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Tales of An Old Aviator .... The Big Chill

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Tales of An Old Aviator .... The Big Chill

Old 1st Feb 2004, 07:33
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
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Tales of An Old Aviator .... The Big Chill

A few hours ago....

"Well Duke...(that's not my real name)the news is not good," said the doc. "The cancer...it's back.Your CEA count is up and...." I only half listened."Mass on your liver...something in your abdomen..blah blah blah"
A chill, like a rapier, shot up my spine... a big chill..the information he gave was only the clarity of dreams.My wife and I never even looked at each other. She had been through it once with me already.The chemo, the pukeing, shitting, needles, hair all over the house, nausea and fear.Like some creature devoid of form, the big "C" was stalking me.
Fear you say....from an old Aviator?

Thursday, November the 28th.2002
The call came as usual on this date every year...from my old co-pilot.

"Happy Lobster Day!" and then we laughed and recalled that fatefull day five years ago out over the Atlantic.

The plan sounded simple...we were to base the C117(Super DC3) in Yarmouth Nova Scotia in order to fly live lobsters to New York prior to shipment to Japan. I had already done a couple of trips but now with B Check Authority I was to line indoctrinate a new Captain and co-pilot.A flawless day, although cold, made flight planning easy except for the forty knot headwind. We had plenty of fuel and nine thousand pounds onboard.We climbed to ten thousand or so on this bright blue day and I settled into the nav chair to think up some relevant questions for the Captain, a steely eyed ex Voodoo pilot named Les. He was all excited about his new GPS with the VNAV function.In the right seat was Slaz, a strong and jovial young chap bursting with keen-ness.
The Captain toyed with his GPS and, as we approached what I had figured out to be the PNR, I asked him, "Where would you go now in the event of an engine failure?"
He correctly stated he would return to Yarmouth due to the headwind, and, of course his GPS. "Aha!" says I. "You cannot give me an ETA UNTIL you turn around and use your new groundspeed read-out." He knew I was right and promised to learn the PNR formula.
Then....BANG!... a backfire.
"Which engine?" I blurted out. We hadn't caught it.Then...BANG! again...I saw the guage flicker...the left engine.I scrambled over the load of squeeking live cargo and, in horror, saw oil trailing from the cowling. I ran forward only to have Les inform me that we had a chip light.
A chill crept up my spine......
Down below the spindrift streaked off the waves...I found out later that the seas were thirty feet.
"Do you mind if I assume command of the flight?"I respectfully asked Les...after all I had three engine failures in this airplane before.
Without an answer he moved to the right seat and Slaz stood between us.Les immediately called a Mayday to Boston in order to clear the airspace below as we were going down as we completed the shutdown procedure....except the engine wouldn't feather.With all trims maxed out and full aileron it was difficult to control the airplane and indeed we couldn't hold altitude.
The feather button was in and lit and yet the prop turned...it took a while to figure out..prop turning..feather pump running...shit! we must have broken the crankshaft...Yes! that's it..the RPM read zero...Won't feather...never..all the oil is gone....windmilling...shit!
Slaz taps me on the shoulder and points to the feather button...still running..no oil...fire danger.
Yep! The co-pilot had saved our lives for sure so I pulled the button.
Les in steely eyed fashion informs me we won't make it to any shore according to VNAV.
"Upgrade the Mayday "says I...whatever the hell that meant.
Down to eight thousand...next we see a DC10 circling us...Boston had diverted him from his trip to Germany to at least get a visual on us...EASY...we were at the leading edge of the oil slick.
Imagine what those pax thought with their noses pressed up against the glass.
A Coast Guard Falcon 20 appeared and scorched around us and the DC10 went on his way...we never did talk to him, but we were given a discreet frequency to talk to the Falcon.
I was busy flying the plane when Slaz asked if he should start throwing cargo out and this permission was quickly granted but he had to use the emergency exit.The cockpit was a busy place.Les monitoring the good engine, updating me on where we would ditch...but oh so cool."Is your airplane falling apart?" the Falcon asked as they saw stuff hitting the tail...it was boxes of lobsters.
"What can you do for me?" I asked. "We will drop you a life raft" was the answer.I struggled with the controls...200fpm down was the best I could do. I looked at the mountainous seas..."It will blow away in this wind and besides, we have a problem with ditching" says I. "I need a helicopter"
They dispatched one from Cape Cod. That is why I decided to continue straight ahead in order to close the distance as soon as possible.Four thousand....Slaz worked feveriously in back and we could hear the boxes hitting the tail..the airplane shuddered with every hit.
We had METO power on the good engine and as we descended , Les was pulling back on the power...we were still descending..."Want more power? " he asked.
It was the hardest decision in my aviation career. "No" say I, "I want to save that engine till ground effect, maybe get to shore
that way"
The seas were huge. Two thousand...
"Go back and get Slaz" says I "I want to brief on the ditching. Slaz arrives..."Half the cargo gone " he says breathlessly, eyes as big as dogs balls.
While I was briefing, Les yells, "We are levelling,Shit..we're gonna make it."
And make it we did...into Provincetown,Cape Cod...JUST. The capitol of the NW USA.
Another story...Wendy the Windsurfer...

A few lessons here...
Don't give up till you're licked.
Don't whine and trivialize when you haven't been there.
Lets keep our profession out of the gutter...we need each other.
I have another difficult mission ahead...and if I croak...I would like on my tombstone.....

[ This Message was edited by: Duke Elegant on 2003-05-21 18:33 ]



Joined: Nov 13, 2001
Posts: 565 Posted: 2003-01-22 02:33
Wow, that's good...



Joined: Nov 16, 2001
Posts: 231 Posted: 2003-01-22 05:43
That is THE best post on this board to date, don't just stop at this one please, there has to be more.............



Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 24 Posted: 2003-01-22 06:46
A perfect story to start the day off right. Excellent post! Keep em coming.



Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 431 Posted: 2003-01-22 07:07
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 08:49
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That you Flashey?
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 09:07
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Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
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Good memory Pigboat.

We had the first Vancouver mini PPRuNe bash last night at The Flying Beaver and Danny was there.

He remembered my story on PPRuNe five years ago and instead of linking to Avcanada , I was advised to paste them here.(twelve pages so far)

And by the way , Pigboat, Chuck Ellsworth aka Capt Porno and Cat Driver was there with PBY/Catalina stories.
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 09:26
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The Reverend
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If you want more of Duke Elegant, go to:http://www.avcanada.ca/forums/viewto...c=2616&forum=1
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 09:31
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Welcome back.
Yeah, you had a few good ones, I remember.
Sure as hell hope everything turns out ok Duke. To quote Red Green, "I'm pullin' for ya."
Saw on another thread that Chuck was gonna be there.
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 09:47
  #6 (permalink)  
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Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
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Sadly , Vinnie died of his burns a year after the hangar fire.

I am yet to write two stories about spectacular emergencies that happened and my trusty Vinnie was on board for both.

Also, when my cancer revisited me, I had to endure eight months more chemotherapy so I am in a state of grace right now and have decided to stay close to home , close to the missus , family and grandkids.(and my sailboat)

You see folks , I have stared my maker squarely in the face twice now. Why am I not scared to die? I have packed two lives into one anyway and my stories will affirm this.

By writing of my adventures , I am living them yet again .... so bear with me.

I am only copying my stories here. I cannot abandon Avcanada.ca because they were all with me whilst I endured the chemical hell called chemo. The avcanada forum was part of my therapy.

The support has been fantastic.

I am truly blessed.

Did I not see a post that dissapeared from pigboat , asking about the engineer in the fire? And am I still flying the A26?

Its gone.
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 10:23
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Yeah Duke, I edited it. I checked the avcan board in the meantime and my question was pretty well answered.
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 11:32
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Good stuff Duke. As I read it my balls were retracting while I thought about how it feels to fly over those coolish waters. You have talent friend. Keep it up. I'll buy the book.

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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 09:09
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Drain Bamaged
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Thumbs up

Duke, we are sharing some friends based at CYOW.

I heard great stories about you. To found them later on in "Avcanada" was truly amazing.
And for someone who had only couple of months left...Well...

I also remember a certain nom de plume HoleFlashy (spelling!?)
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 11:55
  #10 (permalink)  
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Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
Posts: 115
GREAT story! Thanks for sharing.
And don't forget your own advice - don't give up until you're licked.....
Best Regards,
the only time you can have too much fuel is if you're on fire...



Joined: Oct 11, 2002
Posts: 36
From: CYVK and/or CYYC
Posted: 2003-01-22 09:30
That was probably the most intresting thread ever to be posted here...it actually made me Read on!
The Liberal Party is a bunch of Deratives of Acceleration. So there. I want to scare ppl on the path at the end of 13 in CAH3.


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-01-22 12:55
Maverick ..mmmm
Yep! Courtney Airpark...1800 feet...King Air A100...they were the days eh?
Navajo's too.
They probably wouldn't believe us.



Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 773
From: The heart of darkness
Posted: 2003-01-22 13:58
That was indeed a good one.



Joined: Oct 18, 2001
Posts: 200
From: Atlantic Canada
Posted: 2003-01-22 14:28
Duke: one hell of a story. I'll bet there was several yards of seat cushion removed from various nether regions on the ground at Cape Cod.

Regarding the "Big C" thing: you've just reached two thousand feet; wait for the level off. You'll beat it.

God bless.


FixedWing, GoldWing, FlingWing..Life is good!


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-01-22 15:15
Thanks for the encouragement fellow Aviators.

Here's how it works.....


As I was nearing the end of my last chemo I heard that a fellow Aviator had been stricken with the Big C. He was an ex F18 fighter pilot, ex Boeing Captain and then flew Invaders. He was a collegue but we weren't particularly close buddies as we were never based together.
He had a very good Cathay medical plan and I tracked him down through his mother and phoned him at a clinic in Texas. He couldn't thank me enough as I rallied support for him through e-mail and he got lots of calls.
One day he phoned me to tell me how guilty he felt that he never supported me although I was sure he gave me some thought.
I told him I had lots of friends and that he should pass support along one day....not backwards to me..to someone who needed it.
That, my friends, is how it works.



Joined: May 24, 2002
Posts: 134
From: YVR
Posted: 2003-01-22 15:49
Well said.


Boeing Driver

Joined: Jan 06, 2002
Posts: 140 Posted: 2003-01-22 16:19
Best of luck Duke, Go get 'em.




Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 86
From: BC coast
Posted: 2003-01-22 17:43
The Lobster story is a good one. Les told me about it a couple of years ago. I remember someone jokingly saying, "at least the lobsters got back to the water!" Les replied, "Yes that's true but what are they gonna do with their pinchers taped shut!" Everybody laughed.

Good luck with your battle Duke!



Joined: Oct 18, 2001
Posts: 239
From: YVR
Posted: 2003-01-22 19:38
Great writing Duke, and best of luck.


king air guy

Joined: Sep 08, 2002
Posts: 638
From: Calgary, AB
Posted: 2003-01-23 00:04
Duke....that was one hell of a story, one for the books!!!
I think you missed another calling - author.

As for the Big "C", I wish you all the best. You have our hopes and prayers.



Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-01-23 12:03
Thanks King Air Guy...and all of you .. you all help me keep focused.

I sat down last night, fingers poised ready to share another tale but I partook a little too liberally in some "Golden Throat Charmers".

Spring 1983.

I had overstayed my visit to Australia but was still confident to get a seat on the Budworm Program. I needed the money as my many wives had shared in the booty from previous adventures.It was a six week project and big bucks. Spray pilots ,some Swiss, Americans, Chechs, poles, Aussies and South Africans to name a few.Frenchmen too. They all came to fly the TBM Avenger, a 2000HP US Navy torpedo bomber.We sprayed the whole forest of New Brunswick in formations of three at about fifty feet.In the past there had been about thirty TBM's on the job, spread out on bases with usually nine on each base.
The turns at the end of the line were like mini airshows and dangerous. Imagine pulling 17,000lbs around at 2 G's...that made the slipstream 34,000lbs....enter it and you were a smoking hole in the jungle.
I was number two to a tall, hawkfaced, old ex F104 Starfighter pilot who had an ego as big as his balls. Number three was Farrell and he was not happy with the maintainence. None of us were..hell...at a hundred bucks a trip...Shutup.
We were spraying in the hills to the North and Farrells plane was running rough. If one guy went back we all went back...."Shutup" it was hinted to him..A hundred bucks.
But he had had enough and quit leaving his plane sitting on the ramp. Frank and I were elated as we could do faster turns with two airplanes and make good dough. The competetion was brutal. Once off line we would look for another team, also calling off line and, without any calls, just push it up to METO. First team midfield on the carrier break had the right of way. We always wanted the last load of the day. It was not uncommon to duke it out in the mess shack after flying.


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Old 3rd Feb 2004, 01:19
  #11 (permalink)  

Jet Blast Rat
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Posts: 2,081
The first story makes a point about 2nd officers and CRM I was discussing today. Just because the two in the front seats are both very experienced, there's no excuse for ignoring the junior guy as the excrement is gradually hitting the ventilation system.

Thanks Duke. This is aviation - war stories and friends. Good luck with surviving.

Last edited by Send Clowns; 3rd Feb 2004 at 01:32.
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Old 3rd Feb 2004, 02:34
  #12 (permalink)  
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Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
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Posted: 2003-01-23 12:45

They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn.
We would arise, not from sleep but from passing out from too many warm Moosehead and bullshit stories. A coffee helped a little but then we went to the flightline in the dark, flashlights stabbing the dark as we did half-hearted walk-arounds.
Then...there is NOTHING.....I say..NOTHING more horny than nine Avengers running up in the dark..18,000 horsepower growling..orange flames turning blue as they warmed up. The first team would move into the pits to await the dawn, when the C172 pointer planes would take of and go to the block. We had two per team. They navigated for us online and we simply lined them up.
DAWN. We launch. Frank lines up with his 625US gallons of poison and roars off, vortices trailling from the slots at the wingtips. He banks right and I am powering up already, full power..49"...52" if you need it through the gate..tail up six inches and a slight tug and she breaks free.Frank banks back for the joinup. Gear up...First power reduction....first power reduction...Shit!..it's stuck....accelerating...I go scorching by Frank.."Slow down" he yells. "Can't..throttle's stuck" says I.
200kts.. I turn on downwind...250Kts.
I look at the Dunphy Airstrip..3000feet. No Way!
"Go to Chatham" growls Frank calmly..."050 degrees roughly"
I set a rough course..I can't remember what the final speed was because I was focussed on the cylinder head temp along with the oil temp that had already hit redline. I trimmed nose down and left all the right rudder trim in...getting hot in here.
The big chill...it ran up my spine..
"Climb up and jump" suggested another pilot : I see some smoke"
I looked at the 'chute...US Navy 1952 ..it read.
I stayed low...if it cuaght fire I wanted to ditch..the landscape was flat but flashing by in a blur.
The US Navy manual says you can use full power for two minutes..in wartime that is.
It's now about five minutes. I'm on my own.
She's screaming..was that a puff of smoke?
I could see the base off in the distance. Frank had already looked up the frequency for me...thanks Frank.
"Chatham Tower Zebra Two inbound..I have a problem"
"Say your position" says the controller.
I have lied in the past by saying I said "DESPERATE!" It got a few laughs.
"Crossing a powerline NE bound" is all I knew.
"What is you plan?"...they have every right to know..I didn't have one.
"Left base 250knots plus" I blurt out. I don't know what he said.I wasn't listening.
I noticed a helicopter hovering at the other end of the runway.
I roll onto base.....miles out.

More to follow over.



Joined: Jul 05, 2002
Posts: 105 Posted: 2003-01-23 13:02
Duke all the best to you! Just another walk in the park! Did you ever work with the legendary Agent Orange on the TBM's. The guy who introduced his wife, "Boys meet the Crank, Crank meet the Boys". I flew Canso's with him in the early 80's. Never a dull moment!!


Just Curious

Joined: Nov 06, 2001
Posts: 650
From: Frozen North
Posted: 2003-01-23 13:43
Small world...I knew the Slaz from his brief foray into the arctic, but now I know that I know you too! I've got a picture of your machine (on the ramp in YCH) downstairs in the bar. All my little air cadets got hero shots in front of it.

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Old 4th Feb 2004, 02:09
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Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
Posts: 115
Posted: 2003-01-23 20:14
Good to hear a few words about working the Budworm. Spent the summer of '88 flying in the 172's watching you guys muscling those beasts around - impressive. Three accidents, 1 fatal, in the span of three months seemed a tad high but made for a most exciting summer and gave me new respect for the cowboys in the cockpits. Heard FPL got rid of the TBM's for Ag-tractors.

Looking forward to the next chapter.



Just Curious

Joined: Nov 06, 2001
Posts: 650
From: Frozen North
Posted: 2003-01-23 23:24

JUST CURIOUS....my TBM in Miramachi?


Yellow cheat line, orange tail...called final about 30 miles out? Yeah, your TBM!
I'll scan the picture and send it to you. I'd post it here, but that would reveal my secret identity...no wait, I was skinny and had all my hair in this, so no-one will recognize me

And Schooner, if you're talkin' Ralph Annis...You mean he flew something else besides Sabres? Didn't know he had any other kind of stories!


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-01-23 23:45

It was Frank Gillan...from Comox.....fierce competitor!


Posted: 2003-01-24 11:02

The long runway sure was coming up fast.
I had to decide where to cut the mixture.What happens WHEN I cut the mixture? I see smoke on both sides of the cockpit..puffs.WOW! Look at all those fighter jets lined up, canopies open.
NOW! I pulled the mixture....
Two thousand horsepower to zero...I wasn't prepared for what happened next. With a violent yaw, my helmet banged the side canopy..hard..my body slammed forward into my harness as the prop hissed loudly on its way to fine..She dived..SHIT!..It was all those trims cranked in that took over.
The silence was deafening. The tongue of flame that shot down both sides of the airplane was gone.
The prop was discing lots of drag so I had to push hard on the stick...airspeed decreasing RAPIDLY...full forward...
I'm gonna be short..shit!
I reach for the mixture..worth a try..slam it forward...
ZERO HORSEPOWER TO 2000 HORSEPOWER!.. In a heartbeat!.I wasn't prepared for what happened next.
The noise,incredible..with a violent yaw my helmet bangs other side of canopy .YAW..youv'e never seen anything like it...Flames along with a whole shitload of POWER.She pitches up then BAMM! She came apart...GRIIIIND! and the prop stops just as I flare over the numbers..NO SHIT!
I had flared high and she came down hard. I had 650US gallons of poison onboard. Even though I had MILES of runway ahead I tried jamming the brakes but my rubbery legs wouldn't work.It stopped..the clicking sound could be heard over the noise of the approaching helicopter...it was cooling down.
I grabbed my helmet and stepped out onto the wing just as everybody showed up.
Even a photographer. Well you all know how shy I am around cameras and microphones.
A van load of excited young fighter pilots came and took me to the mess for coffee. They laughed..and laughed..they had seen nothing like it in their lives. They joked that I was seen on radar..coming in low..AND FAST. Was I some sort of target?

More to follow...over.


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-01-24 12:04
Well that was it for the season...or so I thought.

I thought of Frank, last seen flying slowly around my plane when I was getting out onto the wing and then droning off in the direction of Dunphy.

They flew me back to Dunphy in a Bell206 and I got to retrace my flight path over trees, small lakes and meadows.
I had decided to retain my load of chemical, remember. I got out of the helicopter with my helmet bag and maps poked into my flightsuit, to be greeted by most of the base personell. And Frank: in my ****in' face, gesturing wildly towards Farrell's plane sitting beside his still loaded TBM.

It was still cool enough to spray.

Another hundred bucks.

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Old 4th Feb 2004, 02:26
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: at the edge of nowhere, dogleg England
Age: 39
Posts: 229
I cant put this down well, but I wish you all the best in the fight.

You're a fighter, I know that. My prayers for you.
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Old 4th Feb 2004, 09:01
  #15 (permalink)  
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Age: 75
Posts: 1,256
Great stuff Duke! Keep it coming. Was that still Wheeler's operation then or had the NB government taken over?
A friend of my father's was lost down there on the TBM, guy named St. Pierre. It must have been in the early 70's, cause my dad died in 1968 and it was after that.
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Old 4th Feb 2004, 11:24
  #16 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
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Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
Posts: 115

I first went to the Budworm Project in 1975 with Conair.

There were at least a dozen TBM's that came up from the US including SisQ and an outfit out of Missoula Montana. I am not sure if Wheeler was still there then.

There are more stories coming regarding "the Project" some of which are humourous and some dedicated to some fallen aviators.
Before we had the thirty-five or so Avengers , the forest was sprayed with a hundred or more Stearman planes. Can you imagine the stories that were spawned there?

Read on my friend.

The following post by Just Curious is interesting .... he saw the event.

Posted: 2003-01-24 14:20
As all this was transpiring, a half dozen air cadets had shown up to start the summer.

As they sat out on a picnic bench beside the hangar, I gave them the flying is inherently safe speech, you know the one: checklists, appropriate clothing, practice of emergency drills until they get routine, and statistically likely nothing will ever go wrong.

It was a beautiful afternoon, the 416 squadron guys were pretty much stood down for the day, and dead quiet. Just as the droning from my speech is about to lull the kids off to sleep, the crash Klaxon starts to wail, the fire trucks roll, and the base rescue guys flash up the helicopter. Big honk'in TBM goes down the runway, still at flying speed seemingly forever... down this two mile long runway, and stops just before the highway (well, paved road, we're talking New Brunswick here!).

Got the kids attention!

The machine sat on the EPA ramp for quite a while. As the season wound down someone from FPL came up and started pulling jugs for the flight out. As it happens, METO power takes quite a bit out of engines that only run six weeks a year. Got a nice ash-tray out of that one. A piston you could stash a dozen big Cubans in.

Subsequently the kids were really aces when it came time for reviewing emergencies, so Duke, 22 years later, thanks for keeping them on their toes.



Joined: Jan 24, 2003
Posts: 5
From: The Land That Time Forgot
Posted: 2003-01-24 17:44

You'll beat this one, just like the last, with a style and dare I say it (a grace) all your own.

Still need you here in CYPE, we'll be waiting for your return.

Our thoughts are with you and the Mrs.

Fight the Good Fight.


Last edited by Duke Elegant; 4th Feb 2004 at 11:41.
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Old 5th Feb 2004, 08:32
  #17 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
Posts: 115
Usually , after flying the Budworm Profect , we would fly the Avengers Westbound back across Canada to British Columbia for the rest of the fire season. The TBM Avenger , although a tough and powerful airplane, was no match for the Douglas A26 Invader.

Here is another story cut and pasted from the Avcanada thread.
(By the way, Danny Fyne suggested I do this when we met at the PPRuNe bash in Vancouver)

Posted: 2003-01-27 20:10

I came out of the briefing with a much clearer idea of the target.

I was impatient to go and bomb the f**k out of it.

With CHEMO that is......

Well at least the doc told me how big the tumour is....just a little ******..about an inch by an inch and a half.

At least I'm still as good looking as I tell people I am....and healthy too!

Mid Eightees...not many fires around except in the NW corner of Alberta. In fact we left High Level under low cloud to bomb some fires around Steen River.We hated Steen airstrip because it was some grass, some sand, a few holes and some horses darting around. They don't hear too many Douglas Invaders around there.

Easy bombing out in the flat country and four A26's contained the lightning strikes with ease. Orders were to return to High Level empty and hold.


A four thousand horsepower WW2 attack bomber, empty. A half hour to get to High Level, A HUGE ego,and a highway cleared on both sides
just enough.....

I reckon I was slow cruising at 210 knots when I pulled up and half rolled her till I was pointing straight at the ground....aligned with the highway.
Speed builds up quick in the A26 and the controls get heavy so you have to tug lots to
get her level and the three hundred fify knots bleeds off to 210.....below the tree line...she fits ..trust me.
HELL! The landscape just bluurs by on the side but looking ahead is where the thrill is. OOOOhhhhHHHHHH! At first I though it was premature ejaculation.....but it wasn't.
The props going out of sync was the first sign...then the trembling and a big yaw>Nothing makes sense..I see the left engine shows a decrease in RPM....maybe failing...maybe I can save it so I pull back on the throttle. Looks like it is feathering...can't be. I haven't touched anything.Then a big scream as the prop goes flat and the forward speed of the airplane makes it overspeed...BIGTIME!
The governer failed to catch it and might I hint that the noise of an overspeed is incredible..and then another big shudder...it seems coarser..why?
Then a whiff of smoke gets my attention. It came in through the wing root.
Another YAW and BANG>>the engine fails and leaves me to deal with it...bloody well windmilling. The drag was fantastic...all of the trims never dealt with it so I rassled it hard over.

Up out of the trees only got me into the cloud layer above me....I have a problem!

More to follow .....OVER



Joined: May 08, 2002
Posts: 641 Posted: 2003-01-27 20:31
I can't wait!!!



Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 49 Posted: 2003-01-27 21:13
keep em coming!!!!


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-01-28 00:50
The United States Airforce manual for the A26 states that you need 170 MPH on final with one windmilling if you intend to put the gear down.

Anyhow, I'm scorching down the highway low level scud running just above the highway.... all trims maxed out and still have to use most of the aileron into the discing prop.
I didn't want to do much turning this close to the ground so I elected to approach and land straight in. The quatering 20 knot tailwind never helped neither.

I braked the Invader heavilly and noticed out of the left side canopy that the prop was stopped.

"Well" thinks I, "no big deal..probably my third engine failure in a Twenty Six."

It's what happened three days later that pissed me off. The engineers had found that the left prop decided on it's own to go into feather and they showed me the feathering solenoid that had welded itself shut and ran the feathering pump till it burned out. I had mistaken the reducing RPM for an engine failure and what convinced me most was the shuddering as the pump worked hard against cruise power. I am lucky it never caught fire but the paint had cooked off. The engine came out of feather and it oversped and blew up OK? This had never happened to anybody before that we knew over fifteen years.

So anyhow, we were coming out to base three days later when Bhudda, the group manager, came up with the answer. "Why didn't you shut off the master switch therby isol...."..."
That's about all he got out. I was on him like ugly on an ape.

There are lots of times when things go for a shit and you are on your own. If you don't know what you are dealing with its harder to come up with a solution and then take the appropriate action.

I guess I was mad at him because I had come up with the solution already.



Joined: Jan 19, 2003
Posts: 8
From: NWO
Posted: 2003-01-28 06:44
Awesome stories!! Keep em coming.



Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 1 Posted: 2003-01-29 00:28
Duke - you're ****in' best !
keep 'em stories coming, the whole crew down here in Africa loves them and loves you.

We know that if anybody is gonna kick the shit out of this 'c' thing its gonna be you.

Cheers, mate



Joined: Sep 30, 2002
Posts: 81 Posted: 2003-01-29 08:09
Maybe the "Johnny-come-lately" with all the answers didn't know his systems very well. If the A-26 is like the DC-3, the feathering pumps are connected directly to the batteries. No circuit breakers, not connected through the master switch at all. Just hot wired directly to the batteries. If the feathering button welds closed the only way to stop a feathering pump is to land and disconnect the batteries! Or wait for the feathering pump to burn out!

Great stories!


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-01-29 11:59
a300 Guy.

The twenty six is only slightly different.

We found out later that the fx pump doesn't go through the master switch . You have to turn off the generators. WHOODA THOUGHT?
(Scud running down the road with lots of loud shit goin' on...and I hadn't touched the button)
Then, how the hell do I get the electric flaps down?
Try doing a flapless in a twenty six one day.
Nose high and slightly faster. We practised them all the time in the spring for the ride.
But not with one windmilling in shit weather.

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Old 6th Feb 2004, 10:03
  #18 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
Posts: 115

Joined: Feb 02, 2003
Posts: 1
From: Morocco
Posted: 2003-02-02 04:40
keep them coming
keep fighting

Aviation needs more people like you!
It would be nice to here a couple more of them over some beers again someday!

the crew here in morocco all wish you success in your fight!


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-02-02 13:18

I like the title of "co-pilot".

I prefer it over "First officer".

"Co-pilot" exudes more of an inference that there are TWO pilots in the cockpit...and that we are all in this together.

Tuesday should be an interesting day.
I think I am going to hand my licence over to my family doctor for safekeeping. I have to focus. The last time I was sick with surgery and chemo, I smoked doobies.
When I was 130lbs and had no appetite after surgery....just didn't want to eat...scary shit!
My wife and family doctor suggested Guiness dark beer. So I sat around the pool under a tree and drank....then I was handed a doobie..Stand back....munchies yeaaaah!I was like a Tazmanian Devil.
After chemo I was 170 lbs and went to Iowa and Denver to re-erect two log homes so I was already clean crossing the border into the US. I was clean when I got my medical back, albeit, a restricted medical where I was required to have a co-pilot.
I intend to self medicate again, probably Tuesday night.

FEB 11 I am booked for a CT Scan and a biopsy done with a LOOONG thin needle. I hope I don't start laughing whilst thinking of the Baffin Island Yacht.

"CAUGHT UP IN THE MOMENT"...four months ago..

A confession to Transport Canada.

It was always pleasant to show up at the coffee shop every Saturday morning, you know, a few lies and oft repeated tales of daring-do. A sunny day it was. My friend Dave and I strolled the ramp recalling the days when gas was cheap and so was his Harvard Mk2. Snarling loops, rolls and cuban eights.
We looked at his friend's sleek Lancair...one day thinks I.
Across to the big hangar where Dave keeps his single seat Pitts ...and up come the doors. It had a thin layer of hangar dust. Hell they're small...tailwheel as big as a hockey puck. It had a narrow stance and a powerful little snout on 'er. You can't blame Dave... he is always late getting home on a Saturday but he wants to go.. and go now. We rinse the little slut off and Dave briefs me on the three separate harnesses,parachute icluded, how to wobble pump,and one important point.
A light small battery is all she has and REALLY high compression. You only get one shot at the start...The prop comes up hard on the compression and she just gets through .
She shakes like a dog shedding water and then smooths out.
Off he goes weaving down the taxiway. Zero vis in the Pitts.
He rolls her ever so slow after take off.Beautiful... It has a fully inverted system.
I watched from afar as he yanked and banked and had a good time.
Here he comes weaving back to the hangar.
He jumps out and shouts, "Take 'er up!"
I cannot believe it. Sixty grand...un-insurable...cranky little slut on the ground and a hard ridin' whore in the air.
He straps me in and here I am weaving off down the ramp, yanking on a cable to unlock the tailwheel.
I had pointed at the windsock as I was getting in, "a crosswind" says I.Was I looking for a way out?
He laughed at me. " You won't even notice the crosswind because of all the other trouble you'll have. You'll be airborne before you get half power on..but then, don't slam the power on or she'll torque roll on ya." ...

I am about to go aviating...

More to follow, over.



Joined: Jan 26, 2002
Posts: 277
From: Hyperspace
Posted: 2003-02-03 07:04
Casacopilot, check your PM's.





Joined: Nov 22, 2001
Posts: 722
From: From: From: ^C
Posted: 2003-02-03 09:16
Wow - great war stories.

My only objection is the characterization of a Pitts in the air.

When the tires are on the pavement, it can indeed be quite unforgiving, and a Pitts landing can be mindblowing to a pilot who has only previously flown nosewheel aircraft

But in the air, it is sweet and light on the stick, and actually very simple to fly aerobatics in, far easier than the lower-performance aerobatic trainers.

Keep the stories coming, and I've got my fingers crossed for remission.




Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 28 Posted: 2003-02-03 11:56

You have to ride them hard, lad. Legend has it that the Duke has been astride the odd mount at full gallop.
DUKE, do you remember RENO AIR RACES 1978 I think? There were Mustangs roaring around at fifty feet during the day and mustangs out at the ranch at night.


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 259 Posted: 2003-02-04 11:43
Just like the man said.... she leapt into the air way before I got to full power. My overcontrolling on the stick and rudder made her twitch as she rocketed up...thousands of feet per minute. It had only an Airspeed indicator and turn and slip. The ball banged from side to side as I got used to the rudder...it's only a couple of feet behind your head.

Rolls were a blistering thought.

She'd snarl her way around consecutive loops but always wanted to go up. I wobbled off the top of a few upward rolls and partook in a few push-overs...you gotta love these inverted systems eh?

She wanted to do it in many different positions. MMMMMMM.....OOOooooh..

I rode her at full gallop, Flashman.

One thing's for sure, flight into cloud would mostly result an exit out the bottom doing Lomchevacs.

I decided to land before I spewed...but waited cunningly for the circuit to be free of spectators...I had to land her. A curved 100 knot approach with a side slip final works best, bleeding back to eighty....back..back..nose going higher..can't see shit! Take a peek out the side...feel for the ground..is she straight?.
Take a peek through the window in the floor...BAD IDEA.
All I saw was the centre line flashing from side to side....
I squeeked her on.

Man what a ride...I got out and I've been talking about it ever since.

An hour later, a cold chill came over me..I had a restricted licence...shit! I'd broken the law. I lapsed into depression and I felt I was adrift in a sea of despair....only to be saved by a few Golden Throat Charmers..
mmmmmm like an angel crying on your tongue.

Duke Elegant is offline  
Old 6th Feb 2004, 11:12
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: CYZV
Age: 75
Posts: 1,256
Thanks for sharing the great stories Duke.
I've tried and tried to get some of the guys I knew from this neck of the woods to put their experiences on paper, guys like Mike B, Lloyd H, Wilf A, Phil L. Sadly they're no longer around, and all the great tales have been lost. Phil flew the Norseman all one spring on skis with one foot in a cast, or the time he salvaged a DC-4 off the ice cap and flew it back to Frobe by himself. Mike doing a trip from Mont-Joli to Frobe with the co-pilot locked out of the cockpit. This was the days before CRM, I guess. Mike and Wilf checking each other on the C-46 because each thought the other was the check pilot. When Lloyd began flying up in Ungava, the two most prominent features on the sectionals were "unmapped' and "elevation unknown." All that stuff is lost forever, which makes what you're doing so very important.

Wheeler was before your time in NB, I guess. They got out of the budworm business about 1970, I believe. They had the flock of Stearmen, about a hundred machines or so, and a dozen or so TBM's. The guy in charge of the operation was George Moore.

Last edited by pigboat; 6th Feb 2004 at 11:29.
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Old 7th Feb 2004, 05:54
  #20 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Chilliwack BC Canada
Posts: 115

I am cautiously proud of the support given to the US by Australia for the purpose of ridding the world of an arsehole.

A little history.

The US clearly saved Australia from being over-run by the Japs in WW2. I had some uncles die fighting on the Kokoda Trail prior to taking Port Moresby ..... Australia was on the horizon and soon to be under the "Rising Sun".

I, nor my brother knew that we had been abandoned by our mother at around two years old. We didn't know because we were being raised by my Grandmother who we called Mum. A stranger visited occasionaly who I later got to call Dad, but I didn't know why.

One morning, before dawn we were awoken and with bags packed we were off to the Railway Station where I was fascinated by the "live" steam train that was to take us on a two day trip North to live with my Dad and new stepmother. We were black from coaldust and tried sleeping on a hard leather bench. A soldier came aboard and upon seeing our discomfort, put his great - coat on the luggage rack and made a bed for us. It was comfortable and cozy , he was my hero.
Arrival up North was not a pleasant affair. My new stepmother greeted us with a look on her face that looked like someone was holding a dog turd under her nose. I knew we were not welcome. I found out that my Grandmother was ill and was soon to die. It was a sad day. And then things got worse. My brother died while getting his tonsils out.

So off to boarding school for me ..... turned out to be a pleasant experience even though we had to go to Chapel every day and we wore uniforms. The Brotherhood of St Barnabas. We were nearly self sufficient with our small dairy and hog pens.We had about six horses and we all learned to ride. We rotated through a roster of milker , hog slopper, choir and the most hated, that of server. We had to dress up in little frilly gowns and gong a bloody bell at the appropriate time during the latin moaning of the monks.
Boy Scouts was a hoot as they trucked us to Magnetic Island where we had a bay to ourselves. Fishing, surfing, war games ...life was fun and I had a lot of friends.
For school holidays, I would talk someone into taking me home with them ... I hated my home.
So I got to go stay on cattle and sheep ranches and hunting and adventure.
I was also at the top of the class in Grade Ten. Another bombshell. My Dad couldn't afford more boarding school but had arranged a job for me in a bank. Well ! Shit! How long do you think I lasted there...coming to work with black eyes from Rugby and floozies phoning all the time and stalking my gorgeous frame.
I find out now that my Dad is putting himself through Med School.... I'm on my own.
So here I am in the Army. I was bartering my own judgement for the pleasure of being surrounded by comrades.I graduated as a second Lieutenant and while all the graduates had their rank pinned on at the Gala ball, usually by girlfriend, wife or mother, I was pinned by a floozie.

The war in Vietnam had taken some dangerous turns and was not going well for the US and we knew it. Australia wanted out and it took a change of government to do it, but it was a slow process. We were now bored and we flew so seldom that we usually went a little crazy given the oppurtunity. We were the masters of low flying, especially at night. These dangerous tactics were never used in combat.

I had the old One Eighty flat out as I skimmed the surface of the Hawksbury River. I approached Dangar Island so time to pull up...and I did. WHAP!WHAP! Also a spongy jolt that nearly put me through the winshield... SPARKS...it lurched drunkenly as I struggled for control....it was still flying so I struggled back to base. The prop had hit one wire and then it burned a scar under the fuselage, another wire had hit the tire and slid up the strut before breaking and the third took the top of the tail off.
I had a feeling there would be some paperwork coming my way.

More to follow....over


Duke Elegant

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 260 Posted: 2003-04-12 18:41

Other pilots had had similar infractions and the punishment usually consisted of a loss of seniority. That's pretty savage when you are already at the bottom of the officer ranks with a war shutting down.

I could have legal council but I opted for an Army Lawyer who stunk of gin and whose eyes were way too close together. He was a moron....perfect.

I was marched in by Lt Tub Matheson and I laid my sword on the table in front of two majors, two colonels and a General, The Judge Advocate General in fact. They all had the big red noses earned by years of Army service.

I recognized one of the colonels ... The Beekeeper we called him. He could often be seen crouching on the lawn with a magnifying glass bleating "It's one of mine... one of mine." He raised bees. He was ugly too. His ears looked like wingnuts and I had seen better hair on bacon.
I stood ramrod straight at attention in all my splendour.

"Wootenant, you have been charged with conduct contoowary to good order and militawy discipwin..in that you wied in the wogbook of your aircwaft ... birdstwike you say...pweposterous suh, how do you pweed, suh?
Tub knew it was coming and out of the corner of my eye I caught his wry smile. I paused..then
Says I
"Well you see sir, this little bird was sitting in this power line , see ..."
Some officers had trouble choking back but the beekeeper was furious.. it was known I had done impressions of him at the mess much to everyones delight.

You, suh, are to be dismissed from the Armed Forces .... and so on.
It turned out that they accepted my resignation so I got all my pension back with which I bought a Jaguar and went surfing and mowing lawns for a year.
I was yet to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.


Howlin' Mad Murdock

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 4
From: hell and back again...
Posted: 2003-04-13 02:17
Duke - thankyou. Thankyou for inspiring us, entertaining us, and reminding us of the savage beauty of life. You have a wonderful way of weaving a story that makes this thread my personal favorite. I salute you for your courage, and admire that in the face af adversity you have chosen not only to overcome it, but to do so smiling - sharing with us some very personal stories of better or at least crazier days.
I hope that as you take these trips down memory lane, it gives you the inspiration, the energy, and the great big smile that you bring to all of us who admire you so.
Once you're back up to full speed, which I pray is soon, I want to be the first to place an order for the book you're going to write.

In the words of another great man, Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell... keep going."

Godspeed, Duke.



Joined: Jul 14, 2002
Posts: 73 Posted: 2003-04-13 05:43

I enjoy your stories Duke, and wish you all the best. I laughed out loud at the description of your grandma with a turd under her nose, and smiled when you spoke of your gorgeous frame. Does that make me a poof? No, of course not.


[ This Message was edited by: 182driver on 2003-04-13 05:59 ]

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