The Ford Barn

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-   -   tell a Model A related story ( 08-05-2018 06:34 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

I have written a short story each day for some time now. I am about to depart to spend time with my old mates and will be out of range of internet. I expect to be back in a few days. cheers, gary 08-09-2018 09:41 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

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Re the story I wrote on the 5th August.

An explanation on loosing oil from the sump. I explained the oil system some weeks back but for those who missed it here it is again.
The Pratt and Whitney radial engine has a dry sump. Oil collects from the cylinder tops, valves and rockers plus the crank case, in a small sump at the forward and bottom of the cylinders, between cylinders 5 and 6. You'll see this in the picture below. From there it is pumped to the oil tank which is attached to the airframe and that holds about 9 gallons. It was at this collector tank from which I lost the plug and therefore not a great quantity of oil was lost.
You can see a Pratt badge adhered to the collector sump. Engineers and others steal these as they are collector's items. 08-09-2018 09:51 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story


Cylinder number one is the 12 o'clock fellow. They are numbered in an anti clockwise rotation as that is the way the engine turns. English engines rotate in the opposite direction and thus those aeroplanes require left pedal (rudder) on take-off to counter the torque. (opposite to American aeroplanes)
My model A engine rotates the same way as English engines as does every engine I have ever hand cranked.
Why are American aero engines contrary to all other engines. I don't know but maybe someone might respond with a logical reason. 08-10-2018 01:52 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

Morundah in the fog ( in the late 80’s.)

One winter’s morning I was to start a spray job for a farmer near Narrandera, about a 30 minute flight north. Mike Quilter. Before daylight I called Mike to enquire about fog. It’s clear Mike reported. So I departed.
North ofJerilderie fog was forming and soon everything was foggy. I called home but my wife Patsy said fog had formed there too and Mike had called to say the same. I called my friend Robby Robbilliard in Griffith and he too said fogged in. It was fogged in as far as my UHF radio could transmit and receive. Except Morundah. A little island in the sea of fog. Well the sun will be up soon and it will dissipate I told myself. But Morundah was getting smaller and smaller so the only decision I could logically make was land there. I checked out the streets of this tiny town, population maybe 30 and noted the power wires. I made an approach and landed under one wire. A woman I had once met took pity on me and took me to her home where I waited in comfort to the fog to clear. It did so at 4 in the afternoon. 9 hours after I landed. Fuel wouldn't have endured that long. I got away in a 300 foot cloud base. Never become too familiar with fog or under estimate it's hazard.

The above story happened years ago but was written only about 3 weeks ago. I continue today, 10th Aug 2018.

I was driving past Morundah on Tuesday and thought it be a good idea to call by just for a look and maybe I’d even get to speak to the kind woman who sheltered me on that foggy morning.
Well the town has changed and not for the better. There’s no money there and houses are now quite dilapidated. Many small agricultural towns have gone in a simular way but perhaps not as badly as Morundah. I spoke to a couple of blokes working on a motor car. The bloke a little bit past middle age had grown up in Tocumwal which is where I live. He can well remember the aeroplane landing here in Morundah . He also spoke of his son living in the US and flying for United. The younger bloke aged mid thirties grew up here. He said he was 5 when that incident occurred. He didn’t remember it but his folks had told him. The kindly woman had passed which made me sorry I hadn’t stopped by years before and spoken to her.
I have a love for dogs. Good dogs, working dogs and fun dogs as indeed my hound Woofa was. He provided me much pleasure and gave me a reason to get out of bed when I wasn’t working. I frequently tell my wife Patsy that when I arrived home Woofa would wag his tail and not his tongue. Well the older man had a hound. A Kelpie cross. A fun dog. It chased shadows, literally and barked vigorously at them. It had me entertained for quite a while and I left humoured.
I enjoyed talking to those two blokes. Aren’t farming and rural people great. Friendly and honest in their thoughts. Being a crop pilot I have enjoyed working and mixing with them for a working life time. I always feel comfortable with them. 08-11-2018 02:10 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

Working with cloud.

The lowest cloud I ever worked in was south of Jerilderie on the property of Stuart Rochford. Spreading urea. Visibility of about two miles and very little wind. But the cloud was almost on the deck.
I would turn over trees. Very low. The lower wing had about a 20 foot margin but part of the top wing was literally in the cloud. The job took about and hour and a half. I payed strict attention to every thing. Didnít blink. I was pleased when I finished and relaxed enroute home.
Another unusual cloud / work job was at Binjour Plateau near Mundubbera Queensland. Spraying peanuts. The crop was grown to the edge of the plateau and cloud formed just below that level because of rising air. Itís known as the condensation level. At the end of the run I had to quickly descend about 100 feet, do a 180 turn then climb back and make minor adjustment to my track then continue to spray. I just loved working at Binjour. A tightly knitted farming community and they were fun and laughter and pranks.
It is worth my saying that I used to position or fly cross country in very low cloud. Vis had to be good. That was most important. Today my attitude and practice has changed. Mobile phone towers have been erected all around the country and it would be certain death to continue the practise. Thatís accommodating changed conditions and of course one must adapt.
I once worked in Far North Queensland every wet season. 24 inches of rain in 24 hours was occasionally possible and I once experienced 84 inches in 3 days at Mossman which is north of Cairns. After all my experience in the south of Australia I was reluctant to even taxi the aeroplane where it had been wet for fear of becoming bogged. However in the north here one could actually land or take off in water provided of course it was shallow. Water would be flung high infront of the aeroplane. Quite alarming to start. Talking about water , it is possible to water ski the aeroplane on water. At speed the water is hard and it is not possible to penetrate. It sounds crazy doesnít it but itís not difficult and quite safe. When I was younger Iíd do this down the irrigation channels. I was tipped off the water authority was after me so I stopped this practice.

All of that stuff is behind me now. When we age wedo get a bit boring donít we. 08-11-2018 02:45 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

Two stories today.

Newly Overhauled Engine Fails at Nagambie. (Sometime in the mid eighties.)

I had taken my radial Airtractor 301 to Melbourne for an engine overhaul. It was ready to be picked up so I had my friend Peter Menhennit fly me down in my Cessna 180 to collect it.
We were returning home, flying in loose formation and the new engine started to surge. I had experienced this years ago and knew it was metal particles upsetting the prop governor. The engine was breaking up. Fortunately I had crossed the hilly and timbered country and now was in a cropping and grazing area. I made a decent to a farm track and landed. Peter wondered why I was “wasting time when daylight was closing in” and continued onwards. I watched my aeroplane disappear and could do nothing about it. Here I was far from home, nowhere to stay the night and no wallet nor money.
Now to cut to the chase. A motorist gave me a lift to the parents of a farming client I had at home. It was well and truly pitch now and the lady of the house was most reluctant to open her door. She called her husband John and shortly I was admitted and treated with the greatest of hospitality.
Over dinner we talked about the incident and the predicament I was in with no cash on my person. Well it was simply a retrieval exercise I explained.
Now here comes the punch line.
The lady says “so you went to Melbourne without any money?”
“Who do youthink you are? Royalty?”.
I laugh about that when I recall the incident. Not only the question but the enquiring way she said it. 08-12-2018 03:39 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

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I’m here to Feed the Pilots, not you.

I was one of eleven pilots firebombing in northern Victoria, a national park, a place called Patchewollock. We started mid morning and had a short stop in the early avo. A fire department bloke had arrived with a box of sandwiches and a carton of cool drinks. The eleven of us were lined up and when I put my hand into the box of sandwiches I was rejected. I looked at the bloke and he told me he was feeding only the pilots. I said that I was hungry and had left home in NSW at 3 that morning to get to Ballarat and here at Pachewollock.
Again he said no. By this time I was attracting the attention of the other pilots and this yes/no back and forth retort continued for a few seconds more. Then someone said “you’d better feed him, he’s a pilot”. The fire bloke retorted “he doesn’t look like a pilot to me”.
Well it went like this. The pilots were dressed in flying suits. They had wings and badges and flags and names sown to their “top gun” look alike dress. They had crash hats, some with flags and names and painted ornamentation. Gary had elastic sided boots, shorts, working shirt and straw hat. I suspect I had considerably more experience than any of them but I just didn’t look the part. Yes I got sandwiches and drink but given with some uncertainty.
I saw the sandwichman the following day and he reiterated again that I just didn’t look like a pilot. The aeroplane I was using is the Dromedarie pictured below. I should write a story on this aeroplane.
Today the fire departments require pilots to wear fancy gear. This is a safety requirement they say. I reckon safety is dictated by the gray stuff between the ears.
I am to retire in 6 weeks after 50 years of cropdusting and other associated work including fire bombing. If I was to return to operating aeroplanes again (being the contractor) I’m afraid I would not have the qualifications required today. One has to be smart in ticking boxes and hanging framed achievement awards and qualification placards on the wall. An award for macramť hanging on the wall would also help. The world has gone silly.
Foot note.
One thing changed since writing this story. An operator I've done a lot of work for has asked me to stay just one more year, to which I have agreed. Retirement in now one year away. 08-13-2018 05:36 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

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I have taken lessons on enlarging my pictures and have succeeded partially. I do find computer programs complex and have been messing for some 3 hours now and am exhausted. If you click on this image at least it will expand sufficient enough to get a good gander.
the story will follow immediately. cheers, gary 08-13-2018 06:22 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

One of a Kind.

Tamworth is a large regional town in NSW with a population of 45K. It is central to the New England region and located inland and in the north east sector of the state.
It seems every town needs an event to “put it on the map”. This varies from mud crab races to camel races and of course horse races. Some towns have competitions and festivals. In Tamworth’s case it’s the Country Music Festival. It’s a big crowd drawer and the population swells to excess of 100K during this week.
There are competitions for various vocal and band awards and many other events as well. One includes the best car in the parade. The ute in today’s story, lets call it one of a kind or abbreviated OOK, the name plagiarised from Johnny Cash’s song of course.Well this ute carried a celebrated competition winner in the street parade. She was seated on a bale of hay. The vehicle was awarded second prize the owner feels a Toyota would have won as the judge was a national identity sponsored byToyota. He is John Laws, otherwise known as “golden tonsils”.
The owner lived in Melbourne and I intercepted him on the Newell Highway, enroute home. It was compiled from motor car junk he had acquired from no place in particular but the very basically a Model A. It’s too long ago to recall just what other vehicle parts it wore. Just look at the wheels, check out the spare on the right which he needed to climb over to enter and exit. The headlights, it goes on and on. The rust in the boot cowl and other parts of the body. It was quite legal in Victoria as a roadworthy inspection is required only when one acquires a vehicle. Cops continually stop him to check. Nosey bastards.
In addition to the ute being unique the owner too was a card. A slow talking, dry humoured bloke. Regrettably I’ve forgotten his name. Jed Clampett and his ute wouldn’t have held a candle to this bloke.

Do click on the picture in the story below and it will expand for a better view. 08-14-2018 02:26 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

Tomorrow I have written my thoughts on my job and working life. It has been interesting working life and I hope you find it interesting too.

mercman from oz 08-14-2018 04:05 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story;d=1534156302
Here is a larger picture of the well worn Model A Ford posted above. 08-14-2018 06:12 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

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Looking Back.

Early daylight has arrived, just enough to see. The aeroplane accelerates down the strip, tail lifts, main wheels lift and I free. My own world. I have command of a modern cropduster aeroplane. Pratt powered. These days no anxiety about engine failure with these modern turbine engines.
No movement in the air. Beautiful. I love this job, Iíd not swop it for quids. What a good decision to fly ag. I climb out. Love it. I feel privileged. The eastern sky is becoming pink.
I land in a grass paddock. Farmer meets me. I love working for farmers. They are forthright and honest. No bullshit. They produce the food that graces my dining table. They donít make much money and frequently need to borrow to plant and maintain their crop. Itís shameful the nation shows little gratitude to these hard working fellows and their families.
I take the farmers instructions and my aeroplane is loaded.Again I am airborne. I love this. Flying across fields. Treating them with pesticides for a specific pest. Saving their crop, producing food and contributing to the national wealth. Or maybe spreading fertilizer or sowing rice seed.
The morning is about half way. The air is moving and becoming bumpy. I continue.
By late morning the wind has become nearly gale force. Difficult to control the aeroplane and uncomfortable to the extreme. If the job is rice sowing must continue and cannot be postponed. It is shot and growing. My morning mood has changed from one of pleasure and enthusiasm to that of displeasure. Why the hell do I do this job I ask myself.
I see jet trails overhead from slick airliners with engines developing 120,000 pound of thrust from each engine. Wish my backside was parked in that. Calm and comfortable, no drift and no wet airstrips.
Flying cropdusters is a love hate job. Great when all is straight forward and weather is good. Great when drift is not a problem.
I remember returning to Finley base one evening following a repetitious day. I spotted John Robertson digging a channel with his excavator. In a whole day he had moved about 40 yards. I was pleased to think my job was more active and exciting. Just a bit too exciting sometimes especially when powerlines and trees are in the equation.

How would I choose to spend a working lifetime if I was just now entering the workforce? Just the same, nothing different. I have loved controlling an aeroplane at high speed, low level with such fine control inputs. A constant challenge for improvement and precision. The opportunity to work in various parts of the country and the world.
I have enjoyed a somewhat privileged working life.

Now a footnote. It wasnít until I wrote short stories for the Ford Barn did I realise just how great my job in my chosen field was. 08-14-2018 06:20 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

I have sadly attended many pilot funerals. At times the poem of John Magee is quoted. High flight. I cannot find common ground on his first line below.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth.
So I wrote my own story. The love/hate aspects of being a crop pilot.
hope you enjoy it. cheers, gary

mercman from oz 08-14-2018 06:35 AM

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Model A Ford Phaeton and Bi-Plane

katy 08-14-2018 09:09 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

Thanks Gary for all the great stories. My working life was interesting and varied but not exhilarating, although I did get to go to a few different countries on mundane jobs, Russia (Siberia), China, India. 08-14-2018 03:58 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story


Originally Posted by katy (Post 1663108)
Thanks Gary for all the great stories. My working life was interesting and varied but not exhilarating, although I did get to go to a few different countries on mundane jobs, Russia (Siberia), China, India.

Well thanks Katy. I always or mostly always liked my job but hadn't realised what a good life I have had until about 2 months ago when I started writing these short stories.
If you were to write about what you have learned in your travels I reckon you too would realise what a good life you have had. Just try it. The countries you mention are not on the tourist track and they offer more than a beach side chair sipping silly drinks with little umbrellas sticking out the top. They also make you aware of just how lucky you are to live where you do. Just try a few stories. 08-15-2018 02:03 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

Today a sad story.

Computer skill acquisition is not Easy for us all. And Lars, who had everything going for him.

I could fly great distances and keep a perfectly straight line. This was not the case for Lars and I will come to that.
Lars, a personable fellow. He had started his working life as a bell hop and he knew exactly how to handle people. Perhaps one fault he had was that he told me what I would like to hear and not what I needed to hear. But I liked him, indeed everyone did.

Now back to maintaining a straight line. Well as I said Lars had difficulty doing just that. In 1994 I purchased the newly invented GPS tracking system and that changed things. Lars could track perfectly straight it didn’t matter how long the runs were. Another thing changed. It was now Gary now who couldn’t maintain a straight line. It was I who got ziggy zaggy and having great difficulty because of over correcting. Gary also had difficulty setting up the computer. Gradually my skill in the former righted itself but I still have difficulty in the later.
Some things change and some things never do.

Now back to Lars. One day Lars came to me and said “Gary, I’d like to fly airliners”. Go for it Lars I responded. He did. It took about three years of preparation. More than six months intensive study, then flying out of Algeria to gain twin engine experience and back to Australia flying for a third level airline. Then he made it, starting off as junior pilot in a Qantas 747. Lars married his childhood sweetheart, bought a small farm and a tractor, had a son and went for a ride on his motor bike around the great ocean road. Windy with spectacular views. He met a vehicle coming around the bend on the wrong side of the road. That’s where life ended for Lars.

An abrupt end. Like this story for there is no pleasant way to conclude it. 08-15-2018 09:08 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

This is yet another attempt to post a bigger size picture.
ANOTHER FAILURE gary 08-15-2018 10:52 PM

Re: tell a Model A related story

Treat people with courteousy and respect says Hugh.

I live on flat country, irrigation country, the Riverina. Water flows in channels for several hundred miles, that’s how flat it is. There is one hill. Mt Gwyne otherwise known as Mt Boomanoomana. I worked there some years ago for the owner named Hugh. Now Hugh started a quarry up the top of this little mountain which surprised me for I had figured it may have been deemed as “ a sacred site” by the local indigenous people. So I asked Hugh and this is what he told me.
They were invited out to inspect and stake any claim. It was December the 12th which is of course our summer. It was 9 in the morning and hadn’t yet reached100 (C) in the water bag. I invited them into my home, welcomed them and we drank a few stubbies. Well it was time to go and inspect so we piled into and onto the ute and off we drove. We didn’t quite drive to the top and we stopped to walk the rest, or we set out to anyway. We’d gone only about 200 yards when they declared they had no interest in the site. We drove home and finished off the carton.
I don’t find Aboriginal people difficult to work with pronounced Hugh. 08-16-2018 03:40 AM

Re: tell a Model A related story

No story tonight.

There will beno story tonight. I feel flat on learning of the death of Mike Wing. I had only known him for only 4 months and only by reading his writings in this forum. But like my professional buddies who are cropdusters I have formed some kinship with those who I have communicated with. I feel sad. Gary.

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