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NSW FSU's and the goold old days

Old 11th Jan 2013, 09:50
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NSW FSU's and the goold old days

NSW FSU’s were Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Wagga, Albury, Cooma ,Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands with Briefing Officesestablished at Tamworth, Canberra, for a short time at the International Terminal,and Bankstown Briefing.

All presided over by Sydney Flight Service Centre.

Dubbo FSU staff were Max Miller, Les Thompson, Fred Kluth,Alan Nutton, Alex Mackenzie and Dave Turnbull plus others at various times.Paul Phelan was there working for Davey Air Services, and reckoned that a boxof matches was worth 30nm on a WAC.

Among the staff at Wagga FSU were OIC Rex Shilton and PatChiswell. Rex had been around for years working long stints in places likeCloncurry and Camoweal, and the future boss of NSW, Dudley Reynolds, was up theroad at Karumba. Rex used to tell stories of the Qantas Lancastrians which flewfrom Sydney to Darwin and all the problems they encountered en-route.

Pat Chiswell was one of natures gentlemen and told storiesof International Charters of DC4 aircraft flying from Europe to Albury withYugoslavian refugees on board. He said the aircraft badly reeked of sick. (Atthis time Pat may have been at Holbrook Airadio…. Not sure)

Some people of interest I met in Southern NSW were JackMasling, Don Kendell and John Macknight.

Jack Masling was the area Cessna dealer and was involved incloud seeding throughout the state.

Story goes, that on one occasion a cloud seeding C310 landedat Cabramurra,in the Snowy Mountains, and had to be trucked out due lack ofstrip length. Maslings were one of the early Reg203 (Commuter) operators in NSWand his fleet included C402, C320,Queenair, Banderiante, Twin Otter and DC3.

The Masling pilots were always very professional, and mostof our dealings were over the phone , and we never met many in person. Anexception was Lane Morrow who always came to Wagga for a drink. Just forgettingthe aforementioned for a minute, therewas an occasion one night when a Twin Otter pilot called and said he had struckthe ground while conducting an approach at Cootamundra and would be divertingto Wagga. After touchdown, the aircraft left the runway , due to damageto the undercarriage. The Air Safetyboys were there at 8am the next morning!

Jack Masling also had a contract to deliver newspapers toMildura every Sunday morning. He would often do this flight himself in his ownC310 AER… departure time Cootamundra was 3am!

Every year, just a few days prior to Christmas, Jack wouldfly over to Wagga with a couple of cartons for the boys. Ask todays pilot who JackMasling was, and they would say “Jack who?”.

Speaking about Christmas I recall a BN3 being lost to the mountainsSW of CB just prior to Christmas one year. The pilot was the victim of a strong cold front movingthrough the area … quite unseasonal

Don Kendell, former Airline pilot and now a Air Charter and flight school operator atWagga had done his homework and decided to set up a Reg203 operation between Wagga andMelbourne.

First aircraft were PA31’s (DAP CLU) followed by Riley Heron(KAM CLW), then came the Metros, first one was KDR?, then the first SF34(EKD?) Some of the early staff whichhelped Don make this Airline a success, included engineer Bob Godwin, andpilots Max Langshaw, Bernie Hoitink (former NATO F104 pilot) John Smith andGordon Pickering, both ex RAAF.

Wagga also had a good of mix of MIL aircraft staying ondetachment or passing through.

Canberra ATC were always busy, but were a great bunch towork with.

Cooma FSU … didn’t workthere myself but would have been nice. Cold and busy in the winter with theFK28 and FK27 ops plus others comingdown for the snow. They also had some SMA activity

I remember the day when thePL6 hit the tower at Polo Flat

Could some old geiser starta thread on the SMA aircraft and or the Snowy airstrips!!??

Coffs Harbour … great placeto work prior to the tower. Plenty of F111 activity on the ranges. Favouritetime was the weekends, with all the lighties flying up/down the coast.

Albury.. did some reliefthere and encountered people such as Les Sears, Pieter Mol (Snr) Warren Wilks andJohn Love and his Lockheed 12A, and of course Joe Drage at Wodonga.

Norfolk Island was prettywell laid back, in contrast to Lord Howe who only had one officer, and he wasquite busy, with all the Oxley and Norfolk Airlines flights.

Norfolk had Daily flights toSY with EWA FK28, Airlines of NSW with FK28 flew twice weekly from Brisbane andAir New Zealand flew twice weekly fromAuckland using B737 200 series, Also agood mix of MIL aircraft from OZ and NZ. On one occasion a flight of 12 Miragesfrom Williamtown landed enrouteWilliamtown/NZ/Williamtown. Caused quite a stir. One pilot said that he had anengine malfunction, and that he would normally have ejected, but being over somuch water he decided to keep on trucking!! The RAAF did an engine change onthe tarmac.

My wife got a ride back toSY on the DCA FK28 and was left on the tarmac to find her own way out ofairside … no hi-vis vest either!

Meanwhile down in Aucklandthe French were scuttling the Rainbow Warrior. Two of the saboteurs fled toNorfolk in a small yacht. I think one jagged a flight to Noumea, but the othercame running into the FSU asking when was the next flight to SY. (He had justmissed it) I think this was the guy who the police were chasing through the SYstreets but he got away.

My favourite type of acft atNorfolk was the RAAF BAC111…. Made the FK28 look puny…. Might have been thecolour scheme or something.

I remember Russ Evanscalling in to briefing, he was flying a corporate jet.

When it was time to leave weflew to Sy on EWA FK28 under command of Captain Frank Owen and he allowed allthe family up front.

While all this was going I wasdabbling in flying.

In 1966 my CFI Bob Curtis,put myself and about a half dozen others up for their PPL test.

Examiners Tom Curlewis andJohn Bressington had been in Canberra and arrived in a pristine C182 completewith golf sticks in the back. Everybody got a pass, the test aircraft being VictaAirtourers RSJ and RSL.

1979 upgraded to CPL, theExaminer being Peter Marmon

1984 CIR Flight, Examinerwas Geoff or Kevin? Warrener …. a young gentleman … said he was ex RAAF Miragepilot.

1987 Instructor Rating Test.Examiner was John? Collins? .. ex RAN A4 pilot. Halfway through the long briefI remember a pained expression on his face, however my superior skills got methrough!.

First renewal was done byexaminer Bill Scott well known ex RAAF pilot.

My IFR renewals were alsodone by examiners, usually meeting me somewhere where they were waiting in theCommander 1000. I am sure they enjoyed getting out of the office and flying theCommander 1000.

Back at wagga I was helpingout at the RAAF Flying Club. CFI was Group Captain Bill Monaghan the base CO,and my sometimes mentor was Mick Haxell DFC, who would come over from Canberra.

Mick earned his DFC flying a Huey in Vietnam.

RAAF Base Wagga was almostin a time warp. Plenty of Winjeels,Vampires, Sabres, Canberras Neptunes C47 andthe odd chopper and Herc.

Even the old tower lookedgreat. I think this was used by DCA upto the mid 60’s. One of the tower staffthere was Bob Imber who was the first controller at Camden in the portable tower adjacent to the runway.

Well, aviation has given mea good lifestyle. I operate a biplane and ex mil trainer, but after more than40 years in FIS and 45 plus, years flying, the passion is starting to wane.

Will have to see what thefuture brings!
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Old 11th Jan 2013, 21:14
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Did some flying out of Albury in those days.
In all those operations, I never understood a word that John Love said!

Just replied "Roger" to all his transmissions...
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Old 11th Jan 2013, 23:32
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Don't forget Broken Hill - may have been on SA time, but was still a part of NSW.
From the early 80s, I remember, Trevor Ward (the boss), Stan McKenzie, Don Burrows, Mike Everett, Sue and Alan Norris, Jan Black, John Welke (RIP).
Really busy place to work because of all the exploration work occurring around Moomba.
Whenever Sue or Jan were on air-ground, all the pilots used to walk over from the terminal to check return wx, when the blokes were on, they'd just ring up.
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Old 12th Jan 2013, 11:27
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Don't forget Broken Hill
Don't forget Broken Hill
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 02:40
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Who was the FSU guy at Albury in the 80's that had the nickname 'doom & gloom'? (It wasn't John Love.)
There could be a perfectly blue sky with no hint of cloud, and you would walk into the FSU office and mention you were heading somewhere and he would just shake his head and mutter about 8/8 low cloud and gale force winds.
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 04:20
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Paul Phelan was there working for Davey Air Services, and reckoned that a box of matches was worth 30nm on a WAC.
Strewth!! You must be talking forty five years ago?

Maslings were one of the early Reg203 (Commuter) operators in NSW and his fleet included C402, C320, Queenair, Banderiante, Twin Otter and DC3.
I think ANR203 operations commenced 1966? Jack was an early Reg 203 operator, then came the hangar fire.
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 06:32
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Got some memories there old son! Some of those blokes I knew reasonably well, some were examiners of airmen, Bill Scott flew the Vampire and Bill as he called himself Bill McMongrel was one of the best pilots and best blokes in the game. GREAT memories. Bill Scott failed me on a renewal once cos he pulled an engine the second I hit the minima and it just dipped through, just a tad. I said that is not fair and suggested that we go up again but this time I'll pull the engine on him....he said "don't be silly I couldn't do it either". Wrote the ticket the next day.
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 06:34
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Thats going back to when the matches were made in Australia by the Federal Match Coy!! This all makes me feel old...mmmm
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 09:15
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It's a true story (60's - 70's of course) - but you haven't explained it fully! The, no doubt, imperial box of matches was 30nm x 20nm x 10 nm on the WAC chart. 1:60 was an art form then!! Most GA ADF's were only good for 60 nm and there were about 9 VOR's in the country. DME was only in the hands of the Gods of RPT!! Dubbo to Roma and back, rhumb-line, mostly in the dark both ways NVMC seemed do-able then??
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 14:12
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ASWM Cricket Days

Guess the early 80's are still "good old days" so I'll mention the cricket afternoons at Willy between RAAF ATC and SY FS.

Some (and some less than) memorable evenings after matches in the mess. The rules seemed to change each match and always involved beverage consumption.

I remember one night when a FS guy with a glass eye that seemed to change colour frequently showed us the ultimate "brown eye".

Another match, or was it the same one, when the Pitts display team was using the coastal lane southbound and was encouraged by Ms Lobb (the duty controller in the tower) to give a 5 minutes innings break entertainment. The major obstacle they faced were the stumps we left erected.

Yes - good old days.

Bit of thread drift but Masling was mentioned earlier. Regattas with a competition that was preceded by a night in Fame Cove for a BBQ and many beers. If you were there you'll not forget PY's "We Are Sailing'' rendition while trying to row a tethered dingy back the the RL28 for a sleep.

Yes - good old days.

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Old 14th Jan 2013, 15:24
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Other FSU's

I Remember being "carpeted" and lectured by the Longreach head man in 79 cause I didn't make an inbound call!!!
Or lodging a plan at the "alice" and having it thrown back cause you didn't have holding on it.
Does anyone remember "operational control". Having your aircraft taken over by a bloke miles away just because you couldn't give a precise position. There were a lot of unnecessary forced landings back then.
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 23:48
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There were a lot of unnecessary forced landings back then.
There were also a lot of pilots whose hides were saved because when they got into trouble (remember no GPS back then) the Flight service blokes had local knowledge (or enough contacts to find someone who did) and helped many a lost aviator establish their position and make it to an airport.

Also don't forget the many times the FSU helped pilots out by calling the refueller (no mobile phones back then, but most airports did have fuel), or arranging a cab, or a million other helpful tasks that they undertook. We tended to take their many kindnesses for granted, and these things are sadly missed today.

Change is not always for the better.........
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 23:54
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A box of matches

It had to be a box of Federal matches, the ones that were made of thin wood. Their three dimensions measured exactly 10, 20 and 30 nautical miles on a WAC, which in a PA24 @ 150 kt was exactly 4, 8 and 12 minutes, plus/minus 10% for head/tailwinds.
Alex McKenzie was a superstar FSO - I was arriving "night VMC" one night and told him I was making a practice NDB approach. He rogered that and told me the A/NSW Fokker had just mate three practice NDB approaches and was now carrying out a practice diversion to Orange. He added that "visibility appears to be pretty good over the town though."
The Hungarian migrants were all landed at Wagga, not Albury, which only had about a 500m grass strip at that time. I was in the RAAF at Wagga at the time and they were all flown in by Flying Tiger and UTA in DC-4s with 85 pax in an aeroplane normally configured for for 52. They were bussed to Bonagilla near Wodonga. Peter Abeles was one of the migrants. One flight arrived from Darwin on 3 engines - had been observed feathering one shortly after takeoff from Darwin and was running 60 minutes late at Wagga where he found he also had a flat nosewheel tyre. A couple of times thay got the RAAF fire tender to park under the rear fuselage with a matress so they wouldn't fall on their tails when they powered off.
Ooops, I just scrolled down the other posts and found somebody else's account of the matchbox trick. I'll never forget the looks on a Qantas crew's faces at Sydney briefing when they looked curiously over my shoulder and had the matchbox trick explained to them.
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Old 15th Jan 2013, 20:32
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So, does that mean that a Bic Cigarette Lighter is 30nm on OZRunways?
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Old 16th Jan 2013, 06:47
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Peter Abeles was one of the migrants
Maybe that is how Emile Herbert Peter Abeles developed an appetite for airlines.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 16th Jan 2013, 19:49
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...and for owning Prime Ministers?
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 22:29
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Talking About Cricket

Talking about cricket matches, who can forget the very serious mid-week (Tuesdays) cricket competitions that ran for about 4 years in the early '70s involving a combined Sydney ATS team (ATC/FS) as well as teams from the Qantas pilots, Qantas stewards, RAAF Richmond, the 729 Club (a combined team that included members from all the TV channels), TAA pilots and Ansett pilots.

This was a very serious cricket competition that was played at some of Sydney best cricket grounds with turf pitches. No drinking was allowed during matches and cricket was played in full whites and spiked cricket boots. ATS team practice was held in the cricket nets at the back of Building 237 (old control tower) twice a week.

Some of the players I recall being involved in the ATS Team (sorry if I missed anybody but memory is getting dim now):


Tom Meehan (c), Nick Cromer, Bernie Rogers, Tony Madigan, Rocky Crawford, Ian Jamieson


Glen Sampson (vc), Chris Kelly (RIP), Tony Sewell, Brian Jackson, Ray Sisson, Chris Albon

Tom Meehan was a very good cricketer who played grade cricket and could have qualified for the NSW Sheffield Shield team if he wasn't a shift worker. The Qantas stewards had some very good players, some of whom also played grade cricket, and consistently were the best team in the comp. The 729 Club was captained by Gordon Bray and also included Jim Maxwell.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 07:03
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Every now and again Prune throws up some gems as threads and this is one of them. Celebrating 30 years since I learned to fly I still remember doing my SCPL (If you don't know what that is this thread is not for you) Air Law exam at the Cooma FSU. I think the FSU bloke's name was Brian and he just showed you a room with a whole bunch of electronics and away you went. I think it cost me $2.15 in admin fees which I paid to the Collector of Public Monies at the DoCA office at Canberra Airport. Many a pilot of "that year" did their IFR renewal with Ben Hoitink in Canberra. He would take two at a time in a Duchess from CB to MRY with an ILS on departure from CB followed by an NDB at MRY. Land swap pilots then do the reverse coming back to CB. He was a shrewd Dutchman who is possibly still an ATO!
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