I am writing to you because I need your help to get me
****** pilots license back. You keep telling me you
got all the right contacts. Well now's your chance to
make something happen for me because, mate, I'm ******
But first, I'd better tell you what happened during my
last flight review with the CAA Examiner
On the phone, Ron (that's the CAA) seemed a
reasonable sort of a bloke. He politely reminded me of
the need to do a flight review every two years. He
even offered to drive out, have a look over my
property and let me operate from my own strip.
Naturally I agreed to that.
Anyway, Ron turned up last Wednesday. First up, he
said he was a bit surprised to see the plane on a
small strip outside my homestead, because the ALA
(Authorised Landing Area) is about a mile away. I
explained that because this strip was so close to the
homestead, it was more convenient than the ALA, and
despite the power lines crossing about midway down the
strip, it's really not a problem to land and take-off,
because at the halfway point down the strip you're
usually still on the ground.
For some reason Ron seemed nervous. So, although I had
done the pre-flight inspection only four days earlier,
I decided to do it all over again. Because the *****
was watching me carefully, I walked around the plane
three times instead of my usual two.
My effort was rewarded because the colour finally
returned to Ron's cheeks. In fact, they went a bright
red. In view of Ron's obviously better mood, I told
him I was going to combine the test flight with some
farm work, as I had to deliver three poddy calves from
the home paddock to the main herd.
After a bit of a chase I finally caught the calves and
threw them into the back of the ol Cessna 172. We
climbed aboard, but Ron started getting onto me about
weight and balance calculations and all that crap. Of
course I knew that sort of thing was a waste of time
because, calves like to move around a bit particularly
when they see themselves 500 feet off the ground! So,
It's ****** pointless trying to secure them as you
know. However, I did tell Ron that he shouldn't worry
as I always keep the trim wheel set on neutral to
ensure we remain pretty stable at all stages
throughout the flight.
Anyway, I started the engine and cleverly minimized
the warm-up time by tramping hard on the brakes and
gunning her to 2,500 rpm. I then discovered that Ron
has very acute hearing, even though he was wearing a
****** headset. Through all that noise he detected a
metallic rattle and demanded I account for it.
Actually it began about a month ago and was caused by
a screwdriver that fell down a hole in the floor and
lodged in the fuel selector mechanism. The selector
Can't be moved now, but it doesn't matter because it's
jammed on All tanks, so I suppose that's Okay.
However, as Ron was obviously a nit-picker, I blamed
the noise on vibration from a stainless steel thermos
flask which I keep in a beaut little possie between
the windshield and the magnetic compass. My
explanation seemed to relax Ron, because he slumped
back in the seat and kept looking up at the cockpit
roof. I released the brakes to taxi out, but
unfortunately the plane
gave a leap and spun to the right. ****** hell I thought,
not the starboard wheel chock again.
The bump jolted Ron back to full alertness. He looked
around just in time to see a rock thrown by the
prop-wash disappear completely through the
windscreen of his brand new Commodore. Now I'm really
in trouble, I thought.
While Ron was busy ranting about his car, I ignored
his requirement that we taxi to the ALA, and instead
took off under the power lines. Ron didn't say a word,
at least not until the engine started coughing right
at the lift off point, and then he ****** screamed his
head off. Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!
Now take it easy, Ron I told him firmly. That often
happens on take-off and there is a good reason for
it. I explained patiently that I usually run the
plane on standard MOGAS, but one day I accidentally
put in a gallon or two of kerosene. To compensate for
the low octane of the kerosene, I siphoned in a few
gallons of super MOGAS and shook the wings up and down
a few times to mix it up. Since then, the engine has
been coughing a bit but in general it works just fine,
if you know how to coax it properly.
Anyway, at this stage Ron seemed to lose all interest
in my test flight. He pulled out some rosary beads,
closed his eyes and became lost in prayer. (I didn't
think anyone was a Catholic these days). I selected
some nice music on the HF radio to help him relax.
Meanwhile, I climbed to my normal cruising altitude of
10,500 feet. I don't normally put in a flight plan or
get the weather because, as you know getting FAX
access out here is a friggin' joke and the weather is
always 8/8 blue anyway. But since I had that near miss
with a Saab 340, I might have to change me thinking on
Anyhow, on leveling out, I noticed some wild camels
heading into my improved pasture. I hate ******
camels, and always carry a loaded .303 clipped inside
the door of the Cessna just in case I see any of them.
We were too high to hit them, but as a matter of
principle, I decided to have a go through the open
window. Mate, when I pulled the ****** rifle out,
the effect on Ron was freakin electric. As I fired
the first shot his neck lengthened by about six inches
and his eyes bulged like a rabbit with myxo.
He really looked as if he had been jabbed with an
electric cattle prod on full power. In fact, Ron's
reaction was so distracting that I lost concentration
for a second and the next shot went straight through
the port tyre. Ron was a bit upset about the shooting
(probably one of those pinko animal lovers I guess) so
I decided not to tell him about our little problem
with the tyre.
Shortly afterwards I located the main herd and decided
to do my fighter pilot trick. Ron had gone back to
praying when, in one smooth sequence, I
pulled on full flaps, cut the power and started a
sideslip from 10,500 feet down to 500 feet at 130
knots indicated (the last time I looked anyway) and
the little needle rushed up to the red area on me ASI.
What a buzz, mate!
About half way through the descent I looked back in
the cabin to see the calves gracefully suspended in
mid air and mooing like crazy. I was going to comment
on this unusual sight, but Ron looked a bit green and
had rolled himself into the fetal position and was
screamin his freakin head off again.
Mate, talk about being in a ****** zoo. You should've
been there, it was ****** funny!
At about 500 feet I leveled out, but for some reason
we kept sinking. When we reached 50 feet I applied
full power but nothin happened; no noise no nothin.
Then, luckily, I heard me instructor's voice in me
head saying carby heat, carby heat. So I pulled
carby heat on and that helped quite a
lot, with the engine finally regaining full power.
Whew, that was really close, let me tell you!
Then mate, you'll never guess what happened next! As
luck would have it, at that height we flew into a
massive dust cloud caused by the cattle and
suddenly went I.F. ****** R, mate. BJ, you would have
been really proud of me as I didn't panic once, not
once, but I did make a mental note to
consider an instrument rating as soon as me gyro is
repaired (something I've been meaning to do for a
while now). Suddenly Ron's elongated neck and
bulging eyes reappeared. His mouth opened wide, very
wide, but no sound emerged.
Take it easy, I told him, we'll be out of this in a
Sure enough, about a minute later we emerged, still
straight and level and still at 50 feet.
Admittedly I was surprised to notice that we were
upside down, and I kept thinking to myself, Christ I hope
Ron didn't notice that I had forgotten to set
the QNH when we were taxiing. This minor tribulation
forced me to fly to a nearby valley in which I had to
do a half roll to get upright again.
By now the main herd had divided into two groups
leaving a narrow strip between them. Ah! I thought,
there's an omen. We'll land right there.
Knowing that the tyre problem demanded a slow
approach, I flew a couple of steep turns with full
flap. Soon the stall warning horn was blaring so loud
in me ear that I cut it's circuit breaker to shut it
up, but by then I knew we were slow enough anyway. I
turned steeply onto a 75 foot final and put her down
with a real thud. Strangely enough, I had always
thought you could only ground loop in a tail dragger
but, as usual, I was proved wrong again!
Halfway through our third loop, Ron at last recovered
his sense of humour. Talk about laugh. I've never seen
the likes of it. He couldn't stop. We finally rolled
to a halt and I released the calves, who bolted out of
the aircraft like there was no tomorrow.
I then began picking clumps of dry grass. Between gut
wrenching fits of laughter, Ron asked what I was
doing. I explained that we had to stuff the
port tyre with grass so we could fly back to the
homestead. It was then that Ron really lost the plot
and started running away from the aircraft. Can you
believe it? The last time I saw him he was off into
the distance, arms flailing in the air and still
shrieking with laughter. I later heard that he had
been confined to a psychiatric institution poor
Anyhow mate, thats enough about Ron. The problem is I
got this letter from CASA withdrawing, as they put it,
my privileges to fly; until I have
undergone a complete pilot training course again and
undertaken another flight proficiency test.
Now I admit that I made a mistake in taxiing over the
wheel chock and not setting the QNH using strip
elevation, but I can't see what else I did that was a
so ****** bad that they have to withdraw me flamin
license. Can you?