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Old 08-12-2018, 03:39 PM   #207
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Tocumwal, NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,157
Default Re: tell a Model A related story

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 macramé 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.
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