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by Wal Bowles


Flying on oil survey, the slightest turbulence would result in a shaky magnetometer trace on the recorder. Surface cooling overnight results in a temperature inversion from ground level to perhaps 2000 feet above ground level. Flying conditions in the early morning at our flying height of 1000 feet were particularly smooth. When the sun rises and warms the earth, rising air from hot spots breaks up the inversion layer and conditions are then too unstable for magnetometer work. So our flying for the day would often be completed by around 7.30 am. The usual procedure after landing was to go to the hotel for breakfast, return to the aerodrome to refuel the aircraft and attend to any unserviceabilities, and our dayís activity was usually completed by about midday. Having readied the aircraft for flight the next morning, it was then back to the hotel for lunch and an afternoon sleep, remaining clear of the bar because of the next morningís early start. It was early to bed after the evening meal and very soon the 3.30 alarm clock would be sounding again. It might seem a disjointed day and it was, but itís surprising how attuned the body clock would become and, after about 2 weeks most people seemed to settle into the routine and we could function like this for months.

Wal Bowles
11th February 2003



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