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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 31st May 2010, 07:47
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Best news for a long time.
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Old 31st May 2010, 12:40
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Suspense

Great to see you back Reg - but I hate suspenses. Please lets have the rest!

ACW
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Old 31st May 2010, 13:30
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Perhaps he corkscrewed the aircraft?
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Old 1st Jun 2010, 09:22
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Regle - Master story-teller - please continue!

Not even Herge's "Adventures of Tintin" could compete with this thread! Regle, are you certain you were not his ghost-writer?

MB
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Old 1st Jun 2010, 12:14
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regle
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To you all. Thank you

Just to let you all know that I am summoning up energy to continue and hope to keep up the suspense with a further instalment very soon. I can tell you that the waiting will not seem half as long as it was on board the aeroplane. Thank you for all the very flattering comments. I really appreciate it. I am still in a sort of limbo awaiting results, Reg
 
Old 1st Jun 2010, 20:16
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regle
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The time has come...

.......the Walrus said, "to talk of many things; of ships and shoes and sealing wax, of hi-jacking and things". First of all, Madbob , Herge indeed, ! I was fortunate enough to inherit the mentor of Alistair Cook. Alistair Cook was the "Voice of America" and made broadcasting an art with his simple" man to man "method of his weekly news from America. I went to the same Blackpool Grammar school but many years after him and his Tutor, Bill Curnow, never tired of extolling the virtues of his erstwhile pupil. What has always stuck in my mind was his advice to us all "When writing, try to imagine that you are in a cosy study and have just finished a splendid meal and you are having an interesting discussion with your best friend then just let your pen flow ." I can't always vouch for the splendid meal and my study is what my late wife, Dora, always called the "Glory Hole" but I do my best. So here goes.... Lod is a small village and was the old name for the airport at Tel Aviv, now named Ben Gurion ,after the first Prime Minister of Israel. " We are going to Lod" I said and incongruously the current joke flashed through my mind about the American on a flight to Miami who had hijacked the plane and said "you got to Miami" because the last three flights he had been on had finished up in Cuba. A tattered page from "Jeppeson" with an approach map to Tel Aviv was thrust in my hand. "Yes , I am going to Lod" I kept repeating and this seemed to please them because they began to search for the pin from the grenade which the younger of the two was still holding very firmly. During this time the First officer managed to get a message to an Air France aircraft that we had been hijacked. When the Air France tried to call us up a Swissair plane quickly cut in and said that the message had been received and understood and that base would be informed.

I managed to calm the man holding the pistol to my head and pointed out the danger of the grenade to us all. The younger man holding the grenade was obviously complaining, in Arabic, that his hand was very tired of holding the lever against the pressure of the spring. Despite a frantic search it was never found and eventually our Flight Engineer found some strong wire in his tool box and, under tremendous stress ,meticulously bound it around the grenade and the lever , slowly withdrawing the fingers one at a time. I did my utmost, later, to get his bravery and skill recognised but it was a hopeless task. No one seemed to want to even believe it possible.

The two men were very different in appearance and character. The eldest, the man holding the pistol to my head, was in his mid thirties , seemed more moderate and open to reasoning. He opened the chamber to show me that the pistol was loaded. They both spoke English badly but French reasonably so that was the language that was used. We had in the cockpit the Chief Flight Engineer who was checking our Flight Engineer. He, as it happened spoke Arabic fluently and was foolish enough to let them know this and was promptly bundled out of the cockpit to the back of the plane. He could have been of invaluable assistance to me had he kept quiet.

Soon two young , good looking girls came into the cockpit. Sure enough, one of them was the pretty girl who had flashed a smile to me at Brussels. At the command of the eldest man , they opened the tops of their blouses to show me the two bare wires protruding. In mock display they mimed the result of touching the two wires together and I could see batteries stuck in their brassieres. They opened two Samsonite beauty cases and lifted the tray to show plastic bags taped below. We learned later that the bags contained Semtex and that it was the first time that it had been put to such a use in a Hijack. ( Yes ,Gypsy, corkscrewing had flashed through my mind but was rapidly discarded with all the possibilities that could happen in mind).

I seemed to be seeing the whole scenario as though my mind had detached itself from my body and I was looking at the cockpit from above.. I had even said to myself " I am responsible for the lives of everyone on board and these people are not going to get away with this so don't do anything foolish. Think, think, think. !
I reasoned to myself that the message to Brussels would be rapidly passed to Israel and that the longer that the flight took, the better prepared would be the ground authorities and the Defence forces that I knew would be summoned. My heart had sunk when I heard the demand to go to Israel as I knew that I was dealing with a suicide mission. The Israelis, I knew ,would never surrender to blackmail. Had another country been selected there would have been room for negotiation. I therefore throttled back the aeroplane as much as I could and reduced the speed to the bare minimum to make the flight take as long as possible. I soon realised that neither of the men had any technical knowledge and we were able to switch our transponder to the international code for an aircraft "not under it's own control" as the textbook euphemistically put it. Unfortunately most of the territory from thereon was not, at that time, controlled by radar so we could not be picked up until much nearer Israel.

And there I must leave you again until the next instalment. Writing this down again and reliving it is a very wearing task as I am sure that you will realise and forgive me for taking so long but I must take my time.
Regle
 
Old 2nd Jun 2010, 05:51
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Not going to steal your thunder Reg, but glad to see you got your cap back. A most interesting life, one you could dine out on for many a year. And look back on with great pride.
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Old 2nd Jun 2010, 08:34
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It must have been pretty boring flying in civil aviation after serving in WW2!
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Old 2nd Jun 2010, 12:36
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regle
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Hipper

Never a dull moment, Hipper.! Was that a sardonic comment on my thread ? It was certainly apt. I don't know which frightened me the most but I think that the war experience helped me cope with Civil Aviation's more scary moments and , believe me, there were many ! Regle
 
Old 3rd Jun 2010, 22:46
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regle
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More...

During the long flight that I had decided on (We took about thirty five minutes longer than normal )the mood of the two men changed every few minutes. For some unknown reason they would suddenly don ski masks and then, just as rapidly , discard them. The elder man found my gold braided cap and wore it declaring "I am the Commander of this aeroplane". At times they were friendly and reasonable and then something would trigger off a burst of rhetoric. The so called massacre by the Israelis at Dov Yassar was brought up several times. They had very little knowledge of aviation and aeroplanes but never left the cockpit unattended.. They also told me that they were members of "Black September". Although this meant nothing to me at the time, this was the military arm of the Al Fatah movement and had been named for the removal and massacre of the Al Fatah movement from Jordan by King Hussein in September 1970.

During a period when there was only one of them in the cockpit I managed to get a message, quietly spoken in English , to one of the Stewards that no one was to let it be known that my Wife was one of the passengers. They had allowed me to go to the toilet but I dared not look for her in case there was some inadvertent sign of recognition from one of us.

It was now dark and eventually the lights of Israel appeared in front of us. We crossed the coast and communication with the Israeli Control was brief and professional. No mention of the situation was made by either of us. I made as long an approach as I could and landed on the main runway towards the sea. "Continue to the end of the runway and park on the runway to the right" were the instructions that I was given.. The runway in question was well away from the terminal buildings and was parallel with the Tel Aviv- Jerusalem road on which we could see the lights of many stationary cars.

I am sorry but I keep getting signs of internet trouble so will try and post this while I can and continue at a later date... Reg
 
Old 3rd Jun 2010, 22:55
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You b*gger, you have no more internet trouble that I do helping my daughter with her A Level Maths revision. She's been warned too. Very flakey.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 10:27
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boguing,

Patience my friend.....give Regle a break, it's his story and he can tell it in his own time. If your curiosity can't wait you can Google Sabena Flight 572 and all will be revealed, but personally I am happy to wait and to hear the outcome "first hand" and in Reg's own inimitable style.

Keep up the good work Reg!

MB

Last edited by Madbob; 4th Jun 2010 at 12:19.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 11:23
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regle
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Madbob

Thanks for the helping hand and I can assure you that "You seem to be having problems with your internet,,,, etc," kept popping up and then asking for user name and password until I could'nt see what I was typing and got fed up. I do advise waiting as it is straight from the horse's mouth so to speak and waiting also might give you some idea of the suspense felt on board. I am coping and have an appointment next Tuesday at Canterbury to get those results. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful support and friendship. Reg

Last edited by regle; 4th Jun 2010 at 12:52.
 
Old 4th Jun 2010, 12:24
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Reg, Hoping all goes well on Tuesday with your results and you get a 'System checked - Satis' on your F700
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 14:50
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Regle,

You might want to try typing your memoirs in Word or some other Word processing software, then just cut and paste it into PPRuNe? Just a thought.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 23:10
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regle
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Into the Lion's den.

Right from the beginning I had felt nothing but a cold and bitter anger that my command had been threatened. I was concerned for one thing only and that was for my passengers. I had no wish to be embroiled in the bitter battle between The State of Israel and the Arabs who were bent upon it's destruction. I am British and despite my Jewish background ,had no connections or feelings whatsoever for Israel. I had no previous dealings with any Israelis and had only been to Tel Aviv once or twice before. Like any Airline Pilot, my responsibility was to my passengers and to Sabena , my employers. I was, from the start , determined that I was going to do everything within my power to stop the hijackers from succeeding and even if the positions were reversed and it had been Israeli hijackers, I would have acted in exactly the same way, whatever the nationality, religion, creed , faith,or what have you of them. I knew, within me, that however long the ordeal lasted that I would be in better shape than they. There were signs already that the two men were taking some sort of stimulants. Their erratic behaviour was a clue to this. Nevertheless the pistol, a Smith and Wesson , never left the hand of the leader and the other one remained an aggressive dangerous young man.

We were, of course, now on the aircraft's batteries and these would not last very long. The Tower asked for permission to connect an external generator for electricity and air conditioning but , fortunately , the leader refused to allow this. I say fortunately because I knew that the heat of the following day would cause great discomfort and perhaps I would be allowed to open some of the emergency exits and doors. This would have the twofold purpose of forcing them to to mount a guard over each exit thus splitting them up and also to possibly allow passengers to escape through them if the occasion arose. I must confess that the thought of an armed attack coming from the Israeli's had not then crossed my mind.

Unknown to any of us in the stationary plane a squad of Israeli commando's had been in position underneath the plane from the moment that it had stopped. There was a moment,soon after stopping, when the plane shook and moved and I explained to the very alarmed hijackers that we had probably stressed tyres on landing and had overheated the brakes causing the tyres to burst . Little did I know that the commando's had deflated the main gear and had cut the hydraulic lines making taxying impossible.

Occasionally , while speaking to the Tower, the microphone would be grabbed from me and the leader would speak in Arabic to the Tower in a very rapid, threatening manner. I had been forced to show the leader how to use the microphone but when I was speaking I was able to convey one or two things by judicious choice of words and sentences. For instance by stressing and repeating the word "For" in sentences I was able to indicate how many of the hijackers were on board. They made a lot of demands as to whether the Red Cross representative had been called and were told by the Israeli's that he had been notified but that he was coming from Jerusalem and it would take time to get there.

I didn't sleep at all during the night but my First Officer who had behaved impeccably througout and was very calm managed to and I envied his attitude. The two men took it in turns to keep the vigil in the cockpit and the two girls made single visits to the cockpit from time to time and received terse Arabic instructions from the eldest man. I had made it quite clear to them that I was going to speak to the passengers from time to time and I did so. I always reassured them that everything possible was being done to resolve the situation and counselled them to keep calm and not to try to intervene in any way. I did this in as calm a voice as I possibly could but it was very difficult as I was watched like a hawk each time that I spoke.

No catering was put on board although the Israeli's had been perfectly willing to do so. The Leader refused and I was very pleased that he had done so as I reasoned that the men themselves would become more and more fatigued if there was very little food or liquid on board.. It was, of course, very hard on the passengers as the provisions that had been put on board at Brussels were running very low and drinks had to be rationed. There were ninety nine passengers on board, the majority of them elderly people. There were several Nuns and a Greek Orthodox priest who came in for a two day prolonged interrogation by the Israeli's afterwards.. There had been no panic. People seemed numbed by the situation. There was only one child, travelling alone but accompanied by a Sabena stewardess who was travelling as a passenger. My Wife took the nine year old girl under her wing and sat her next to her. She turned out to be "an enfant terrible" and refused to share any of the large amount of sweets and goodies that her parents had given her for the trip. A very sinister aspect of the situation was when the men demanded the Passports of the passengers and segregated the Jewish names from the others. My Wife point blankly refused to surrender hers saying "I am British" and they let her sit on the port side of the aircraft just by the main entrance door..... More very soon. Reg
 
Old 4th Jun 2010, 23:22
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Regie, well worth the wait.

The daughter and I have a tacit agreement that, if there is a delay in a request for help on an A level Maths question, it is soley because I live so far from an exchange that my interweb is a little iffy.

Nothing whatsoever to do with loss of memory, familiarity or knowledge.

She humours me and I love her!

John
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Old 5th Jun 2010, 23:00
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A new day dawns...

As the sun began to warm the plane the heat became unbearable. My terrifying 50th. Birthday had come and gone and I decided to take matters into my own hands and saying "Do you want everyone on board to die ?" I strode out of the cockpit and released the two overwing emergency exit windows so that they fell out. This did not go down at all well with the two men but it was a " fait accompli ". They now had to keep the two girls near the wing exits and ,as they kept opening and shutting the main entrance door, one of them had to guard this leaving just one in the cockpit. Communication also became much more difficult between them as it meant one of them leaving their position to contact the others.

A new problem arose. Hundreds of curious Israelis had parked their cars along the main Tel Aviv - Jerusalem road that ran parallel to the runway to watch the "goings on " and, especially during the night, their lights and movements had unnerved our hijackers who swore that it was an IsraelI ruse to move troops into position. We had to insist to the Tower that they had to be moved and this was eventually done but it took a deliberately long time.

Despit their demand that the Airport be closed ,the Israelis kept it open. A poignant moment was when a Sabena 707 roared closely overhead. It was captained by John Deleu whose Wife, Monique , was one of the Stewardesses aboard our plane and he had been allowed to pilot the plane bringing the Sabena and Government officials from Belgium.

Up to now no demands had been made by the hijackers despite repeated requests from the Israelis. Suddenly the leader produced sheets and sheets of paper on which were written over three hundred names. They told me to tell the Israelis that these were the names of Palestinian prisoners in nearby Ramla prison and that they...and they named themselves as Black September.... would blow themselves and everyone on board the aircraft , up if their demands were not met
to release these men and to provide air transport to Cairo for them all. The Israelis kept playing for time saying that there was no one at the Airport who could possibly deal with such a demand and that it would take time to find responsible members of the Government. The two men became furious and one of them started screaming into the microphone. The younger one rushed out and returned with the two girls. The older one said something to them and I saw their faces turn white. They shook their heads but he was insistent. The girls began to cry and the men embraced them. I knew that they had decided to blow the aircraft up with everyone, including themselves, on board ; the younger man left the cockpit and I saw my opportunity. Whilst the other, who was holding the gun in the hand nearest to me , was looking at the girls, I grabbed his hand and bent it back to his body. His finger was on the trigger and I had my finger over it but he had his thumb pressed on the safety catch. and the gun could not fire. All this took only seconds and the younger man came running back into the cockpit, his face contorted with rage and beat me back into my seat. I was told, later , by my Wife that she could hear me crying out "You promised that no one would be hurt." and she became terribly worried for my safety. They began talking furiously and it was obvious that the younger one wanted to kill me there and then but the other one would not let him. What probaly saved my life was, at that moment the Control Tower called us up and told us that the Red Cross representative had arrived and wanted to talk to the hijackers. This completely defused the whole taut situation and the relief on their faces was plain to be seen. They had obviously been waiting for some message to be passed to them by the Red Cross-completely unknowingly, I hasten to add,- containing a code word passed by the Black September movement to the Red Cross which would innocently be included in the message. Fortunately, I learned afterwards ,Peter Dils, our ex Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot D.F.C., Operations Manager in Brussels, had thought of just such an eventuality and was adamant that only the Israelis should be allowed to speak to us. The Israelis stalled again and told us that the Red Cross representative was standing by but was not permitted to use the R/T. Once again the hijackers were furious. They were arguing amongst themselves when I tried a desperate move. To this day I do not know why I suggested it but I found myself saying. "It is obvious that the Israelis don't believe that you mean to blow up the plane. Why don't you let me go and persuade them to to negotiate with you as it is the lives of myself and my passengers that are at stake ?. " To my eternal amazement they agreed on the condition that the Red Cross would send their representative to collect me and bring me back. I could hear the disbelief in the voice of the Air traffic controller when the news was passed to him.
It is a good moment to stop and wonder to myself...... regle
 
Old 6th Jun 2010, 10:51
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I think you've stunned us all into silence, Reg..........
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Old 6th Jun 2010, 12:06
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.... glad to see you got your cap back
makes sense now Brian!
Now, how many Prime Ministers did you meet, Reg?
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