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Friday, July 3, 2009

Flying Fatigue

The scene: One morning at Kroh Camp. The task: To pick up a casevac at an LP north of Kedah and offload at Alor Setar Airport.

The flight to the LP and offloading the casevac was uneventful. Halfway on the flight back to Kroh, I told the co-pilot to 'have control' since I felt so weak. I told him that I could not even lift my hand. I was just sitting helplessly!! The co-pilot informed BASO at Kroh that the aircraft captain was immobilized and gave the eta Kroh.

On reaching Kroh, an army ambulance was waiting for me. The co-pilot shut down the nuri assisted by the AQM who applied rotor brake. I was so weak, so much so that I could not even unstrap the seat belt; the AQM had to unstrap me. He then pulled me from the seat and the army guys put me on the stretcher. All I could remember was that the doctor gave an injection and I didn't know anything after that. When I woke up, it was already in the evening and I was still in flying gear, complete with flying boots and gloves.

The first thing BASO asked me was whether I needed a replacement. Well, so unlike me to say 'yes'. I told him 'no' and I'll be alright come tomorrow.........

Tomorrow..........the captain was forever ready to fly again!!

I supposed I was experiencing fatigue. Nuri pilot was limited to fly 7 hours daily, 60 hours monthly and 600 hours annually. In 1979 my annual flying hour was 650 hours and sometimes exceeded the daily hours. Futhermore, during these periods, we were flying in very adverse conditions.........CTs' main objective was to incapacitate the pilots in order to bring down the nuri.

In retrospect, I wonder why BASO or Butterworth Base did not direct the co-pilot to fly back to Base. It was just fortunate that there was no request from the army that day, otherwise RMAF would be in an embrassing situation.......nuri was available but no captain. Kapten pula dah jadi casevac....

2 comments:

Robert Rizal Abdullah said...

Squad,

Very interesting recollections. I never knew the problems you guys were facing in those days. Keep the stories coming.

zainal yan said...

Nor,
I like those numbers that to cited. in 1974 to 1978 I was a company commander operating mostly in the Ops Setia 7 area in Perak. My magic number is 226 days average in a year for jungle operations. I remember the number very well because my regimantal number is 410226