Originally written by TC 1999
Muz was the best.
A guy I could trust
and who took the time to listen to me
when talking needed to happen. I’m still
here because of the help and advice this
great man provided.
VRD (Victoria River
Downs cattle station up in the Northern Territory) was
going full swing during the early
eighties – not a Robinson R22 in sight
as they had only just been invented.
Muz wasn’t chief
engineer but he was “The Man” on the
mighty Lycoming TVO435 engine which we relied on for
up to 2K hours per mustering season in
the Bell 47G 3B1.
A typical Muz deal
was the night one of the “slaves”,
involved in greasing and checking the
machines while we had a shower and
troughed in the Pilots’ mess, started a
machine without refilling the engine
oil. It seized expensively in 45 seconds
at about 1930.
While one team
pulled the engine out, Muz and his
offsider Mick pulled a bunch of serviceable
parts off the shelves, built up an
engine from scratch and had it painted
and running in the test truck at 0330
am. We heard it.
The other machines
departed that morning at our usual time,
following the glowing exhaust stacks of
the lead machine until the sun came up.
The re-engined machine joined us at
0900! Muz had done it again.
It’s tough on
people who live on an isolated station
for 9 or 10 months of the year. Sure –
there was a small school for the kids,
the mail plane came thru, I could
radio/telephone home on the Flying
Doctor radio once a week if I wasn’t
flying and Captain ‘Slasher” and his dog
flew the jet black company Navajo with
the prancing stallion on the tail up to
Darwin for urgent stuff. However, around
October the Monsoon heat and humidity
not only effected the helicopter
performance, it also caused the
occasional ruckus on the ground.
One day of the
season (we didn’t know one day from the
next as it was a seven day/9 month
operation) Muz blew. What a sight –
evidently there was a bit of stirring
happening and Muz was being incorrectly
and indirectly blamed for things which he had nothing
to do with. I didn’t know that some of
the words Muz knew existed as he spread
them around the hanger that afternoon
like the fiery darts out of a Catherine
wheel at a firework display.
Muz stormed off
into the engine overhaul shop with a
dozen tinnies, locked the door and
disappeared for the night.
Next morning he
came striding into the hanger – and I
He was wearing a
white tee shirt he had nicked from
somewhere and with a wide brush he had
painted a big red target on the back.
Perched on his
shoulders was the contraption he had
made while brooding in the engine shop
With the perfection
and style of a trained sculptor, he had
welded up some old crashed helicopter tail boom
chrome molly tubes to make a frame and
out on the LH and RH outriggers he had
fitted two giant truck mirrors – to see
who was going to stab him in the back
(verbally) that day.
There were no
problems after that.
Mighty Muz working his
magic on a Bell47G4
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