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Swing the lamp, pull up a sandbag.

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Swing the lamp, pull up a sandbag.

Old 29th Sep 2016, 16:18
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Swing the lamp, pull up a sandbag.

It has been suggested that a thread be opened for historical helicopter stories in the hope of them not disappearing as we all grow old and fade away. This is a first offering. Maybe the thread will run and maybe not. No outright fiction please but inevitably the years cloud the memory.

In the mid 70's at Soest with 660 squadron Army Air Corps one of the Gazelles developed an alarming thump, thump thump
at the bottom of autorotation. Nothing could be found wrong so it was decided to carry out an airtest with the gearbox cowlings removed, a door off and with a certain sergeant attached to the aircraft via a despatchers harness positioned to see what was going on. A further airtest resulted in the defective part ,one of the transmission supports being identified as the culprit. Would just love to see the 'elf and safety wallahs having a heart attack if you did something like that now.

Probably stranger still is what became of our hero.

Transport Manager Alex Garty Poses With Queen Elizabeth Ii's Bentley Stock Photo, Royalty Free Image: 62639384 - Alamy
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 17:14
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1962...young Sasless and another Civil Air Patrol Cadet were learning to fly Gyro Copters. One of the Squadron Seniors had several and a non-powered version that was attached to a wooden platform on the back of a Ford Pickup Truck.

The Copter was loosely chained so that there was about two feet of slack but not enough to get off the side of the platform and Students would be driven down the Taxiway of the airport and allowed to practice "flying" the machine.

Somewhere in the Course of instructions it was not emphasized that the chains were there just to limit the movement a bit and were not supposed to be pulled hard against for any length of time but instead the aircraft should be hovered mid-travel or so.

Young Sasless being the Observer on the one particular run took scant notice of the Copter being pulled hard against the Chains by the other Cadet....and at some point the laws of physics, structural limits, and commonsense all came together to creat an interesting end to the flight, the Copter, and the cab of the Pickup when the rotor head, mast, and associated bits went many different directions all in a flash.

We survived although the other Cadet did go to Hospital for a few days, and I took a severe beating from the Rotor blades as they went about their business of killing the Gyro Copter and remodeling the Cab of the Pickup Truck.

I should have taken a hint from all that and stuck with Airplanes perhaps.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 21:03
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Worried

I daren't post any stories on here; I only started in 1985 so I'm going to be made to feel like a proper sprog !

NEO
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 21:14
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Sprog is not quite the word I have heard used to describe you....but I do recall your first ever trip from Lagos to Warri by Road when the nice Police Officer was going to arrest you because your Particulars were not in order. The look on your Face when all I did was ask for a Receipt to show to the Chief Pilot as you had been signed off to me and I had to account for why you were not still with me when I got to Warri.

You were not very happy with me at the time as i recall.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 21:27
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Ah, yes. JB has a lot to answer for ! Putting me in a car with you for that long was torture enough, but 11 road blocks in Benin City alone ? FFS ?! Big Maurice looked after us pretty well (and he was VERY big), but you kept on talking to the police as if they were friends.

NEO
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 00:29
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They were....they were wanting to keep you and I felt they were making a mistake as in short order they would have been paying us to come get you.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 03:38
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This is currently an extension of the tales of yore being related on the Nigeria thread, so I guess a couple of non-Bristow anecdotes wouldn't go astray.

It was always a cause of interest when I'd see cars on the road in Warri with the new-fangled hazard flashers going. Eventually the company driver explained that we were 'no go left right', i.e. straight on at a crossroad. You just have to accept that logic, along with wipers being put on when on a dirt road to keep the stones off the windshield.

ACN operated Allouettes and one Puma. One of the float equipped AL3s was known for its leaking float, and after an unscheduled overnight on a platform the inevitable padding on startup resulted in the TR driveshaft being severed. After some preparation the Puma arrived and hooked up the AL3 for a sling back to Port Harcourt, but our French ace departed with verve and panache. Passing 500' the sling load was in formation, alternately to port then starboard so Steve B in the back offered some gratuitous advice which resulted in the load being pickled and a left turn to PH, without even waiting to watch the splash.

When the boat reached the floating wreck they had the presence of mind to remove the data plate before it tragically sank, so in due course an insurance claim was submitted for the hull value.

Some time later the insurance chappy arrived back at Schreiners to present a cheque for the claim, but needed a couple of pertinent details such as the weight of the AL3. Perplexed, the weight was researched and a calculator then drawn out of the IC's briefcase and a cheque then handed over for about $US5,000.

Underslung load rates @ $5.50 per kilo!
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 07:21
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Eishhh ....

Never mind the flashers, how about the Nigerian hand signals? There is that one where the left hand is dangled from the open window and simply waggled, meaning "I am about to do something I have not yet decided upon." Fair warning, I guess!

A friend got in trouble with the law when he misread a Lagos Yellow Fever's hand signals. The man pulled him over then to show him first the back of his hand and then the palm of his hand, saying for the back "Dis be green; It mean 'Go,'" and for the palm "Dis be red; It mean 'Stop.'" Explanation given and paid for, my friend then went on his way.

Shell fitted a sort of "snitch box" to its vans that recorded the speed and also let out a warning tone. I was being ferried back from Osubi one evening, when that rapid African night was dropping fast, yet we still were driving without lights. When I asked the driver what was up, he explained that the box sensed when the headlights were turned on, triggering at a speed lower than when they were off. So, lights off, ten km/h faster! "The Law of Unintended Consequences .... "

We enjoyed toppest security at Port Harcourt NAF Base, Monday through Friday. Saturdays and Sundays, though, we were on our own! (Given what happened to Sharky that weekend he went away to take some involuntary time off in the swamp, this may have been for the best.)

One hot afternoon at the NAF Base I was sat slumped in the driver's seat of my Twotter, brooding as usual on the course of my flying career and why the World's Greatest Pilot was stuck there instead of becoming a Dornier 328 pilot. Then I felt the aircraft shift a bit on its gear, followed by a "Peeeep, peeeep" noise coming from the back of the cabin.

When I looked over my shoulder, there was our security guard with his metal detector, starting to check that each and every seat frame was indeed made of Canada's finest steel. When he saw me watching his f*ckwittery he gave an embarrassed smile and made himself scarce.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 14:48
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"Go front small-small. Branch left by winch. See am for right". Directions received from Sunday Driver (no idea why he was called that) when I asked where the bank was in the days when we used to collect National salaries in cash. The "winch" aka witch was a mad woman who lived on a heap of rubbish next to a road junction.

NEO
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 17:49
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One of our Stewards who had worked for the British before Nigeria became Nigeria on its own right was very much displeased with the concept of Local Rule.

One evening he explained that while employed by the British Government he received a very poor wage...but his food, housing, medical care, electricity, water, schooling for his children, clothes, and a pension was provided whereas following the end of the British Rule of the Colony he still received a poor wage but nothing was provided. He opined that perhaps the old way did have its merits.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 18:20
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but his food, housing, medical care, electricity, water, schooling for his children, clothes, and a pension was provided
All that money now goes into the London and Parisian property markets.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 19:48
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Not sure if anyone is on here to corroborate, but very late one night I was stood at the gates of Edewor Estate with the wrong end of a MOPOL machine gun in my mouth. Not really sure how it got to that, nothing to do with "dash" and the amount of beer I'd consumed of course. Despite the obvious speech impediment this gave me I talked myself out of it. Had to go back to Number 17 and rehydrate for a while though.

NEO
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 20:25
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Aye-up

Get some time in lad....
Great stories but a tad geographically restricted - and sorry, can't add anything as those that might be offended are still living ;-)
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 21:01
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EESDL,

I did point that out in an earlier post ! I'll stay out and let you old sweats impress us all. After all nothing much must have happened when anyone else was in the flying game........

NEO
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 21:59
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So, prostituting your hard-won skills as a helo pilot in a sh*thole like Nigeria where there were few rules and no supervision, just to make a few bucks, should be seen as stories to impress and inspire a future generation of professional helicopter pilots.........
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 22:38
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Don't let the truth stand in the way of a good story, but it goes something like this.

Lads run ashore in India. The following day one of the SeaKings was dispatched from the carrier to go fetch the motley lot.

Picked them up at the airport after they had donned their goonsuits for the overwater journey back to mother.

Half way through the fairly prolonged stifling hot and humid journey, one of the land party commented that he needed another visit to the heads because of what he'd eaten the night before (naturally washed down with a few cold beers).

Complainant told to hold it in until they landed, he tried, he failed and so he dropped his goon suit to his midrif, angled his backside out the back door, told the driver to slow to a taxi speed and did the business!

Those were the days when we didn't really understand recirc and rotors inside the cab.....

Funny how so little can spread so far in such a short time.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 22:47
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Don't take it personally Crab. It certainly wasn't meant that way. You don't know me or my background. NEO out.

Last edited by Nigerian Expat Outlaw; 30th Sep 2016 at 22:48. Reason: Spell check correction
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 23:52
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I doubt Crab has ever been to Nigeria and knows nothing about rules or supervision at work here.
This was started as a thread for some of the old salts to come and swing a lightshade, which is exactly what the stories so far have been. I haven't seen any that have to do with work time. From the stories I heard from many of the old timers who used to be here, many similar things happened when they were prostituting themselves in a sh*thole like the Shetlands or Great Yarmouth many years ago. No wonder they all said that of the ex-service pilots Crabs were utterly wet, humourless people with no sense of fun or adventure.
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 02:19
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Tehran international Airport.....1978....bunch of Bristow guys headed down country to our Bush Operations. Chronic shortage of Eggs in the Bush demanded innovative approaches to importing Cackle Fruit.

Some Genius decided the use of sterile (but empty) whisky bottles, a funnel, and dozens of cracked eggs would work a treat and if six bottles were tied together with a rope handle....it was the Cat's Meow.

On the test run I was elected to be the guy to carry the thing through Security.

Ali, the Iranian Security Guard who spoke less English than I did Farsi...which at that point consisted of at least two words maybe....stopped me and showed great interest in the egg filled bottles....and said "Whisky?".

I shook my Head in what I assumed was a bit of Farsi body language and said "No!".

He repeated himself.....I did as well and added the comment "Eggs!".

He persisted and said yet again "Whisky!"...to be reminded another time "Eggs!".

He frowned as only armed Goons can do....and said...."Drink!".

Thinking that trying drink from one of those bottles would be akin to drinking from a Spittoon....meaning once you take the first sip there is not stopping until it was empty....I declined.

At which point the Guard went back to the starting point and said....."Whisky!".

It took a a concerted All Hands effort but in the end...we departed with all the Eggs.
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 07:27
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does anyone have the correct story of the engineer that was attempting to adjust the rigging on a S76 I think and the pilot took of for a circuit with the LAME still attached and on return there were a few punches thrown in the direction of the pilot. In aus but I may have dreamt it all.
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