Hi there Mate!!
Hi there Mate,
I hope you and Alice are well. I know it’s been quite a while since you
heard from me, Doreen and the rest of the family are all OK but I think
they're getting a bit pissed off with station life, particularly when
there's bugga all rain to speak of and the cattle and sheep are dying
over the place!
I'm writing to you, mate, because I need your help to get me bloody
licence back (you keep telling me you got all the right contacts, well
your chance to make something happen for me because, mate, I'm bloody
But first, I'd better tell you what happened during my
flight review with the CASA Examiner.
On the phone, Ron (that's the CASA dickhead) seemed a reasonable sort
bloke. He politely reminded me of the need to do a flight review every
years. He even offered to drive out, have look over my property and
operate from my own ALA. Naturally I agreed to that.
First up, he says he was a bit surprised to see the plane outside my
homestead because the ALA is about a mile away. I explained that
the strip was so close to the homestead, it was more convenient than
ALA, despite the power lines crossing about midway down the strip (it's
really not a problem to land and take-off because at the half-way point
the strip you're usually still on the ground taking off and have been
ground a while when landing).
For some reason Ron seemed nervous. So,
although I’d done the pre-flight inspection only four days earlier, I
decided to do it all over again. Because the prick was watching me
carefully, I walked around the plane three times instead of my usual
My effort was rewarded because the colour finally returned to Ron's
in fact they went a bright red.
In view of Ron's obviously better mood, I told him I was going to
the test flight with some farm work as I had to deliver three poddy
from the home paddock to the main herd. After a bit of a chase I
caught the calves and threw them into the back of the ol' 172.
We climbed aboard but Ron started getting into me about weight and
calculations and all that bullshit. Of course I knew that sort of
was a waste of time, and told him that the calves like to move around a
particularly when they see themselves 500 feet off the ground! So, it’s
bloody pointless trying to secure them as you know.
However, I did
that he shouldn't worry as I always keep the trim wheel Araldited to
to ensure we remain pretty stable at all stages throughout the flight.
Anyway, I started the engine and cleverly minimised the warm-up time by
tramping hard on the brakes and gunning her to 2,500rpm. I then
that Ron has very acute hearing, even though he was wearing a bloody
headset. Through all that noise he detected a metallic rattle and
I account for it.
Actually it began about a month ago and was caused
screwdriver that fell down a hole in the floor and lodged in the fuel
selector mechanism. The selector can't be moved now, but it doesn't
because it's jammed on 'All tanks', so I suppose that's OK.
However, as Ron was obviously a real nit-picker, I blamed the noise on
vibration from a stainless steel thermos flask, which I keep in a beaut
little possie between the windshield and the magnetic compass.
explanation seemed to relax Ron because he slumped back in the seat and
looking up at the cockpit roof. I released the brakes to taxi out but
unfortunately the plane gave a leap and spun to the right, "Shit" I
not the bloody starboard wheel chock again. The bump jolted Ron back
full alertness. He looked wildly around just in time to see a rock
by the propwash disappear completely through the windscreen of his
Commodore. Shit, now I'm really in trouble, I thought.
While Ron was busy ranting about his car, I ignored his requirement
taxi to the ALA and instead took off under the power lines. Ron
a word, at least not until the engine started coughing right at the
point, then he bloody screamed his head off, "Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!"
"Now take it easy, Ron" I told him firmly, "this often happens on
and there is a good reason for it."
I explained patiently that I
run the plane on standard MOGAS, but one day I accidentally put in a
or two of kerosene. To compensate for the low octane of the kerosene,
siphoned in a few gallons of super MOGAS and shook the wings up and
few times to mix it up. Since then, the engine has been coughing a
in general it works just fine, if you know how to coax it properly.
Anyway mate, at this stage Ron seemed to lose all interest in my flight
test. He pulled out some rosary beads, closed his eyes and became lost
prayer (I didn't think anyone was a Catholic these days). I selected
nice music on the HF radio to help him relax.
Meanwhile I climbed to
normal cruising altitude of 10,500 feet (I don't normally put in a
plan or get the weather because as you know getting NAIPS access out
a f#*% joke and the bloody weather is always 8/8 blue anyway.
But since I had that near miss with a Saab 340, I might have to change
Anyhow, on levelling out I noticed some wild camels heading into my
pasture. I hate camels and always carry a loaded .303 clipped inside
door of the Cessna just in case I see any of the bastards.
We were too high to hit them, but as a matter of principle, I decided
have a go through the open window. Mate, when I pulled the bloody
out, the effect on Ron was friggin electric.
As I fired the first shot
neck lengthened by about six inches and his eyes bulged like a rabbit
myxo. He really looked as if he had been jabbed with an electric cattle
on full power.
In fact, Ron's bloody reaction was so distracting that I lost
for a second and the next shot went straight through the port tyre.
a bit upset about the shooting (probably one of those pinko animal
guess) so I decided not to tell him about our little problem with the
Shortly afterwards I located the main herd and decided to do my fighter
pilot trick. Ron had gone back to praying when, in one smooth
pulled on full flap, cut the power and started a sideslip from 10,500
down to 500 feet at 130 knots indicated (the last time I looked
the little needle rushing up to the red area on me ASI. Shit, what a
About half way through the descent I looked back in the cabin to see
calves gracefully suspended in mid air and mooing like crazy. I was
to comment on this unusual sight but Ron looked a bit green and had
himself into the foetal position and was screamin his f*&%# head off.
talk about being in a bloody zoo.
You should've been there, it was so
At about 500 feet I levelled out, but for some reason we continued
When we reached 50 feet I applied full power but nothin happened; no
no nothin. Then, luckily, I heard me instructor's voice in me head
carby heat, carby heat, so I pulled carby heat on and that helped quite
lot, with the engine finally regaining full power. Whew, that was
close, let me tell you!
Then mate, you'll never guess what happened next! As luck would have
that height we flew into a massive dust cloud caused by the cattle and
suddenly went I.F. bloody R, mate. BJ, you would've been bloody proud
as I didn't panic once, not once, but I did make a mental note to
an instrument rating as soon as me gyro is repaired (something I've
meaning to do for a while now).
Suddenly Ron's elongated neck and bulging eyes reappeared. His mouth
opened wide, very wide, but no sound emerged. "Take it easy mate," I
him. "we’ll be out of this shit in a minute." Sure enough, about a
later we emerge; still straight and level and still at 50 feet.
was surprised to notice that we were upside down, and I kept thinking
myself "Shit I hope Ron didn't notice that I had forgotten to set the
when we were taxying."
This minor tribulation forced me to fly to a
valley in which I had to do a half roll to get upright again, and that
fair dinkum too.
By now the main herd had divided into two groups leaving a little
strip between them. "Ah!," I thought, "there's an omen. We'll land
Knowing that the tyre problem demanded a slow approach, I flew a couple
steep turns with full flap. Soon the stall warning horn was blaring so
in me ear that I cut its circuit breaker to shut it up, but by then I
we were slow enough anyway. I turned steeply onto a 75 foot final and
her down with a real thud. Strangely enough, I had always thought you
only ground loop in a tail dragger but, as usual, I was proved wrong
Halfway through our third loop Ron at last recovered his sense of
Talk about laugh. I've never seen the likes of it; he couldn't stop.
finally rolled to a halt and I released the calves, who bolted out of
aircraft like there was no tomorrow.
I then began picking clumps of dry grass. Between gut wrenching fits of
laughter Ron asked what I was doing. I explained that we had to stuff
port tyre with grass so we could fly back to the homestead.
It was then
Ron really lost the plot and started running away from the aircraft.
Can you believe it?
The last time I saw him he was off into the distance, arms flailing in
air and still shrieking with laughter. I later heard that he had been
confined to a psychiatric institution "poor bastard!
Anyhow, mate, that's enough about Ron.
The problem is I just got a
from CASA withdrawing, as they put it, my privileges to fly; until I
undergone a complete pilot training course again and undertaken another
flight proficiency test. Now I admit that I made a mistake in taxiing
the wheel chock and not setting the QNH using strip elevation, but I
see what else I did that was so bloody bad that they have to withdraw
flamin licence. Can you?
Anyhow mate, the reason for writing to you is to ask if you know any
instructors who would be willing to come out the station for about 2
to help get me back up to speed. I'll pay them good money while they're
and they won't have to worry about paying for food or accommodation.
Looking forward to your response. Until then, take care, mate.