Darcey (second from right)
(Click on image
for a detailed caption)
passed away in Brisbane on 11 March 2006 after collapsing during
a game of tennis with friends. Prompt medical support failed to
Kevin Pavlich remembers: "Dean was one of the three or four
people who joined Adastra around 1958 after missing out as RAN aircrew.
He joined our crew on Anson VH-AGA as camera-op and was with us
in Nov/Dec 1958, and Jan/Feb/March 1959. I didn't crew with him
again until he was again camera-op with us in Hudson VH-SMM and
Hudson VH-AGS in late Aug. and early Sept.1960. I think he left
not long after this and went into DCA as an Air Traffic Controller.
He was at times hilariously funny. In a place called Corowa, I saw
Bill Mitchell doubled up on the floor laughing at Dean's antics
and being unable to get up off the floor. Dean was a plus to crew
After leaving Adastra, Dean served as an Air Traffic Controller
at Port Moresby and Lae for many years.
During his time in PNG, Dean penned the classic satirical poem "The
Port Moresby Gliding Club". Although this poem has been widely
shared and enjoyed, it is not generally known that Dean was the
author. The poem is based on a factual incident involving a PNG
Government Beech Super King Air (pictured) with "too much air
in the tanks". The poem is presented here as a tribute to Dean
THE PORT MORESBY GLIDING
A group of young
Met at a local pub
To talk about a common love
"The Port Moresby Gliding Club"
Their membership was very low
The running costs were high,
They needed some dramatic act
To catch the public eye.
"I've got a good idea" said one
"Been planning it all day
I'll try it out tomorrow
When coming back from Lae."
The flight to Lae was wonderful
The aircraft right on track,
They had no reason to suspect
The drama coming back.
Their business done - they climbed aboard
One had a bulging bilum
The Captain chuckled to himself,
"The last ten miles will thrill 'em
This trick will have no impact
If I fill her up with fuel
I'll take enough for Top of Climb
And glide in from Mount Yule."
They flew along as smooth as silk
With not a single jolt
But as they got to Galley Reach
Both donks ground to a halt
The Captain said "Thank Christ they've stopped
They make a dreadful din
I'll now complete this exercise
And glide this bastard in."
A glider is a lovely thing
You see them everywhere
Some metal - others wood and glue
But never a KINGAIR
With noses flat against the glass
The victims watched in horror
And none of them had any doubt
They'd all be dead tomorra
He held her on the centre-line
He called the Tower and said
"For Christ's sake make me number one
I'm landing straight ahead"
He put it down right on the "keys"
And made sure he was clear
Then smilingly he turned and said
"I think we need a beer"
"The Aero Club looks very nice
Looks like it's just been painted"
But there was no-one to answer him
The bloody lot had fainted
Wes turned and looked him in the eye
He said "Thank Christ that's ended
It really won't surprise me
If your licence is suspended!"
Those passengers we've got on board
Look like they're in a trance
But now you must excuse me
Cos I think I've shit my pants"
When Joe Wal heard it on the phone
His hands flew to his head
His eyes stood out like organ stops
"F*** me" was all he said
But when he heard the details
Of this history making flight
His eyes lit up with interest
And he thought of it all night.
For Joe had always longed to fly
Although it made him dizzy
But this bloke here could show him how
On days he wasn't busy
So Joe signed up on the spot
They headed for the pub
Now Joe's the latest member
Of the Moresby Gliding Club
Sir Jules picked up his phone and heard
A voice known far and wide,
"This Grumman that arrives next month
- I wonder how they glide"
by Dean Darcey
(The above presentation
of Dean's poem was revised slightly on 21 October 2006 after the
Webmaster re-discovered an old typed copy which had been in his
collection for many years and is therefore probably closer to the
original version as penned by Dean. Revisions were mostly in the
area of layout and punctuation.)
See also The
Sick Bag Story