Not a joke, more a story.
[CASA is the Australian 'CAA']
On the phone Ron seemed like a reasonable sort of bloke. He reminded me of the need to do a flight review every two years. He even offered to drive out to look over my property and let me operate from my own ALA.
Naturally I agreed to that.
Anyway, Ron turned up last Wednesday. He said he was surprised to see the aircraft outside the homestead as the ALA was about a mile away. I explained that being close this strip was more convenient. Actually there are power lines across it at the half way mark but it is really no problem because at the half way point you are always 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 again. Because he was watching me closely I walked around the plane three times instead of my usual two. My effort was rewarded as the colour returned to Ron's cheeks, in fact they went bright red.
In view of Ron's obviously better mood I told him I was going to combine the test with my requirement to move three poddy calves from the home paddock to the main herd.
After a bit of a chase I caught the poddy calves and threw them in the back.
We climbed aboard and Ron started nagging about weight and balance calculation. Of course I knew that was a waste of time as the stock like to move around a bit. However I did reassure Ron that I keep the trim wheel Araldited in the neutral position so we would always remain stable.
Anyway, I started the engine and cleverly minimised warm up time by tramping on the brakes and gunning her to 2500 RPM. I then discovered that Ron has very acute hearing. Through all that noise he detected a metallic rattle and demanded that I account for it.
Actually it began last month and was caused by a screwdriver that fell down into the fuel selector mechanism through a hole in the floor.It jammed the selector but as it was on ALL
TANKS I figured it didn't matter. However Ron was obviously a nit picker, I blamed the noise on vibration from a stainless steel thermos I keep in a beaut little possie between the windscreen and the Magnetic compass.
My explanation seemed to relax Ron as he slumped back in the seat and looked at the cockpit roof. I released the brakes to taxi out but unfortunately the plane gave a leap
forward and spun to the right, Hell I thought, not the starboard wheel chock again. The bump jolted Ron into full alertness. He looked wildly around just in time to see a rock thrown by the propwash disappear through the windscreen of his new Commodore.
While Ron was busy ranting about his car, I ignored his requirement that we taxi to the ALA and instead took off under the powerlines.Ron did not say a word at least not until the engine coughed at lift off, then he screamed OH
"Now take it easy" I told him firmly, " that often happens and there is a very good reason for it." I explained patiently that I usually run the plane on standard Mogas but
one day I accidentally put a few gallons of kerosene in .To compensate for the low octane of the kero I siphoned a few gallons of Super Mogas in and shook the wings up and down a few times to mix it in. Since then the engine has been coughing a bit but in general it works fine.
At this stage Ron seemed to lose all interest in the test. He pulled out some rosary beads,closed his eyes and became lost in prayer.I selected some nice music on the ADF to help him relax. Meanwhile I climbed to my usual NoSAR No Details cruising altitude of 10500 feet.
On levelling out I noticed some wild camels heading into my improved pasture, I hate camels and always carry a loaded .303 rifle clipped inside the door. We were too high to hit them but as a matter of principle, I decided to have a go through the open window.
The effect on Ron was electric. As I fired the first shot his neck lengthened 6 inches and his eyes bulged like a rabbit with mixo. In fact, Ron's reaction was so distracting that
I lost concentration and the next shot went through the port tyre. Ron was a bit upset about the shooting, probably one of those pinko animal lovers I thought, so I decided not to tell him about our little problem. 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 flap, cut the power and commenced a side slip down to 500 feet. About half way through the descent I looked back to see the calves gracefully suspended in mid air.I was going to comment on this unusual sight but Ron had rolled himself into the foetal position and was emitting high pitched squeals.
At about 500 feet I levelled out, but for some reason we continued sinking. When we reached 50 feet I applied power and that helped quite a lot. As luck would have it, at that height we flew into a dust cloud caused by the cattle and went IFR. I made a mental note to consider an instrument rating as soon as the gyros are repaired.
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 minute". Sure enough about a minute later we emerged,still straight and level at 50 feet.
Admittedly I was surprised to notice that we were inverted. This minor tribulation forced me to fly to a nearby gully in which I did 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 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 came on so I knew we were slow enough. I turned steeply onto a 75 foot final and put her down.
Strangely enough I always believed you could only ground loop a tail dragger. Halfway through our third loop Ron at last recovered his sense of humour.
Talk about laugh.....I've never seen any thing like it; he couldn't stop. We finally rolled to a halt and I released the calves. I then began picking clumps of 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 in order to fly home. It was then that Ron started running.
The last time I saw him he was off into the distance with arms flailing in the air and still shrieking with laughter. I later heard he was confined to a psychiatric institution.
Any how that's enough about Ron: I just got a letter from CASA withdrawing, as they put it, the privilege of holding a licence to fly.
Now I admit that I made a mistake in taxying over the wheel chock but I can't see what else I did that was so terrible. Can you?