There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

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CharlieOneSix
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There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#1 Post by CharlieOneSix » Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:35 pm

Those of a certain age may remember Stanley Holloway reciting the story of how Albert Ramsbottom and his parents visited the zoo. Young Albert was swallowed whole by a lion in an unfortunate incident.

It appears he survived and became a co-pilot with British Airways Helicopters based in Sumburgh, Shetland. He flew the S61N helicopter servicing the platforms and rigs in the Brent Oil Field.

This true incident happened in the dark of a winter's morn many, many years ago. FD2 was flying for BAH at the time but I hasten to add he was not involved in the story. I'm indebted to him for the copy of the poem below. With all the huge amount of metal on an offshore platform it was usual to switch your compasses from slaved to DG whilst on deck as otherwise they could be highly inaccurate when you took off. It was normal to put the heading bug to your heading on landing as a reminder of the correct setting. For whatever reason Albert and his Captain did not realign the compasses before take off. As with nearly all northern North Sea helicopter flights they were on maximum payload and minimum fuel.

FD2 emailed this to me:
It was night in the East Shetland Basin and they forgot to align the compass to a near correct heading and either didn't switch to compass after take off or just didn't do a rough check with the E2. Either way there was a massive discrepancy between their heading and what it should have been and they were several miles downwind to the east before they discovered the problem. As they were right on minimum fuel for Sumburgh they worked out it was Norway or bust.
A couple of comments - there is a little bit of artistic licence - there is no way they had been flying for 3 hours before they discovered their error......and if you expect to find a woman behind every tree then you've never been to Shetland where virtually no trees exist......but on with the story.....read it as Stanley Holloway would have done it......
. The Tale of Albert Ramsbottom
(Reproduced as a timely reminder to those who've been there, and a caution to those youngsters who haven't - yet)
.
You've 'eard tell of young Albert Ramsbottom
And `ow `e were eaten by t' cat
then regurgitated just after
and you may think that that were just that —

Well Albert continued 'is learnin'
And turned out to be really bright —
The subject 'e found `e were best at
were 'elicopter theory of flight

To fly the North Sea was t' ambition
of this lad from the Lancashire slums
and 'e 'eard of an outfit at Gatwick
wot were run by unprincipled bums

BAH were the name o' that Comp'ny,
they were quite short o' pilots at t' time
so they gave to young Albert some training
and declared 'im ab-initio — on line

Now women were vital to Albert
(wot with 'im bein' batchelor free)
so they posted 'im northward to Sumburgh
where there's one be'ind every tree

Now when Albert stepped off the budgie
the weather were sunny and waarm
so they gave 'im a Captain to fly with
and assured 'im 'eed come to no 'arm

So Albert were 'appy in Shetland
Wi' ev'nins o' squash an' more beers
`e thought 'e might even be 'appy
to stay there another ten years

But winter were comin' round t' corner
Wi' fog, wind, more fog and some rain
No sweat for a young lad like Albert —
It were just like home summers again.

It 'appened one day in December
Our lad `e were workin' on 'A's
(that don't mean you 'ave to fly early,
you just get first choice of delays)

`E picked up 'is brief from Op'rations
the usual standard, no more
weather from six hours beforehand
locations from ten days before

'E worked out 'is plannin' quite carefully
the figures 'e passed back to Ops;
the Captain should be 'ere just shortly,
the charters are circlin' on top.

The Captain arrived and changed t' fuel state
The weather ('e said) wasn't good
('e were right, as they both found out later)
'ow 'e knew Albert never understood

The Captain, `e then took young Albert
to t' coffee bar just up the way
"If tha wants to get hands on t' controls, lad
it's two coffees and your turn to pay!"

Ops finally got it together
The flight was all ready, they said,
but no one had told t' engineers yet
and t' aircraft were still in the shed.

Some time later they boarded the aircraft
later still and the start crew arrived
even later and most things were working
(if I'd said 'all' you'd know that I lied).

They taxied across the main runway
for a passenger spot at Wilsness
nineteen pax, eighteen seats and no loader
"by gum" said our lad "what a mess".

One last problem could be air traffic
they'd face yet another delay
but they're told if they look where they're going
they're clear to take off straight away.

So dodging the charters on finals
they vibrated their way into t' blue
all went well till they reached Kilo 50
and narrowly missed Watchdog Two.

The Brent was it's usual confusion
the paperwork quickly built up;
refreshments provided by Alpha
(cold black coffee in white paper cups).

The return trip were goin' quite slowly
and soon it were perfectly plain
that young Albert's plannin' were faulty
and they might not see Shetland again.

They'd been flyin' for over three hours
when suddenly Albert exclaimed
"I think this 'ere kite's flyin' backwards,
but I don't see how I can be blamed!"

The aircraft continued to travel
and seein' the sea in their track,
the Captain were restive wi' Albert
as 'e didn't know 'ow they'd get back.

At last they saw land down beneath them
and the Captain (a lad wi' some skill)
made an excellent landin' wi t' wheels up;
bent t' hull in two places but still.........

They found that they'd landed in Bergen
and Management gave them both hell
but t' Captain told Albert "Don't worry,
we can claim for a dinner as well!"


Anon.
The helicopter pilots' mantra: If it hasn't gone wrong then it's just about to...
https://www.glenbervie-weather.org

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#2 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:56 pm

Well there was "Wrong Way" Corrigan but he was incorrigible and his course intentional and then there was that Varig 737...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varig_Flight_254

Did the Sumburgh bound sinners survive their meeting, without tea and biscuits, with the Chief Pilot after they had found their way back from Bergen?

And please tell that the "wheels up landing business" was poetic licence! :-s
A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kin you can play jacks. Girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it.

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#3 Post by CharlieOneSix » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:38 pm

TheGreenGoblin wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:56 pm
.....Did the Sumburgh bound sinners survive their meeting, without tea and biscuits, with the Chief Pilot after they had found their way back from Bergen?

And please tell that the "wheels up landing business" was poetic licence! :-s
FD2 will have to answer those queries - I suspect the wheels up was poetic licence though!

The story above about Albert Ramsbottom and British Airways Helicopters(BAH) ended with the realisation they could claim for dinner and it reminded me of this....

In the very early 80's I was flying S61 helicopters for British Caledonian Helicopters out of Aberdeen. I could never understand why, when returning VFR to the airfield around 1230 -1300, many miles out to sea I was often able to comfortably overtake similar type BAH helicopters. It was eventually made clear to me that, unlike us in our Company, BAH crews could claim a lunch allowance if they landed back after a certain time around lunchtime.
The helicopter pilots' mantra: If it hasn't gone wrong then it's just about to...
https://www.glenbervie-weather.org

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#4 Post by G-CPTN » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:51 pm

You just have to know the system.

I moved from a company that had strict allowances according to 'rank' within the company (if you dined with senior executives you were on 'actuals'), otherwise you could find that you couldn't afford to eat in the hotel that the company had booked you into.

At my new company I asked about expense limits and was told 'whatever is necessary' - in effect 'everything when you were away'.
My boss would buy a carton of cigarettes and a bottle of whisky as soon as we arrived at the departure airport, and all entertainment (theatre or whatever) was considered a necessary expense when overnighting.

On one occasion I booked a first class airline seat as all standard class seats were taken and it was paid without question.

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#5 Post by FD2 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:40 pm

There were individuals who were very inventive as far as meal allowances were concerned. Ops generally knew when a flight in from the Auk or Piper was taking a few minutes longer than usual, but for the sake of harmony didn't say anything! These pilots were certainly not embarrassed by being overtaken inbound by other companies... ;))) A couple of minutes late off, slow on deck, cruise a couple of knots slower. Cheeky buggers!

I later met one of the crew of the S61 which ended up in Norway and he went on to have a long career with Bristow and retired somewhere nice and warm. I don't know what the punishment was at the time (about 40 years ago) but it may well have been in the 'learned about flying from that' category (which we have all experienced at some time),with a loss of seniority and, knowing Alan Bristow, a posting to some God awful place like Nigeria for a few years. He was actually a very talented and capable pilot. I can imagine the hysteria it would generate nowadays.

Wheels up - that didn't happen on that occasion I think, but did happen from time to time. One pilot did actually break the forward (lower) anti-coll before he realised how close his bum was to the deck and was summarily dismissed, which meant a departure to work in hotter climes. That was later when the CAA began to take a much closer look at North Sea ops, which they'd been slow or very lax about in the early days, when it was up to the individual companies to set sensible standards.

I don't know who wrote about 'Albert' but can imagine him in his room in Sumburgh at night with the wind howling,rain pouring, nothing on telly...
The main thing is to take care of the main thing.

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#6 Post by Undried Plum » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:33 am

My muvver was a BBC Radio Drama speaker in the 1950s/60. At the beginning and end, and of each half term, I used to join her in the canteen which in those days was eye-level with the eaves of Broadcasting House, approximately at the end of the U-shaped building which is often shown on tv nowadays. I was just a kid.

A frequent joiner at the table was a sound engineer, Stan.

He fernobably trickled me under the tiblebold.

I blame me drivel hereabouts on Stan.

Burpypardoad.

Here's a Tony Stan example of what he told me.


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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#7 Post by Pontius Navigator » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:11 am

Knowing the system is all. We used to have Rates in the RAF. More than 5 hours away a grateful a Air Force woukd pay you a minute amount of money for lunch. No prizes for rushing there, dropping off the mail and rushing back. They served a fine lunch at Bawtry Hall.

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#8 Post by Woody » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:25 am

As we’re on about aviation dining experiences, does anyone remember the “ Chaps Canteen “ in the Queen’s Building, where there always seemed to be a Bridge game taking place :D
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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#9 Post by AtomKraft » Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:50 am

There may be a woman behind every tree in Shetland....but as their aren't any trees...

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#10 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:55 am

AtomKraft wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:50 am
There may be a woman behind every tree in Shetland....but as their aren't any trees...
I went to a ceilidh on the mainland while staying on Veila some years back, when I cut a finer figure of a man, all the better to strip the willow, and there seemed to be a sufficiency of pleasant women who didn't seem too shy about coming forward. No trees as you say, the GA Cougar was damaged at Tingwall in a howling summer storm and the Arctic terns were foul but I would go back like a shot, howling wind, and cold not withstanding. The winter darkness is something I am not sure about though!
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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#11 Post by AtomKraft » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:22 am

It's a funny place, but nowhere near as much fun as the Orkneys.
The Shetlanders are funny too, but in a very strange way.

It might be inbreeding......with the sheep.

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Re: There are those who have done it - and those yet to....

#12 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:39 pm

In the 80's and 90's I spent a lot of time over the years in Unst, the northernmost of all the inhabited islands in the British Isles. At that time the definition of a leisure centre was a sheep. They now have proper facilities https://www.srt.org.uk/centres/unst and the sheep have a quieter life. =))
TheGreenGoblin wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:55 am
...... The winter darkness is something I am not sure about though!
The shortest day of the year in Lerwick has only 5hrs 49 minutes of daylight..... :-q
The helicopter pilots' mantra: If it hasn't gone wrong then it's just about to...
https://www.glenbervie-weather.org

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