside, a nice looking coin! But what attracted me to it, was the design of the Mary Rose.

The Mary Rose Built in the early 1500 and rebuilt and rearmed in 1530. Classed as a Carrack.( Googal it )
She was named after King Henry V111's sister,  Mary Tudor later to be crowned the Queen of France.
The Mary Rose was considered the pride of King Henry V111s fleet and the second most powerful, they say "she was the Kings favourite in his fleet".
On the afternoon of the 19th of July1545. Mary Rose led the English fleet out of Portsmouth Harbour to meet the French fleet and it's said "under the watchful eye of the King"!
It was also said "that a strong wind healed her over! exposing her open lower gun ports to the open sea, she filled quickly and sank!"

The English Navy learnt many lessons from the accidental sinking of the Mary Rose and went on to develop ships that were faster and more manoeuvrable and not so top heavy,
The English Navy carried on their development of their sailing fleet, which contributed to the Victory against the Spanish Armada.

At the time of her sinking the Mary Rose had nearly 30 years of service and was really obsolete compared to the new 16th century Ships.
But she was one of the first ships to fire cannons from her deck with some success.
A number of attempts were made to recover her over the years and  were met with partial success, but on the 11 Oct 1982 she was raised (437 years after her sinking) and is undergoing conservation work in Portsmouth to this day, to allow the public to have a look into the past of the Navy.

The Mary Rose carried over 400 men on board, and apart from the cannons she also carried 50 handguns, 250 longbows, 300 pole arms and over 400 darts to be thrown from the rigging tops during an engagement, thousands of these artifacts have been recovered.

She was designed and expected to engage  the enemy ships at close quarters and fight their way on board and subdue them by force of arms! "How frightening is that?"

Her loss was a sad blow to the Navy and it was investigated.
They decided that crew were unable to get off the ship, due to deck rigging, that was put up to stop the enemy from getting aboard! tragically it also stopped the crew from getting off.As she filled with water due to the open lower gun ports going below the water line, but for a few of the crew that were in the rigging, all hands were lost.

Of course the King was already developing a new ship, armed entirely with guns, and more nimble under sail.

Most of these pieces come from my school days but I renewed my memories of them by reading the BBC Mary Rose by "Andrew Lambert" titled "A Great ship of King Henry V111" and I would recommend that as the place to go if you seek further details of a great story, from our maritime history.

I ask you; What's in a name?