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by Wal Bowles


Bill Mitchell was known to have a stomach which did not take kindly to turbulence. He didnít fly except on transit flights, when he normally flew in the right hand control seat so he could see the horizon to help keep his own gyros stable. How he managed to carry out the following practical joke says much for his intestinal fortitude! Bill was flying in an Anson between Melbourne and (I think) Ballarat. The pilot was Bruce Sellick, whom I have never met, but he had the reputation of having a similarly sensitive stomach to Billís. Before the flight, Bill and Dean Darcey, the camera operator (and a natural born comedian), had planned this dastardly event. About midway between Melbourne and Ballarat and in moderate turbulence, Bill was looking particularly seedy, especially because the crew had had something of a session in a hotel bar the previous evening. Dean came forward from the cabin to the cockpit and Bill readily accepted Deanís offer of a sick bag. Bruce was attempting to ignore this conversation. Dean went back to the cabin after providing Bill with a sick bag and Bill went through the actions of being sick into the bag. Unbeknown to Bruce, Dean had emptied a can of diced vegetables into the sick bag and, coming back a few minutes later he took the bag from Bill, opened it, had a look inside, showed it to Bruce, commented what a good job Bill had done, then said ďWell, we canít waste itĒ, and he upended the bag and ate the contents! Of course Bruce was almost out the side window!

Wal Bowles
11th February 2003



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