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ANSETT-ANA/COUNTRYAIR TERMINAL

Old 2nd Mar 2013, 07:04
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Up North
Age: 64
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Did only 6 months with Country Dare in 1979 working out that little building for the charming DM and the inscrutable Ken C who made sure we kept our time sheets to the second decimal place from the tacho's.

Had a fantastic time filled with many memories that have stayed with me to this day starting with Chief Pilot, Pete Badgery (ex BAC 111's with Air Pacific, and long before that, ex RAAF P40's). First endorsement he gave me was on the Islander, VH-SYU (single engine max rate turns at 65kts into the live engine) and how not "to get wrecked" landing at Great Keppel - despite what the TAA advertising slogan for Great Keppel said at the time.

It was also an eye opener for a 20 something year old country guy to see the transformation of some properly dressed and behaved young ladies who came to Great Keppel and departed after seven or so days with, shall we say, fewer inhibitions and even fewer clothes on. Of course it didn't take long to learn how to ensure the "right" passenger was selected to sit in the front right seat of the Islander. We also used to take particular care that the manifold gauge glass was kept particularly clean for those occasions and then used to flash the landing lights on the taxy into the tarmac at Rocky so the guys in the tower could get some "binocular practice". Remember this was 70's and political correctness was "light years" away then.

PB's briefing for a single engine failure on the PA-30 -MCO (destroyed in a CFT in 1991), while obviously an exaggeration, basically went along the lines that an engine failure at 7, 70 or 7000 ft would mean you ending up back in the dirt. Talking of dirt, one day a little later on, I was in MCO approaching over the open cut coal mine into the strip at Saraji just beyond the mine when suddenly the world went dark and there was a great cloud of dust and I could swear - rocks flying past. After landing somewhat shaken, I started to tear into the supervisor who met me, who sheepishly told me that just as I got onto short final they had let of an explosive charge to loosen the rock pile, despite supposing to check the area was clear and maybe "over-charged" it. The thought that I was there to pick up some union guy to take him to Brisbane to start a jail term after running foul of Premier Joh Petersen was probably a coincidence.

Other work than the many charters, was flying the Telegraph newspaper up the coast to Mackay (I think) stopping of at every airport on the way to drop of a bundle of papers - occasionally in the twins but my logbook shows more often in the PA-24's.

Then there were the country clinics operated on behalf of the Rocky General Hospital, taking a doctor and a nurse to places like Woorabinda, Ogmore and others that I cannot recall.

Other aircraft of the fleet at that time were, PA28 VH-CUT, PA24's VH-MCW and MCY, PA23 VH-TIP and for a thankfully short while, VH-RRB and PA-31 VH-MCX.

Sadly, despite doing so before and after, I never took any photos of the aircraft and the company and would love to hear from anyone who has some from around that time.

As to RB whose Com training I did down in Bundy - after "scoring a goal" with MCY, a couple years later (about 1981), he had to unfortunately quit flying as he had not been able to renew his licence after he had a mild fainting episode in the Rocky terminal. He told me that, like we all did, that he had just done an early morning charter out to the mines without bothering to grab a bite and upon return was lining up for something to eat when he fainted. Sad thing was that, because the doctors couldn't find anything wrong, his licence was neither cancelled nor cleared putting him in limbo. Whether he returned to flying or not, I do not know.

One thing I didn't miss was how unbearably hot and humid Rocky could get in summer with the Berserker range of hills blocking most sea breezes. Which leads me to one final story about Norty, I believe. Upon coming back from GKI one foul day with low cloud and rain, he called up the tower and asked for clearance "via the North" meaning the standard approach around the north end of the Berserker Range. He was told that way looked closed and did he have an alternative route to which he replied "Affirmative, my wife's sister" which of course, confused everyone. Maybe it's just a standard story but, sounds like him.......

Last edited by Givelda; 2nd Mar 2013 at 07:17.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 08:06
  #22 (permalink)  

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G'day Givelda,

I thought the name Boneham rang a bell.

I did some flying with Boneham Senior in Bundy in the late 80's. If I remember correctly, he told me his son eventually (after a long arduous set of AvMed hoops) had his medical clearance reinstated, and I think at one point had a flying job with Sunnies.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 09:03
  #23 (permalink)  
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Paul Phelan
Nah he is FP.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 10:32
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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flying the Telegraph newspaper up the coast to Mackay (I think) stopping of at every airport on the way to drop of a bundle of papers
Givelda, your memory is about as bad as mine!

Not many airports between Rocky and Mackay! Unless you count Marlborough and St. Lawrence!
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 14:07
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Capt Fathom. Quite right - on both counts - "memory" is going and no "airports" between RK and MK.

Looking at my logbooks again and it seems like RK-BN-GLA-RK was the paper run at that time - not even GYP, MYB and Bundy.

RK-SLW-OGM-MLB-RK was the clinic run other than WBA.

....and lots of RK-GKL-RK...

Last edited by Givelda; 2nd Mar 2013 at 14:27.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 06:31
  #26 (permalink)  
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fewer inhibitions and even fewer clothes on.
What about the girls that would turn up in the landrover just before the exercises at Shoalwater started and disappear after the exercise finished.

Sleep all day and work all night.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 07:59
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Paul Phelan ...FP..Que?
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 22:06
  #28 (permalink)  
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Here are a few rego's that may jog the memory:- PA-24-250 VH-MCA (ex VH-APY), regd .6.4.1964 to 23.01.1967, VH-APY, Cessna 182G, 04.10.66 to 09.08.1969, VH-APZ, PA-28-160, 20.08.1962 to 02.06.1964, VH-MCD, PA-24-250, 15.11.1961 to 22.03.71, VH-MCM, PA-32-260, 25.03.1966 to 21.08.1975, VH-MCN, Mooney Super 21, 07.05.1963 to 09.07.1965, VH-MCO, PA-30-160, 06.05.1966 to 02.06.1975....more to follow.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 02:02
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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The Tn Man

Great to hear from you - yes the badger did have a Pitts special when he was with CA but have no idea of his now whereabouts whilst Ken passed away some years ago at his son Nick in Mackay. The last cuban went up in smoke 6/1/88. Good to learn RB made it thru to the jets.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 02:22
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Join Date: Jun 1999
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Gday former colleagues. Joined Countryair in Otober 1970 when Ray Heiniger’s departure left a vacancy. Left November ’73 to fly for Nationwide and stayed in RK with successive operators till 1980. Fond memories of the atmosphere around that airport and its two after-work focal points, Aero Club and Countryair. Remember the ’74 floods well, when up to 8 DC9s were parked on 04/22 at times because everywhere else required Adelaide + 60 or similar, and they had to park until they could find somewhere to go.

Then there were two thunderstorm events a couple of weeks apart that destroyed numerous aircraft including Ansett Twin Otter – I watched that from the control tower, having turned back from the Mackay paper run due TSs, tied down the little Cherokee (140), taken a couple of bundles of papers to TAA to get them on the night flight to Mackay, sheltered my tiny Fiat inside the passenger lounge, and gone up to the tower to watch the big green-looking thunderstorm. It even shook the brick control tower, with foliage flying past the windows, and when we could eventually see the ground below, there was the Ansett Twin Otter lying on its back on the lawn. It even pulled my little Cherokee’s tiedowns out by the roots and cartwheeled it across a couple of hundred metres along with several others. That storm however turned out to be a great day for general aviation because Ansett handed over its Emerald/Clermont/Barcaldine/Longreach contract first to Countryair, then Nationwide, then Burnett Airways, and finally Bushies, which more or less coincided with my career path for several years.

The runway works were a bit of a hoot too. The first time a BIG STRETCHED B727-200 landed at RK the fireies (remember Vince?) went out to see if such a monster could land on the runway without breaking it, and found a hole in the bitumen that had nothing to do with the Whispering T-Jet, it was a cave-in of one of the tunnels under the runway that had been prepared to be filled with explosives to welcome the Japanese invaders in 1944. Nobody was sure if the explosives had actually been left there, and the only map the contractors had must have been the one that was going to be left behind to fool the Japs, so locating all the trenches and pumping concrete into them became a challenge. The shorter runway 04/22 was a bit of a challenge for the DC-9s too. And when they'd finished 15/33 they discovered there were tunnels under 04/22 as well, unfortunately one of the tunnels they filled with concrete turned out to be part of the water drainage system, which was discovered after the next deluge.

Tn Man, it was two 44 gallon drums of cold bitumen (Colas), not one, in the Cherokee Sixes, and unless you had a couple of large batteries in the nose locker, you didn't have to flare at GKL, you just relaxed the forward pressure a bit.

“Captain Stubby” sold one of Don’s old Comanches to one of his student pilots, then married her and took up residence at her ranch not far from Biloela. It was on the direct track from Rocky, and on the early morning flight we used to keep him in touch with aviation with a "three-Lycoming salute" - a Trislander out of sync at 500 feet sounds a bit like a collision at Mount Panorama.

Plenty more Rock Vegas stories but you’d think I was exaggerating.

Last edited by Paul Phelan; 4th Mar 2013 at 02:30.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 02:27
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Aussie02

These regos sound like Country Air - you must have flown in RK for quite a number of years. How did you put up with DM for that long!
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 02:39
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Gimmie2

Hey, I'm still as chirpy as ever and clearly remember our phone conversation you refer to. Am really enjoying reading these pages - great memories that get better!! Did u know that Capt Stub passed away a couple of years ago but we are in touch with Heather who is still flying MCD.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 13:15
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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In my time there..Mid '74 to early '78...flew, MCR, CUT, BES, SMI, CVF, SES,
MCY, MCY, MCO, TIP, MCX, SYU, BME, KNM.....And I think CDK (or CKD), relief on PXG (Air Ambulance)...If I recall correctly in those days with bases in ROK & MKY, Countryair would have been one of the biggest charter operations in QLD, I think 14 aircraft were on strength then, what a great place for Young Zlin to start his flying career and I never once recall being asked to fly overloaded or out of hours...joined there as a S/E VFR pilot and tonight once again sitting in Beijing...thanks for the memories..
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 21:26
  #34 (permalink)  
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Just going back, PGU was the Ansett twotter and the date was 29.11.1971, and the Cherokee 140 was MCZ, Capt Stubbie tought me to fly in her, flew solo when I was still attending school. The Jolly Roger, VH-AAF, what a beast, only just fitted into the company hangar next to the Shell compound. The Drover, named "The Keppel Islander"....VH-CKS was the Badgers Pitts. I remember that Capt Stubbie did aerobatics over the city in a Tiger Moth when the movie, The Blue Max, was released in Rocky.
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Old 5th Mar 2013, 07:54
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Zlin77,what a cavalcade of memories those regos represent.Remember the day when Le Concorde(akaMCX)arrived.All lined up on the verandah of Countryair with David Berry the ferry pilot,taxying oh so slowly to park the pride and joy in front of the terminal.Brand new,we swarmed over it,itching to fly it,but for memory took awhile as we had to sharpen our skills on theTwin Commanche and Aztec.
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Old 5th Mar 2013, 08:02
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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Caroldon

I thought Capt.Stubb would of passed away by now,but really happy to hear Heather still flying MCD.What a girl!That Commanche must be a low hour beauty,same owner for probably 35 years?
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Old 5th Mar 2013, 18:11
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Very honoured to be given a start by DM at Countryair, one of the fairest G/A operators I've seen. Spent a few happy years in Rocky and established many lifetime friendships with other Countryairians.....

Who can forget the Coralair services for TAA. The daily flotilla of mixed Pipers tracking via the Southern Tip to GKI? And the return leg when a discreet 3 clicks on the mike, when approaching the terminal, would cue the Tower controllers to raise their binos to watch the young ladies scrambling down the wing of a strategically parked aircraft! (Most of them would be grandmothers now!)

Would like to know whatever happened to the Badger after C/Air. We all stood back and marvelled at his antics... in and out of an aeroplane!
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 07:34
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Was there when Max Conrad ferried the Robertson Stol Twin Commanche in for Graham McCamley of "Tartrus". Got to climb into it before he did on arrival to have a look, and to shake the hand of the famous Max himself. Don was the Piper agent for the area then and used to sell new Pipers to the graziers, and if they weren't using them much, would work a deal with them to lease them back and put them on the line in Rocky for charter. Don't know if he sold the Twin Commanche to Graham, was most probably sourced by Graham himself being a Robertson Stol variant.

Another day I remember well was when I was tasked to take a Vet on the short hop to a station just west of Rocky in the loop of the river about where "Rookwood", "Foleyvale" "Darcomba" or "Leura" are. The name "Ohio" rings a bell - we used to call it Oh Aitch Ten, - I think it may have been around there somewhere too - but may not have been the place. Can't decipher the abbreviations in my logbook now for the properties I used to land at..
Anyway, took the Vet out and we landed, and were picked up at the strip and taken to the stockyards, not far from the homestead, where he had to turn a well bred colt into a gelding. While the Vet went about his business with the horse on the ground, the activity at the yards had caught the attention of a resident from the homestead. I heard this panting and wheezing, and looked around, to see the most battered and ugliest dog I had seen to that day, and since.
He was was an old Blue Heeler, dragging himself to where the action was on three legs, steering with one eye,- but that eye was bright -, head cocked at an angle with one ear slashed and torn and the other flattened and mishapen. His body was a wreck, but when he got near the rails and action, he seemed to gain energy and took a keen interest in the proceedings. Later when we were having a cup of tea before flying back, we learnt his story. Seems the owners had had him since when they drew the brigalow block. He was a top dog for getting the Scrubbers out of the brigalow, and was valuable for the owners having a cash flow as they worked to pull the scrub and develop the property in the early days of occupation. They had kept him when past his working prime, but his genes proved good in successive generations, and he still hankered for the action but couldn't keep up with his offspring in the paddock.
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 10:14
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Very nostalgic thread. Great memories!
I've put together a list of names - in no particular order - that I recall - quite a few!

Hopefully others will add to the list as I am sure I've missed a lot from that period; and that by recalling the names, a lot more memories may come to light. (Apologies for any misspelling).

CountryAir: Don Millroy, Maurie McMullin, Ken Cubbit, Peter Daniels, Peter Badgery, John Sherriff, John Lee Lewes, Jim Llewellyn, Paul Phelan, Mal Hartley, Max Lincoln, Rob Favero, Norton Gill, Dave Berry, Geoff Blythe, Geoff Cornfoot, Paul De Leo, Ross Boneham, Paul Hurst, Lindsey Harris, Greame Hood, Greg Vesey, John Grieve, Don Davies, Leon Ashendon, Ian Woods

ATC / FS /Met: Trevor Treacy, Bob (Yogi) Jones, Jim Buckley, Terry Mc Mahon, Bob Carter, Barry Brazier, Virgil Stjernquist, Bob (Two Call) Mc Dermott

Nationwide: Paul Phelan, Darryl Mayfield, Simon Cuyten

BPA: Rod Bruce, Stan Lewis, Peter Jones, Chris Nelson, Bob Shanahan, Bill Jones, Alan Kennedy, Lee Eborall, Alan Spears, Ted Bullock, Ian Chessell, Simon Kyper, Tom Oswin, Jeremy Smith, Boyd Tiver, Mike Fry, Rod Stendrup, Greg Williamson

thers: Kev Bianchi – Ansett, Ian Buss – Aero Club, Kev Geaney – Aero Club, Laurie Georgeson - Doctor/ Volksplane, Col Power – Air Ag, Nev Sneddon – Fuel, Mic Mooy – Fuel, Paul Finn – Maintenance, Shirley Pearce – Cafe, Warren Thomas, Brian Bannister – Avionics, Cay Carpenter, Bruce Brunner, Gary Thackam, Ted Doyle – Maintenance, Clive Coleman – Maintenance, Alan Rose – Maintenance, Graham Dooley – Aero Club, Stewart Martyn – Aero Club, Rod May – Fuel, John Tonetti – Kepple, Roger Wellington – TAA, Reg Page – Ansett, Quenton Higgs – TAA, Laurie Bond – TAA, Tony Curtis – TAA, Neville Harris - TAA

Codd Air: Colin Codd

Central Highlands Air Taxi: Jim Johnston

Longreach Air Charter: John McNamara
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 10:30
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: rolling plains
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Great effort CC.I think of had a beer with three quarters of those names.Do you know what happened to Col and Marg Power?
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