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Vale John Whale, Bristow Helicopters

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Vale John Whale, Bristow Helicopters

Old 5th Aug 2018, 20:12
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RIP John Whale, Bristow Helicopters

Sad news: John Whale (Bristow stalwart and occasional contributor to this thread) passed away last week. Another victim of the ‘Big C’.

Those that knew John can probably identify his posts here. RIP yet another S61 driver.

Last edited by Tail-take-off; 6th Aug 2018 at 14:44.
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Old 5th Aug 2018, 20:35
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Very sad news about John.
Very knowledgable man, a real character and he was totally dedicated to Bristow,
Always a pleasure to fly with.
RIP
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Old 5th Aug 2018, 20:44
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Sad news about John passing away. He seemed so positive he was in control of his cancer but I guess it can creep up on you. He was a Royal Marine student in 707 Squadron on the Wessex 5 in 1967 & was always a very cheerful bubbly character. RIP John.
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Old 5th Aug 2018, 21:15
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John Whale - such a lovely guy, does anyone know when and where his funeral is to take place?
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Old 5th Aug 2018, 22:43
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Originally Posted by Tail-take-off View Post
Sad news: John Whale (Bristow stalwart and occasional contributor to this thread) passed away last week. Another victim of the ‘Big C’.

Those that knew John can probably identify his posts here. RIP yet another S61 driver.

Very sad news. John was my line trainer when I was a very wet-behind-the-ears copilot with Bristow in the early seventies. I subsequently had the pleasure of working with him in his latter years when he contracted for CHC. He will be missed.
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Old 6th Aug 2018, 07:24
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That’s sad news. John could fill out a long boring flight with endless stories. I remember one time to the ESB he waxed lyrical on the best recipes for a Cornish Pasty.
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Old 6th Aug 2018, 07:38
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Very sad!

Condolences, and best wishes, to Sandie and the children.

Jim
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Old 6th Aug 2018, 12:01
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OH NO, that's heartbreaking news. JBW was a legend in ABZ in the 80s as he used to come breezing into the planning room hitching up his strides.

I remember when the CB radio craze started in the very early 80s, JBW bought one and would drive between Kintore and Dyce trying to get a "copy" on CH19. Then he discovered that the Collins 618T HF radios fitted in the Bristow S-61s could be tuned to the same frequency as CH19 on a CB. Somehow the 4W AM CB Radio limit (itself illegal in the UK at the time) wasn't enough when you could push out 400w with the HF!

Bless you my old friend, I had no idea you were suffering so much.

Cornwall and the helicopter industry have just lost one of their true treasures.
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Old 6th Aug 2018, 12:36
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John was one of thf people that made working for Bristow such a treat.
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Old 6th Aug 2018, 15:17
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Sad news indeed. I flew with JBW on many, many flights. When he came back to Bristow as a contract 'co-pilot' I was pleased to be one of the few Captains that Magnus {RIP} and other Ops staff knew he would be co-pilot to. We used to do many 45A ? Tartan flights where the full breakfasts were legendary. I normally flew out and JBW would finish breakfast by SHD { Scotstown Head } RIP JB.
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Old 6th Aug 2018, 17:29
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Very sad news. I had some communication with him recently and thought he was getting better.
John had incredible knowledge and was vastly experienced. We flew together many, many times over a number of years both in the UK and in Norway. Condolences to Sandy and his family. RIP John.

Last edited by ec155; 7th Aug 2018 at 23:01.
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Old 7th Aug 2018, 08:44
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Such sad news. John and I were on the same ex-service 8 week CPL groundschool crammer at Kidlington in 1968 and he joined Bristow straight from there. Our paths crossed many times over the years that followed - a lovely guy!
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Old 7th Aug 2018, 14:54
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Sad news indeed. John was kind enough to contact me here on Prune about my books and even wrote some reviews on Amazon for me. We flew together in the Aberdeen in 75-6. Always a larger than life character and a great asset to the crew-room.

G :-(
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Old 7th Aug 2018, 20:49
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Thank you everyone for such nice, heartfelt comments of John. He loved flying and as you all rightly say, loved Bristow. For him it was a sad day when AB left the scene! The battle with his cancer was fought long and hard, but it is a disease that gives no quarter.

John's funeral is on 14th August at 12.30 at The Glynn Valley Crematorium, Fletcherbridge, Bodmin. If anyone would like to get in touch for more details, or let us know if they intend to join us for this "final" goodbye, please contact me on J&[email protected]

If there are any other stories about time spent with John, we would love to hear of them.

Sandy and family
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Old 7th Aug 2018, 22:46
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Sandy, I'm so sorry to hear your sad news about John. I met him in 1966/67 when he was a young Royal Marine student in 707 doing his Wessex 5 conversion at Culdrose. Like most students he had to work hard to get good results but nothing stopped him having a smile on his face! I thought he would have stayed in the marines for ever but obviously Bristow was calling & it's so good that he enjoyed his time there. After many years without contact, I'm glad I caught up with him on PPRuNe a few years ago. Unfortunately being in Australia I can't attend his funeral but wish to pass on my condolences to you & the children.
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 00:02
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Hello Sandy,

As i mentioned on a previous post, John was my line trainer in Aberdeen in the early seventies. I was the youngest Helicopter pilot in the North Sea at the time. When I sat my Line Check with him, when we arrived on the rig after the outbound sector, he very formally told me I had passed my Line Check, which, of course, I was very pleased about. On the inbound sector, after we had completed the after take off and cruise checks, he said “You have control” and left the cockpit to go back to the cabin to chat with someone he knew. You have no idea how much of a confidence booster that was to a young copilot to be left alone in the cockpit in control of a S61N for what seemed like a very long time.

I also remember going on an air test with him following an engine replacement which involved simulated singe engine flight. During this flight, he said there was no point in simulating it and promptly shut down the engine not under test to demonstrate what real single engine flight was like in the aircraft.

Both these events would nowadays be considered totally unacceptable but, for me, gave me so much insight into what my job was really about. That is was what I call good training.

P.S. Today, I drove my son and his family back to Aberdeen airport after visiting my wife and me before they flew home. As we passed the Bristow complex, my grand-daughter asked me, “Grampa, did you ever fly with Bristow?”, to which I replied, “Yes I did, many many years ago.”; and at that point, John's face appeared in my mind immediately.

RIP John. Sandy, my thought are with you and your family.

Last edited by HughMartin; 8th Aug 2018 at 00:13.
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 00:32
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Very sorry to hear this news. John was one of those people that always just seemed to have been there in Aberdeen forever - from the early days to the hugely successful operation it grew into under some very capable hands, including his. Thoughts are with all the family.
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 05:48
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Hi Sandy, unlike some of the posters like Hugh, I knew John for only a short time when he came to fly with us in the twilight of his career as a contractor with CHC. A cruel combination of economics, spurred on by the ambitions of the new generation of baby Captains, saw men like John, with their immense experience, shovelling into the left hand seat as co-pilots to young Captains, some of us who had really only just learned how to spell the word “Helicopter” For some, this was a difficult transition and a test of character that they struggled to pass.

John approached it very differently. He had a unique way of influencing his Junior Captain with a combination of humour, paternal guidance and care that simply surpassed all the complexities of modern cockpit relationship theories which we now call CRM. I always tell people that a good oppo for offshore operations is a storyteller. Someone who has lived a full life and enjoyed. it.John was the perfect companion in this respect. I felt John was happy in his work and very comfortable in his own skin. Most of all he loved his Cornish Pasties and I remember we were given one for lunch from one of the rigs and it was so substandard in Johns opinion that it filled the whole flight home telling me what should have been inside that pie (I am Northern).

Men like John get missed badly when they pass and I hope other Rotorheads can share some more anecdotes of John to help you all through this most difficult time.

Best Regards DB
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 07:54
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Hi Sandy, I knew John in my Aberdeen years when I went from First Officer through Senior First Officer to Captain. I think that Hugh and Double Bogey have put it very eloquently. John had a great cockpit manner. He had the experience and ability to put you at ease even if you made a complete mess of a rig approach in your early months in the job. He also knew if it was a bad day or if you needed more help. He could criticise without making you feel bad. John did my first Captain’s line check.

John put years and his heart and soul into this industry. Thankfully, I know he has left some behind for the rest of us. I hope that we can contribute as much as he did. I am a long way away so I won’t be able to make it to his funeral in person but I will be thinking of the great character he was.
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 13:57
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Hi Sandy, It was a complete shock to hear about John, our heart goes out to you and your family. It has been wonderful reading all the tributes to John and the many points made about the confidence he gave to others. All so true and this was extended to all - pilots, engineers and aircrewmen. John was also a brilliant SAR pilot who kept me safe on several awkward SAR jobs at Lee on Solent and I remember with pride the Chapmans pool rescue off Dorset, when he received one of his awards.

John was larger than life always smiling and pleasant to everyone. So proud to be one of the guy’s lucky enough to have worked with him. So sorry we won’t be able to make the funeral Sandy, but I am sure you will understand why. Our thoughts will be with you on that very sad day.
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