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Old 16th Dec 2013, 14:17
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Dave Ed
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Cyprus
Age: 63
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No pics for this one. Info from Ken Rowe.

Muscat Sept 71 (a/c Wessex G-AWOX)

We arrived at Muscat to be greeted by the rest of the crew, the total operation being:- Chief Pilot John Hobday, John Spreadbury, Chief Engineer Frank Tucker, engineers Geoff Chandler, Pete Robson, and of course myself Ken Rowe.
There was also "greenie" John Ferchal who had seemed to haunt us from times at Kuantan and we were soon to have a substitute Chief Engineer, Christos Niocholas, as Frank Tucker went on leave.

Conocco was contracted to drill 2 wells. The first one was only 2 miles off shore and took a whole 8 minutes flying time and as we only did one crew change a week so the first months flying hours were only 2hrs. During the second month the rig moved to 8 miles offshore and together with night flying training and one trip to Dubai for spares we reached double figures, just. It was hell working in that Waddi as it was flat out on the work front. The airport that we operated from was at Baet-el-Falaj and was the main operations base for the Airwork operation and was also the "international" airport. It was situated at the bottom of a waddi and was extremely difficult to enter. It was quite awe inspiring to see a 707 banking steeply and turning seconds before touchdown and the airline pilots used to say it was the most difficult airfield in the world to access.
Needless to say it doesn't operate today.

Muscat at that time was a walled mud brick town and operated at about three hundred years behind Britain. We had to have special dispensation from the Sultan to leave the town after dark to go to the airport should there be an emergency as no one was allowed to enter or leave the town at night as the gates in the walls were closed at sunset prayers and no one was allowed out or in. We lived in a beautiful three-story mud brick building next to the British embassy on one side and the countries gaol on the other. The embassy was a good contact as we could get alcohol through their diplomatic bag and the gaol reminded us of the severe penalties of a strictly Islamic culture should we digress and drink it. The embassy won.

After a quite enjoyable Christmas celebrated in secrecy, as I said at that time Muscat was three hundred years behind and strict Islamic rules prevailed, the oil company announced that it was moving its rig to Bangladesh but the Bangladeshi authorities would not let the helicopter company in so we were now homeless with one spare Wessex.

Then Alan Green telexed to inform us that we were on loan to Das Island!

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