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Originally written by TC 1999

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 "My mate Muz"

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 mean striding!

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 that night.

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

True story


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