The travel situation Eket to Lagos for those guys is haphazard to say the least. Somtimes they send a Bristow fixed wing to crew change them, but other times they have to bum a lift on a Mobil helicopter flight to an offshore platform, then wait for another one to Port Harcourt where they get ACN to Lagos. Very hit and miss !!
The operation is entirely self catering so they are mostly cooking their own meals after a days' flying, but the accomodation is awful, dropping to pieces, long periods with no water etc.
Port Harcourt are still in the boonies, no change there. Warri are split between two not particularly secure estates, not good in a Wild West town like that. Calabar have the same house as ever, inside the oil company base with reasonable security, and Calabar doesn't seem to get the problems (traffic, crime, tribal stuff) that the rest of the Delta suffers from. They don't get any per diem either as they are catered.
As a matter of fact, accomodation is probably one of the few things CHC/ACN have going for them. They live in a fairly secure estate in downtown Port Harcourt with pretty good facilities (especially the bar) and are catered for. Just a shame about the salaries.
Ah...the shame of it all...back when Bristow had the airfield hangar....and accomodation...swimming pool built and paid for by the crews. Smashing bar....decent food....done mess style. Then the new and improved method.....
Used to be we took a pickup truck to Calabar....flew by local airline to the Lagos Domestic terminal...found your own way to the office....bummed a ride at some point to the BRC....then took a bath...had a beer or two and on to the International terminal ....which sounds good to the current system.
Glad to see Mobil takes care of its contractor pilots and engineers....and the company too. Would seem they could arrange their own crewchange...coordinate it with PHC and Warri....Escravos....oh.well.....we know how that would work. They would have you paying for the ride.
I had better not get caught out twice here but I could swear I saw the one and only Dink on his way back from leave to Eket. Of course it could have been his evil twin brother....
As to my previous, ebullient post here, if yer maun didn't blow up and sink as detailed to me in a rather convincing story, what in the world did happen? I mean, it was World Domination one evening and then, poof!
Lucky me, I was about to quit my day job to become their VIP Catering Manager. I was thinking 'Cut the crusts off the sandwiches; that should let them make MTOW.' $100 000 per annum with a title, a company car, six on, six off... I was going for it, I tell you.
Oh well, back to the grind, I suppose. Still, it beats working for a living. And then there is that pension to look forward to.
Captain Dink Hypen-Smyth.....alive and well? He is probably safely esconced in the Warri School for Unwed Mothers or sharing a warm beer with his police buddies. Is it true that he is the only 20 year Bristow Pilot still making base salary with no increments? I think it admirable of Dink to donate so much back to the company in way of forfeited wages....proves he is a real company man. I shudder to think he actually called me "crazy....and guilty of having more intestinal fortitude than he for one of my jaunts around the countryside". That did make me sit down and re-think my conduct. He has certainly set a record for the most impromptu conga line dance in an urban african setting. The thought of the big BossFellah from Redhill picking him out of the roadside lineup really is something that brings a smile. Wondering how the Chief Pilot felt admitting that the wild haired runty looking expat wearing a pilot's uniform and iron bracelets built for a dozen....was none other than one of his own...must have been a sight. One could say ol' Dink could have climbed to new heights there in Eket....but a former Trellis climber beat him to that!
If you just look carefully you will see that Catering Manager Canapes is under Catering Manager VIP. The critical point in this is, of course, the Company car, which shall be assigned to the VIP Catering Manager, who may, at his discretion, allow its use by lesser entities in the organisation, usually in months without an 'R' that have less than 31 days.
You never know in this business; you might run out of white sandwich loaves right in the middle of a job, when you need to dispatch Sunday, Patience and Prudence on a priority bread run to Park 'n' Shop.
I haven't completely given up. I assume that there will be someone else to come along and take up the task of World Domination, when I can try again. There must be a suitable position, with Company car, for a man of my talents.
Heard the inimitable tones (no headset necessary) of Dink flying an Eket wreck today. Nobody does a "standard" traffic call like Dink, and that decibel level from such a vertically challenged body is a scientific wonder.
By the way I completely agree with Chuks, "ebullient" is a flattering understatement when the person concerned got a few beers in him. Nobody had the experience and contacts to get that job done like him, and he meant NOBODY !!
If it's true that ACN are losing money on the FW operation then something is badly awry somewhere! The DOCs on a Dash-8 must be minimal, and they are generally full. At $100 a seat and 50 seats there must be some serious profits to be made.
Dink - I'll never forget him sat on the deck of the Oso transmitting "I don't need no radio" to anyone who was listening, only to have it relayed back by the QIT operator (in full), as they had to do in those days, whilst writing it down.
and the "I own this field" speech made to anyone who would listen and that was 6 years ago so he probably does by now
I once spent a very informing period sat at a bush bar on Latif Salami Street with Texas' resident sage.
We raked over the political situation back in the Land of the Big PX, various interesting situations The Short One had got himself into and out of and matters arising.
But then 'one of them big-titty women' came on duty next door, when his attention wandered. Plus, he had been telling me about the sort of cooties one can get from a local 'barbering saloon' (I had been on my way back from getting a haircut when I spotted him sat there taking the air) so that I had begun itching pretty badly.
I wandered off and left him there enjoying the local scene.
I think you're right the DOCs on a Dash 8 should be minimal, but if the aircraft were leased on a rip-off contract that ensured that almost all of the profit on it went to a certain company in Holland, (then on top of that a monthly fee to the lessors), I guess it could become more marginal. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if most of the spares were also purchased from a certain company in Holland too, rather than from Canada.
The new Ops Manager for Caverton is Bob Evans, ex Aero Contractors, ex Schreiner Cameroun. He will need all his diplomatic skills to recover any credibility after his predecessor's somewhat hasty departure. Good choice.
Gosh, Gee....there is life after Bristow! Knew Bob when he flew S-58T's for the Old Man. Maybe I might wanna dust off that old Green License again....lessee...VI to Mohmammed Mutala...? Hmmm....no crew change woes to Eket....no traffic jams in PHC....No hijacking in Warri.....hmmmmm?
I hear 'Uncle' Bob's arriving out in Nigeria next week. Don't know how much of a diplomat he is, but as long as there are a few sheep around he'll probably be happy You're right though, he's going to have a hard job.
Wonder what type Caverton will be looking to use for the airport/VI shuttle ? Lots of rich people loaded down with Ghana Must Go bags, it'll have to be big and take a lot of luggage !! And the bigger it is, the higher the fares will be...........
I've actually seen this new Caverton A109 flying around in Lagos now and I hear it was in Port Harcourt yesterday. Ther have been a few articles about them in the Guardian too, so I guess they're about ready to operate. The rumor is that they're looking at S76s and trying to find crews for the 109 and the S76. I went to their website which looks pretty professional too. Well, just wish good luck to the first new all Nigerian company in a while that looks to be trying to operate at the same levels as the expat companies here.