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Old 09-11-2018, 02:19 PM   #257
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Tocumwal, NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,159
Default Re: tell a Model A related story

Ingenuity, Initiative, Enterprise and Leadership. Recognise these qualities of people in your community.

I was working out of Ingham in far north Queensland spraying sugar cane. This would have been about ’75. A Cessna 182 arrived towing a glider in accompaniment with an engine powered glider that had departed Tocumwal, some 1500 nautical miles to the south. Pilots Peter Menhennett in the Cessna, Bill Riley in the glider and Bert Persons in the powered glider. Little did I realise I too would end up living and working at Tocumwal in ’78 as an itinerant and being here ever since. The first Christmas eve I asked Peter, the bloke mentioned above, if he could fly me to Tullamarine airport (Melbourne airport). Peter said no not really, but he could run me to Essendon airport which was close by and I could take a cab. Why, what be the difference I asked. Well Peter explained he was familiar with procedures of arrival and departure out of Essendon but not Tullamarine. If he messed up at Tulla and an incident report would be created and the aviation authority, CASA, would find out he had no flying licence. It wasn’t worth the risk. Eventually Peter did get a pilot licence. He flew all my planes but didn’t do ag work in them of course. Not that I know of anyway.

My two sons Dennis and Michael’s first job was working at the Tocumwal gliding school with Peter and Bill Riley doing menial tasks and by saving their wages took lessons in flying gliders. Des Russell, Peter’s father in law, was their instructor. The next year I taught them to fly aeroplanes and they towed gliders under the supervision of Peter.They enjoyed working there and were well supervised by all the above mentioned people who provided not only supervision but leadership as well.
. Footnote.
Peter’s father in law was Des Russell. The gliding instructor and otherwise builder. He and Peter built my house near Tocumwal.
Eldest son Dennis accrued some 700 hours towing and second son Michael some 900 hours. Both have progressed on to fly airliners. . They both got their start from Peter, Des and Bill Riley. In the morning Dennis flies Sydney- Auckland- Brisbane and Michael does Hong Kong-New York.
Des had an aneurism and died near Tamworth, I returned him to Tocumwal. That was his last flight and landing at Tocumwal. Now that was sad. Bill too has passed. Sadly I don’t believe they got the recognition from the community that was deserved. And Peter, he remains our family friend and the boy wonder. You have to admire his courage and initiative don’t you.
Extra footnote.
One day Peter’s wife, Maryanne was flying to Darwin on the airliner and Dennis, just be chance was captain. Her seat was upgraded and she later told Peter that never again was she flying economy.
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