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RACNSW in 'De Good Ole Days'....

Old 23rd Feb 2012, 12:49
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Good ole days at the Royal at Banstown

Remember Ken Hammond, the Manager of the Royal and the friendly office staff in the early 1960's. The other end of the building was the Instructor's 'Den' with all sorts of stories from there.

Tmb
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 13:09
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If I remember....Ken went off to manage "Helicopter Utilities" if I've got that right...

"Thermalling" in a Cherokee.....just CANNOT imagine that.....
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Old 24th Feb 2012, 00:37
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Another name, Jack Zappertal, (spelling), comes to mind. He was capable of doing some peculiar things with the PA28.
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Old 26th Feb 2012, 02:50
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Folks,
Interesting memories: I did my AU CPL test with Curly (Curlewis, that is) --- a bit of a culture shock.

Previously, my only experience of "the men from the Ministry" was at Stanstead, UK. Said men from the Ministry were kitted out in the same uniform as a BOAC Captain--- they actually were supplied by the BOAC uniform store, only the hat badge and wings were different.

So, to me, a bloke looking like a WWI naval captain was the norm for an Examiner of Airmen--- then Tom turned up at the RACNSW flight hut, wearing a paint spattered green jumper and well worn cords, complimented with a decrepit pair of brothel creepers --- desert boots to those of you of tender and sensitive disposition.

Looked like he had been painting the house, accounted for by the fact he had been painting the house ----- and loudly announced: "Where's today's victim" ---- not a great confidence booster.

I realized I had past, only when, walking into the office on conclusion, he again announced to all and sundry: "I supposed young XXXX won't fxxking kill anybody" ----- a reasonable guess, I haven't.

It was the "good old days", all the Examiners were people, for whom we all had respect, we knew their foibles ---- they were all "firm but fair".

----- there are many of today's FOIs who are certainly not fair, too many of them have a very aggressive ( not Tom's mock aggressive) attitude, generally to mask their lack of aviation experience and often lack of quite basic aeronautical knowledge, let alone the advanced level of knowledge and understanding that should be a necessary qualification for an FOI --- and can't fly to save their lives ( I was going to say something somewhat less complimentary.)

It is worth looking up the FAA minimum qualifications to even apply for an inspector's job, then look up the FAA induction training --- then look up all the info. you can find about the most recent ICAO and FAA audits of CASA ---- the problem is there for all to see.

Tootle pip!!

PS: Looking through Frank's list, it is a sobering thought that so many died in accidents, and not of other natural, if self induced, causes.
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Old 26th Feb 2012, 12:29
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I am sure that if we were to start a thread on the big aero clubs at AF, MB and PF we would get much the same. Maybe we should?

Laurie Macpherson was the CFI/Manager at RVAC in the 60's then went to BK for a while. Lost track of him there, but understand he was manager for some years. He did my PPL test at RVAC in 65. Back then John Bally CFI, then Bill Cambell-Hicks. John went to DCA in Bris I understand.

It was the introduction of DUI rules that killed many of the aero clubs, especially in the big smoke when many folk had some distance to drive (ie north shore) it just was not worth it. I seem to recall that my Morris Minor of the day had 'seemless' gear changes when going home for some reason!!
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Old 26th Feb 2012, 13:03
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My 'trusty steed' of the time was a Morris 8HP 'Ute', & although it was 'ancient' then, it was very dependable, and got me up the Marion St hill to BK every time it was asked to...

There was a club aero champion at the time who, on returning from the trng area in his Modified (I think) Chippy, did a low roll right in front of the boys in the 'old tower', (29R..?) landed, and scarpered. He was USA bound for a job.

However....Murphy's Law, he was back not too long after, and was invited to 'tea and bikkies' at Waverton, the DCA office at the time.
So I heard....he will know who he is if he reads these pages.....

I could be wrong, but......
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Old 26th Feb 2012, 13:53
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The RAC Bankstown Night Flying incident in C310 and Black Charlie

I remember the night of the incident, the discussion went on for a long time at the bar, lessons were learned

Tmb
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Old 26th Feb 2012, 23:02
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Shades of Eric Greathead beating the place up in the Sea Fury, then running out of fuel just after clearing 11/29.
It was a great view out Russ Evans window at Balls Head Rd,. Waverton.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 26th Feb 2012, 23:12
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Some snippets circa 1962:
I was a Balmain RL fan - lady in the office was married to Peter Provan brother of Norm playing second row for the Tigers at the time,
young American instructor married to an Oz girl got called up to the USN and in 1966 was an instructor of mine at Pensacola - overjoyed when posted to Skyraiders and Viet Nam,
Arthur Kell DFC killed in a Chippie that wouldn't come out of spin - two bob bit jammed under pole - couldn't get full forward stick - interestingly a mate and I with still wet military wings couldn't get one out of a spin on the first attempt - often wonder whether it was the same aircraft, and
leather helmets, old green RAAF cotton flying suits and unique Pommy aircraft smell - years later discovered that a Wessex helicopter smelt the same!
GAGS
E86
PS In 1966 I did flight grading in Chippies at RVAC - my instructor was Roy Goon instructor of Bluey Truscott who could do everything well except land!
PPS The other thing in common between the Chippie and Wessex was throat mikes!!

Last edited by eagle 86; 26th Feb 2012 at 23:31.
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 00:45
  #30 (permalink)  
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Mr Evans, now there is a gentleman.
Great friend of Ray McLean, and a very 'firm but fair' DCA man of the time.
Great sense of humour....
I do remember his "I wanna see you'...at the RACNSW Bar one Friday night....was something to be concerned about.
Ended well.

If you ever read these pages Mr Evans, I sincerely wish you well.

Cheers
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 05:58
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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I was Royal Vic, but my father and uncle were in the Royal NSW in the thirties. Left the old man’s scuffed and worn leather flying jacket with the oxidised gold braid RANSW wings at a girlfriend’s place when I moved to another city and then we broke up. Never saw the relic that had flown thousands of hours in NSW and New Guinea again … bugger it.
The thing for us fifties and early sixties students was the calibre of the instructors.
Laurie Mc Pherson went with me on my pre-solo check and exuded experience. I was thrilled that ‘he actually let me fly with him’ and avidly listen to his advice.
Many instructors were ex-fighter pilots who had flown for their very lives and heard their aeroplanes creak and groan as they hovered in grey-out or pink-out, knowing not to yank or shove the controls any more or the bloke behind him's bullets would be smacking home.
They knew just how far you could get to the edge of the flight envelope before losing it and they flew there often, eg. ‘Jack above, who could do some peculiar things with a PA 28.’
There was a certain military (real one) atmosphere in the aero clubs which were air force huts anyway. Today's golden bars and student uniforms don't seem to cut the mustard. The military chain of command and earned respect was natural and seeped down from the CFI in most of the established aero clubs.
Royal Vic had all the fleet lined up in place at 10 AM and 2 PM when the grey Mobil truck moved along the line at the rate of today's peak hour traffic. Tarmac terriers leaping up onto the Tiger Moth reinforced black painted cowl to top up the tank at lightning speed or darting round the Chippy’s noses to fill the wing tanks.
For most of us, there was the long walk from the tram or bus stop… who had the money for a car? Cars for young blokes, was still off in the future.
Trying to listen in to the instructors in their den and what they were talking about.
Ashtrays stinking out the briefing rooms.
Terrier on the wing tip as you taxiied off the bitumen parking area, looking for a flashing green from the tower.
Promotion from the Tiger to a Chippy with the great big flight ground switch to power up the ship with electricity. Brakes, flaps... a five channel wireless set, headphones (no leather helmet and leaning forward to bung ya gob over the squashed Gosport tube funnel to talk.
No head in front of you, TWO fuel tanks ... hell a real complicated cockpit now.
But you didn’t need to be trussed up in leather to keep some of the cold out… you were INSIDE with Perspex all around and above you. The wind hissed past as you flew if you lifted up your head phones and the rain stuck to the windscreen at glide speed, making it difficult to see out, so you needed to side slip with power on to blow it away.

Looking inside the C172 or Tri-pacer with just lap straps and seeing the huge three band, medium frequency RADIO COMPASS dial in the middle and six inch square black panels for very high frequency wireless and high frequency sets beside it and a fishing reel in the ceiling with the trailing aerial wound on and a miniature windsock hanging under the belly making the aeroplane appear to be a boy ... lines of switches and lots of instruments… frightening!

Being out in the training area and having a good squiz around to see if there was any one else to witness your couple of flops off the top of an oval loop or a try at a roll, before returning home from spin and stall practice. The instructors had done a couple to overcome their boredom or exasperation at our ham fisted flying when out in the aero area ‘just showing us one.’
Remember the sudden smell of the earth again when you descended through the winter inversion after climbing up to seven grand to do spin and stall practice in the Tiger Moth.
There’d be the forgotten aroma of coal smoke, eucalyptus leaves and wattle that hadn’t gotten up into the clean air you’d been in, as you entered the brown murk and could finally make out the aerodrome off in front of you as you glided down homewards.
The dirt from the Chippy’s floor rushing up past your face, maybe getting in your eye, to stick to the canopy with a hiss of a marimba when your bum had air under it and the straps pressed hard into your shoulders.
Funny how this fear of stalls and spins crept in from instructor to instructor after the Chippy and Tiger Moths were sold off and club members flew in suits or at least a long sleeve, white shirt and tie inside cabin monoplanes with heaters. No thousand buck head phones in them… We listened to the speaker in the ceiling.
Today’s noise attenuated headsets won’t stop the continuous cicada’s screech inside older pilot’s heads, because they will have stuffed up THEIR cillas with their MP3 players jammed into their ears.
Dubbo, Wagga, Charleville… Longreach aeradio … not just Melbourne or Brisbane Centre then … blokes like FSO Griffo who knew their area implicitly and could help us out with their real local knowledge.
Chippies were responsible for this nowadays silly fear of stalls in my opinion, as many landed up as balls of twisted metal and strips of flapping fabric returning to the aerodrome on the back of trucks. Pilots pushing the stick real hard, but not hard enough to MOVE it forward and get out of the spin that got flatter and flatter the more they went round and round. Remember Chippy spins … howling nose down spiral dive initially, then BOP, the sudden nose rising as she settled into the spin, then the half, or was it one and a half, turns waiting for her to recover. Tiger Moths however, went in and out of spins with a vengeance… sudden and positive.
Going in … whoosh … the sudden being upside down and then nose pointing straight down for a moment… “Whaaa happened?”
A good sideslip where you got an abrupt wack in the side of the face with the frigid airflow… always glide approaches and the embarrassment of being heard trickling on some power because you misjudged when to close the throttle on base.
RVAC could be pretty frightening when Bally and Rossier started a screaming match behind the instructors counter and we students quaked on the other side not game to look at each other for fear of smirking and getting caught at it.
Bally going at Rossier in his Chermann accent… Rossier attacking in his Hungaarrrian one. ‘They hated each other.’ …‘Different sides during the war’ was the reported reason amongst us plebs. Rossier snapping at you, “Turn your mike off” and the fumbling with the silly little switch on the front of it which was way out in front of your face, to be able to be heard answering him. He knew the background noise from your mike made it harder to understand him with his awful accent. He’d be yelling at you from behind, because you’d forget to turn the mike on when answering and he didn’t know if you were ignoring him. Your head was within easy punching distance, if instructors needed to let you know his voice was one of the many coming through the phones and you missed what he was saying as you struggled with some manoeuvre.
A sudden punch in the back of the scone accompanied by, “I’m talking to you ….CLOT!” got your attention. Potts forgets that he did that to me. Denied it when we flew together years later in the nine and I told him the story… “I remember the day we….”
We students told each other Bally was a Stuka pilot and wondered how the enemy got a job in an Aussie aero club.
We respected nearly all the instructors because we knew they could really fly, even the C grades.
Never ascertained if the stories were true or not.
Like the RNSW, the Royal Vic had a cook/maid/housekeeper in the dining room (ours was a fussy, motherly, little widow lady) and there were pictures of Kingsford-Smith and old aeroplanes on the ‘Government green’ painted masonite walls, Leading off it was a hall with bedrooms off it for pilots staying the night.
There was respect for those with more experience and humility at our few hours and minimum knowledge. We knew our place. Not too much strutting around tarmacs with the same image in OUR heads that our mums have of their precious boy who’s dad’s are paying for the full time degree .
Funnily … most of us lament that we were ten years too late getting into flying. My father said the same and he started in 1937.
Grass is always greener?
It sure WAS.
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 06:16
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Eagle 86. I remember the report in the crash comic and that two bob bit just happened to roll into the wrong place at the wrong time.
I got the sole of my shoe jammed inbetween the rudder pedal and the overlap of the aly sheeting on the side wall once had had to push with the other foor to release it before I could get full rudder. I also did ten inadvertent extra spins once because I wqas pushing with maybe twenty four pounds of pressure not twenty six, so tyhe pole hadn't moved forward till I looked.
The green flying suit... yes weren't you Biggles when you got one of THEM. I sppose the lads feel the same when they get their golden wings and one gold bar to denote they're a student now.
Most old aeroplanes had their smell. DC-3 can get ya eyes watering after a long absence. TAAs Convairs, Dovers, Dragons all had their own smell as does the Tiger Moth and Chippie.
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 09:00
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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The Chipmunk involved in Arthur Kell's Accident

Eagle 86:

The chipmunk involved in the accident was VH-FTA, the same aircraft that I used to instruct on. In those days Instructors were allocated to certain aircraft.

Tmb
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 09:17
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Enjoyed your post #31

sixtiesrelic:

Good post and enjoyed the read, talking about dirt coming up off the floor, in those days we used oxygen masks with no oxygen but the microphone was in the mask. The instructor sat in the rear seat and on occasions when doing aerobatics or the weather was rough, some students would get airsick and vomit. The sight of it coming out of the sides of the mask were not the best and the feel of it not good either.

Great days.

Tmb
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 11:25
  #35 (permalink)  
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G'Day Mr T,
Fast forward to a 'few' years later....

i was in the 'Wheatbelt' of WA instructing in 'Chippies', once again in RSK, and the student of the time felt a bit...*#@!!, and so he did 'it' out to the port side, whilst I 'cringed' to the stbd.

Then, he CHANGED SIDES, and I 'wore it'!!

ON landing, I reminded him that it was HIS responsibility to let me know if HE had had a 'rough night' the night before,....and it was HIS job to hose the aeroplane down...I hosed myself down thankyou very much....

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Old 27th Feb 2012, 12:59
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Folks,
Russ Evans is still alive and well, sharp as a tack ---- and still flying, I was speaking to him only several months ago.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 18:38
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Thank you old relique . .. . your Royal Vic reminiscences have brought back similar fond memories of salad days at the RAC of NSW. While Griffo who kicked all this off did say there are some stories better left unsaid, there is on the other hand the argument that once the subjects are with us no longer . . .. then social history is better served by describing what is recalled first hand. . . whether or not readers choose to regard such as 'nice' or scurrilous. Sanitised is simply not fair to the memory of red-blooded men who in one way or another made their mark. And deserve to be remembered as such.

We should not seek to to libel the dead . .. . . so much as put some metaphorical meat back on their bones.

When Bankstown still retained some of the flavour of it's formative years as primarily a military airfield, the clubhouse (long gone), hugging as it did the NW slopes of the aerodrome - all glass fronted with panoramic views across the field to Milperra Road - had nestling behind it a large hut. This was a wartime barrack building equipped with toilets and showers unchanged since the war. The rooms were tiny, fitted out with their no doubt original saggy iron framed beds, the mattresses stuffed with horse hair, the pillows filled with some stale smelling lumpy flocky stuff. Blankets - grey - troops for the use of. An evening of propping up the bar in company with some of the club's senior members was usually followed by wending a weavy way to the sack at closing time. A tricky little nav ex to be sure.

Much could be gleaned listening to these older members, most of whom flew in the RAAF - fighters, bombers or Tigershmitt trainers. As round followed round the stories became racier, raunchier, the laughter louder and longer. One night, well past the witching hour, I woke to the sound of singing coming from the other bed in the tiny room in the bunkhouse. The faint light from the passageway revealed one 'Blackjack' Walker lying there propped up on one elbow alternately swigging from his rum bottle and breaking into verse after verse of 'Eskimo Nell', followed by snatches of wartime ditties, songs of the Wirraway and the Beaufort. Maybe that was the same night on which earlier a young instructor who worked on the aerodrome was sitting outside the bar on the steps with his beer and a smoke. Blackjack walked up the steps from the dunnies underneath the building. 'Pardon me Brian' said the young blade - 'Could I get you to sign my logbook sometime?'

'What the f . . . for young fella. We've not flown together have we?'

'No sir. But one day when when I'm an old man, with what hair I have left as
white as snow like yours, I can look at your moniker and I'll say "Yep . . . he must have existed. He wasn't a figment, a legend, full of the most improbable stories I've ever heard." '.

Another Second World War veteran with a prediction for the rum was Chris Braund, a stammerer of
some distinction. It was he who introduced me to 'Inner Circle', a bottle of which he was never without on his many and varied sorties and peregrinations across Australia and New Guinea. We'd lobbed into
Roche's Albion Hotel in Parker Street Cootamundra at around one a.m.. 'See you in the morning Chris.'

'Ah . . ah . . d.d. don't turn in yet. We m.must have a l.little night cap.'

Among the more dedicated of drinkers (well pisspots - to be honest) frequenting the old aero club bar was a short tubby man with an incredible capacity for beer. Thomas A Long known to his intimates as 'Fat Cat'. The more he put away the more droll and scathing became his tongue. He put you in mind of John Norton, original proprietor of Sydney's TRUTH newpaper. A more lurid, lucid and locquacious man never made his mark in the old town. (He also excelled at alliteration.)

Stories Tom told of his chequered past sometimes beggared belief. Could he really piss out of the little side window of a 310 without injury or blow back? Was he really sacked by QF as a new SO for putting his dick through a hole he'd cut in his plastic lunch plate, then covering it with a lettuce leaf, then ringing for the hostie so as to ask her if she thought the meat was off?

Tom had the baleful eye of the lapsed catholic and the trenchant turn of phrase that goes with it. He claimed he'd been a novitiate at Saint Pat's at Manly, that imposing stone seminary occupying large grounds up the hill from the harbour. The story went they'd expelled him for pimping. He said that he was an agent for the night services of a prostitute who hawked the fork up in the bushes behind St Pat's.
That he was also a supplier of liquor and smokes to any of the young lads who were intent upon the road to purgatory. He said how else could he find the money to pay for his flying lessons.

Little wonder that further down the track, Tom's kidney's packed it in. At any rate he was down to one by the late sixties. Somehow he managed to retain his medical, being rarely deemed unfit by Farmy Joseph, his medico in Wagga. An indelible memory is that of seeing him pull up outside the hangar at Coota one morning in one of the company's 310s. Shutting down, he climbed out and walked with grim determination into our little flight office cum rest room. Obviously in extreme pain from renal cholic (kidney stones), he'd administer his own morphine.

In the Flight Service Unit at Wagga early one morning he'd collapsed at the table where he was filling in his flight plan. And he had such a morbid sense of humour too. If ever asked 'Is you father still alive?' he'd reply 'No! He's still dead.'

The RAC of NSW instructor who had the misfortune to have 'Fantome' as his pupil was the aforementioned Arthur Kell. Arthur had been a skipper on Lancs with 617 SQN. He'd missed the dams raid but he had won a gong for dropping a Tallboy on the Tirpitz up a Norwegian fiord one night. After the war he flew in Transport Command - Brittannias. Arthur's funeral service at St Phillips in Macquarie Street was conducted by the Rev Gordon Powell, a well known former RAAF padre who wrote a book on his wartime service in the RAAF in the Pacific attached to a Beaufighter squadron.

Poor Arthur and his pupil (Sorenson?) The loose coin had found it's way into the arse end of their Chippy, jamming in an elevator pully. The score marks on the coin proved that. And so it goes.

Afterthought on the club's really early days at Mascot. Among it's many notable members was Emile Mercier. He was one of Sydney and Australia's great cartoonists. His cover illustrations for the club's magazine FLYING in NSW were all very droll. Very artistic. It would be a pleasant exercise today to look over a set of those journals. When the club folded most of it's archive may well have gone to the tip.
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 21:58
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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As late as July 1992 the rooms at the back were marginally active despite the state of the ablutions block. Mate and I stayed there and the beds were as mentioned of the coir coconut or horse hair variety.

It must have closed after that date in my logbook. (27th July).
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Old 27th Feb 2012, 23:32
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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TMBStory,
Interesting - FTA was my favourite - shall consult my log book - more than likely it was the aircraft my mate and I were in when it was reluctant to come out of the spin.
GAGS
E86
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Old 28th Feb 2012, 00:01
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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And remember the files RACNSW instructors keep on DCA examiners which indicated their favourite subjects for instructor rating renewals. Surprised nobody has mentioned Spike Jennings, plenty of wisdom there! The collective experience of instructors in the mid 60s ( ex military, ex and current airline as well as experienced GA guys) makes the present crop of instructors look underdone.
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