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Over the Rainbow by former RAAF pilot Ron Raymond

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Over the Rainbow by former RAAF pilot Ron Raymond

Old 24th Aug 2019, 12:16
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Over the Rainbow by former RAAF pilot Ron Raymond

.This thread is "borrowed" from the PPRuNe Australian GA and Questions Forum. I hope the Mods concerned will allow this through to the keeper. But judging by the paucity of comments on that forum it seems there was no interest.

That may be because the book concerned was primarily about the author's RAAF military flying experience both in Australia and in the Vietnam war. His book is called "Over the Rainbow" and the author is Ron Raymond. We served on the same squadron in the RAAF, flying Lincoln bombers from Townsville in Queensland the 1950's. For those who have never heard of the type, the Lincoln was the bigger version of the wartime Lancaster. Ron is 87 now and lives in New Zealand . It is an enthralling book indeed; especially his recollections of flying the Lincoln Mk 31 long nose version and his operational flying of the DH Caribou in the Vietnam war. His descriptions of a few scary moments struck a chord with me as I had been in similar predicaments and I can assure Ron's stories run true. His writing is full of wonderful self deprecating humour tinged on occasions with a touch of sadness.

There was one story, the ending of which reduced me to tears. Edited for brevity here, there had been a train smash in the Atherton Tablelands behind Cairns - the engine jumped the rails and the fireman had finished up partially in the firebox: the poor fellow was in a very serious way indeed. The SAR Lincoln flown by Ron was sent from Townsville to Cairns as there was a real urgency to transport the fireman to proper care in Brisbane. In Ron's words "We submitted our flight plan, kicked the tyres, lit the fires and launched for Cairns where I found, to my dismay, that the patient and his young wife would be accommodated behind the mid upper gun turret on a stretcher. I had hoped to accommodate them in the nose of the Lincoln along with a medical nurse - somewhere a little more comfortable and less remote. The poor chap seemed to have only two chances of survival, Buckley's and none, so that said we took off into the wild black yonder"

Ron describes the flight from Cairns to Brisbane.with the sky smooth but moonless. "The tricky part came approaching Brisbane with a layer of stratus cloud below and a flock of airliners above, all unable to descend until everybody knew exactly where we were. I could blame the river for wispy ground mist, or it may have been the humidity and evening cooling, or I might have simply misjudged the flare height. Whatever it was, it resulted in the worst Lincoln landing I ever made. The aeroplane fell onto the runway like a bag of bricks, bounced once, ran out of inertia and fell again - fell being the operative word - at which point the gymnastics involved in keeping the aeroplane somewhere near the runway centerline began, a problem attributable to inability to see the centerline over the nose. I judged our progress by watching my side of the runway though the storm window, but at night, I only had the occasional flare flicking past.

We finally found a parking spot courtesy of a 'Follow me' truck and the bomb aimer's guidance

."Steady at that skipper."
"Right hand down a bit."
"A left turn coming up."
"Looking good."
After shutting down the engines, I made my way back to the patient as he was being removed though the Lincoln rear door. The prognosis looked grim and I could see his lady quietly weeping. I asked if she was all right, if she had anywhere to stay in the city, if we could be of any help? She smiled a faint, sad smile, shook her head and rummaged in her bag before offering me a five-pound note for flying them to Brisbane. I must admit to feeling a bit choked up at that - they could have hardly been defined as 'wealthy.'
I never saw her again after that; however I learnt her husband died in hospital shortly after the flight. Of course, money was out of the question for more reasons than simply having done what we were paid to do."

Centaurus back again. I am half-way though Ron's book and would recommend it to anyone who flew in the Fifties.

Also, military readers of PPRuNe may like: https://airfactsjournal.com/author/johnlaming/

Centaurus is offline  
Old 25th Aug 2019, 11:34
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Must remember not to read such accounts in a dusty room.
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Old 25th Aug 2019, 12:11
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Originally Posted by AnglianAV8R View Post
Must remember not to read such accounts in a dusty room.
Me also. I am sitting outside but it gets a bit dusty here.
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Old 25th Aug 2019, 19:58
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Reading it on your recommendation. Not far into it but a very enjoyable read.
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Old 25th Aug 2019, 20:41
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Ordered it from the bay of e, and looking forward to reading it.
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 10:45
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Must remember not to read such accounts in a dusty room.
Sorry chaps. Comment a bit too cryptic for this reader. WTF is this "dusty room" thingie. Sounds intriguing.
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 13:17
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poetic for being brought to tears, as would happen in a very dusty room/atmosphere.......
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 17:37
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Read on the Kindle app on my tablet. Different but very interesting. Recommended.

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