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Originally written by TC 1996

(This story is located at Google Earth: "HUGHENDEN" lat=  2048'57.82"S, long= 14413'36.91"E)

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Many many moons ago, I stopped for a couple of days helping out with some mustering in the Hughenden area of Queensland (OZ).

I was flying a Hiller12E which had a huge stainless steel muffler fitted to the mighty 8.8 litre 305HP Lycoming VO540.

Before I headed off for the 2,500 mile trip to Port Hedland in Western Australia to do some Uranium exploration, our company sent up an engineer and apprentice to do a scheduled 300 Hourly inspection on my machine.

Hughenden is inland, very hot, very dry and has a small airport with a sealed runway a couple of miles outside of town .

We were just buttoning up the machine when an OH58 (military Jetranger) landed outside the small passenger terminal looking for Jet A1 fuel. They had previously radioed ahead and now had to wait while the refueller drove out from town.

When I saw the four sprogs (they must have been on a Navigation Exercise) standing outside their machine in 50 oC heat coming off the tarmac, I figured that anyone who didn't know to go sit in the shade in that climate was some one we could have a bit of fun with.

So.... the engineer and I poured near enough to 10 litres of the old engine oil (Aeroshell W100) into the Hiller's big muffler and then added the Aeroshell 14 grease from the grease gun to make a thick hydrocarbon soup.

We double checked all was OK with the Hiller and then sent the apprentice over to say hullo to the sprogs.

The conversation went something like this:

"Gidday mate what's happening with the Hiller?"

" Oh - nothing much. TC said it was burning a bit of oil so we had a dekko at it and fixed it up before he heads off to WA."

Seeing the apprentice then giving me the secret sign - I cranked up the Hiller, engaged the clutch, and warmed it up at the lowest revs I could so that the engineer could check that all was OK. The grinning engineer gave me the all clear that there were no oil leaks and I then gunned off the Hiller into the huge orange setting sun at about 100 Ft AGL using the maximum allowable engine horsepower.

You can imagine the smoke screen pouring out the muffler exhaust pipe when the super hot gases hit the oily soup - they said it looked like a WWII destroyer trying to hide a whole battle group of ships.

The sprog's jaws dropped at the sight of the volumous cloud emitting from the Hiller and then they just about had a heart attack when the apprentice calmly and matter of factly pronounced:

"Yep - it looks like its going a whole lot better now!!!"

True story


Want to contribute your stories either anonymously or otherwise? Why not send me e-mail ! Your privacy will be respected - your contribution welcomed.


Tony carmody


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