Looking at my personal log-book, I see that I first flew for Adastra
on 10 February 1967 in VH-AGS out of Sydney with Lionel, and lost
#1 engine. I flew the Cessna 206 VH-DGD until 17 April, then back
on the Hudsons. I spent a little time after that on the Aero Commander
VH-AGA and the DC-3 VH-AGU in May of 67, then back on the Hudsons
until my last flight with Adastra on 11 May 1968. This is when
I took Neil Edwards and his girl up on a 'fun' flight at Alice
Springs. (Neil was the Canadian chess champ in his past, and made
fools of Alex and I many a time on the chess-board out at Giles).
My first Hudson crew at Tennant Creek, April 1967 (replacing the
crashed VH-AGE), Left to right: Myself, Alex, Fred Bailey, and
Ian Davies. (I do remember that Ian Davies was born during WW2
while his parents were immigrating to Australia onboard an American
freighter which was under attack by a Japanese submarine!)
Alex and I arriving at Tennant Creek on 21 April 67. The mast
in the lower left of the picture was on top of the Adastra shed
where many of us lived at the airport. Personally, I slept in
the back of the aircraft.
(Given the tragic circumstances surrounding the loss of VH-AGE
just six months earlier, Rob acknowledges that this arrival could
have been less exuberant! ... Ed)
14 June 1967at Kununurra, reversal winds caused Alex and I to
go-around from 50 feet with full flaps and #1 engine shut-down.
A tree-top, down-town, level restart attempt with reversed mixture
controls nearly cost us our lives. As close to death as I have
ever been in an aeroplane, and there have been many near death
times for me, over the years!
15th November 2003
is currently Director of Operations and Chief Pilot for Panther
Air Express of Melbourne, Florida, USA.