We were doing
a magnetometer survey with the Anson aircraft based in Oakey,
Taroom and St.George in Queensland. Due to operations requirements,
our crew had changed.
The engineer and pilot had been replaced, as they were required
for other aircraft types. Bob Rennick (Nav) and myself remained.
Bill Wiltshire was now our engineer. He was 60 plus, a very capable
chap and fitted in well. He was also an ex pilot and had flown
in India for a while.
Bill also had a few amusing quirks. The weather at the time in
St.George was extremely hot so Bill would wear shorts and sandals
while doing work on the Anson. He had a habit of washing his work
clothes and sometimes his undies in the fuel drains that were
collected after water checks. The Anson would look like a clothesline
at times and the props were a favourite hanging place.
Our pilot (name withheld in case of embarrassment), decided to
wash his flying suit the same way. The following day, he spoke
to us about the danger of smoking near aircraft. He was the only
one who smoked!
We took off and once airborne he lit a cigarette. A little time
later, Bob and I noticed his sleeve behaving like a fuse. There
was much slapping to put it out.
October 21, 2004