Its always been, unexplainably, that I often
can “feel” that something was/is/will happen.
Before I switch to a music radio channel I
can sometimes hum the tune which will first come through the
speakers; I look at someone and know that
their dream of a long life will not be fulfilled;
I know what has happened to/around the person calling me
when I pick up the telephone; I feel the
presence of someone I know well when they are near.
Its weird, its true and those around me
know it still occasionally happens - maybe I shouldn't
consume so much chocolate and South American red wine.
One of nature’s gentlemen, JB proved
to be an honest, reliable and
trustworthy helicopter maintenance
engineer with flying skills to
If you couldn’t see him in
the hanger or office, you knew he
was around the place as his floppy
eared brown hunting dog, Herby,
would be running all over the
airfield chasing birds, shadows and
JB often did long haul flights from
Caloundra to places like Darwin
(2000+kms) in the company's 1980
C210 VH-FFY to maintain us in the
Looking back now at some of
the rough bush strips he operated
into in the power sapping Outback
heat and humidity, I figure that his
flying and survival skills must have
not only been learnt well through
experience but also inherited from
his Ag pilot Father.
I had been out with Kiwi Mike for
about two or three weeks in the
Winton area in the 4 place Hiller
UH12E (see “The Pig”) and about mid
morning we were spraying Nogoora
burr in some river beds on Ayrshire
Downs - a sheep station way out
beyond the black stump in the middle
“ There’s the marker tree I finished
the last run at; down we go; airspeed hold 35 kts; spray valve
on; watch the tree branches coming
up above us to the right; watch out
for logs sticking up; can’t hit
anything at this speed and altitude
otherwise I’m stuffed; drift away
from a low tree branch with tail
rotor input; straighten up; pull the
rotor disc down as we go under a
telephone wire so the back of the
disc doesn’t hit it; check spray
boom pressure Ok; where did those
bloody sheep jump out from – they
nearly hit the spray boom; check the
engine oil pressure and revs; 15
minutes fuel left; spray off; lets
get up and out of here and get
another tank full of chemical and
some more fuel”.
were running through my busy mind on each
spray run while looking for the burr under the treeline as the
routine continued unabated.
Then it happened – I felt that JB
was close by.
Changing the VHF radio
channel from 1234.5 on which I
talked to Kiwi Mike back at the
loading site, to the local aviation
frequency I called “JB are you
“Is that you TC – where are you?”
came immediately back from JB.
out that he was straight above me at
10,000 ft enroute to Darwin in the
About six months later, back at
Caloundra, I was in the office and
felt something was not working well
for JB – who was away on another
trip and due back soon.
For some reason I ran out onto the
airstrip just before the distinctive
sound of the 210 on descent from
altitude made its presence known.
Sure enough, while I stood there,
the 210 did a low pass over the
strip and something came out the
window and landed beside me.
a flight plan wrapped around a
weight and on it JB had scribbled:
“Total electrical failure – can’t
check if the wheels have come down”.
JB at Townsville - fascinated by the
Military Caribou aircraft training