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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NO......!


Remember my blog entitled 'High Altitude Landing'? Diplomatically, my advice to the Panglima, Regional Air HQ, Kuching, about airlifting of building materials for the construction of a rest house on Mount Kinabalu was '......not viable'. Crudely....'NO'. He accepted my view.

Nuri pilots, I've been emphasizing in my blogs that you must know your own limits as well as the nuri's. If you think that the given task might endanger your life and the passengers, then....say so. Don't ever think that you're invinsible!

There was a second  incident when I firmly said 'No' to a request - diplomatically, of course.

Flashback.....

One night at Labuan......I was at home when I received a call from Base Ops Room (BOR). I was told that the Boss (was it the CO or OC Flying ? You've to forgive me - mind you, it was about 26 years ago) asked me to attend a meeting at the Naval HQ, then at Labuan, the same night. Well, as ordered, I went to the Station and saw my Boss  was already there. Others included naval  and army officers. We were briefed  that the Paskal - RMN special force - alleged that they heard what sounded like a helicopter flying over Terumbu Layang Layang (TLL) ; also known as Station Lima. However, they  were unable to confirm since the night was pitch black.

The Regional Naval Commander (RNC) wanted to reinforce his Paskal there. And......your guess is right! What better way to transport the additional troops if not by the faithful nuri? Well, the  RNC wanted me to have one nuri ready to fly the Paskal that night. My reply was simply but diplomatically 'Not Advisable'. As you can expect, he was shocked at my response! I explained to him that the nuri was not equipped with night flying equipment. Yes, we carried out night flying but then, it was mostly from airfield to airfield. And, mostly on a clear night.

But to fly for 1 hour 30 minutes towards open sea in  a totally dark night ........that was  a different ballgame altogether! If it was on moonlit night, then it was not that bad; the flight might be possible. How was I to know of the weather en route there? There was no weather radar in the nuri - don't talk about night vision goggles those days. And, remember, even the Paskal themselves at TLL could not see the so-called 'helicopter'! Well, that was my view. On the other hand, if he wanted the nuri to fly on the first light the next day, then it should be no problem. Of course, subjected to the weather again. One thing for sure......I really respect the weather of Sabah - the most unpredictable natural phenomena.

Of course, the other aspect was that the request must come through the proper channel (I didn't say it out). Meaning......my Boss! He had to get the approval from our Panglima at Kuching.  I suppose my Boss accepted my reasoning and he must have briefed our Panglima  immediately after the briefing.  After all, both the Panglima and my Boss were formerly nuri pilots, too. They understood what I was talking about.

After the briefing, I went back home and had a good sleep. BOR didn't disturb my sleep the whole night. Meaning......no nuri tasking to TLL that night or early the next mornng.  I'm not sure whether the navy sent the reinforcement using the naval ship; I'm not privy to this information.  In fact, till today I don't know whether it was really a helicopter that flew over TLL that night, or what was the  cause of the helicopter-like  sound!

Nuri captains, whatever tasking given, the final say is still in your hands. You, and you alone, is responsible for your actions.......!

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