Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fever and Flying


But first, let me put you in the correct perspective about myself. I do not smoke.....I do not consume alcoholic drinks......I excercise.....I lead a clean life, and I simply enjoy flying, OK? Syukur Alhamdulillah, at this age I still manage to pull the trolley for my daily round of golf and,  at least for the moment, tax payers don't have to pay for my medical bills.

The experience  I would like to share with you took place while I was serving as OC No 5 Squadron, RMAF Labuan - 26 years time has passed!

15 April, 1982. The task for the day was a VVIP communication flight from Labuan to Keningau and back. And, of course as expected, who else but yours truly was the pilot. Actually, for once I was not that keen to fly but I had no choice.

The day before the flight, both my Flight Commander and Training Officer were down  with fever and the doctor gave them 'attend C' - military term for medical leave. In the afternoon, I too,  was not feeling that well. Before closing shop, I informed the Base Commander that I might not be able to fly the VVIP the next day.

'Who else to fly then?'.....was his respond. 'One of the squadron pilots'.....was my reply. I had full faith in my pilots. However, from the way he sounded, I knew he was not happy and I knew that he wanted me to fly the VVIP myself. By the way, I was the only 'VVIP-endorsed'  pilot in the squadron then since I was a 'B-cat' pilot. I got this B-cat way back on 13 June, 1978 while at No 3 Squadron. To get a temporary endorsement for the aircraft captain was not a problem at all. I suppose it was an honour to be a VVIP pilot - flying  the King, Sultans, PM and all those classified as VVIPs. The difference between fixed-wing VVIP pilots and we, the 'egg-beater' pilots, was that those lucky pilots fly all over the world, while we fly the VVIPs all over the kampungs. You may also have a bright future or ........a disaster. I knew what I am talking about and I am not about to divulge what I had gone through when I was a VVIP pilot at No 3 Squadron........! (It got nothing to do with flight safety aspect). 

That night, my fever became severe and I had no choice but to go to RSAT (Rumah Sakit Angkatan Tentera) in the Base. The Medical Orderly (MO) called the doctor at the Officers Mess. He was unable to attend to me because he was busy that night.......watching film show! I think he must have prescribed the medicine to the MO since I was given the medicine. If I am mistaken, it was just panadol. No problem. I took it before sleeping and slept. The next morning, before the flight, again I swallowed 2 panadol and ......up..up and away to Keningau with the VVIP.

The problem came when I was about to land the nuri from the hovering state on reaching Keningau. I lost my sense of judgement....! I did not know whether the undercarriages were on the ground or head became so light. Anyway, I managed to land safely. Oh man....I was really sweating! When the VVIP and his entourage left the nuri, I slept.....really slept in the nuri. The flight back to Labuan was uneventful. The sleep really helped me.

On reaching home, my wife told me the doctor called the house enquiring my whereabouts. She told him that I had gone flying. I think he was worried. Well, I never called him and neither did he call me. The matter rest there.

Well, pilots, I survived to relate my experience so that, hopefully, you can benefit from it.


nawi said...

Saudara Nor Ibrahim,

Salam Aidil Fitri to you and Family.

Azlan, my son-in-law, a TM executive with aviation interest, has been following your blog for a while and to-day while we were having "sembang-sembang raya" he did mention about "xnuripilot" blog, though unsure of its author's full name. I suspected it was you and thus started the search which ends up with this little note to you.

I will always remember you as a remarkable officer, good pilot and surbordinate who would have reached greater heights if I were in the right position with the needed powers. You demonstrated credible, professional and undivided loyalty those days when you were under my command ( now you can make a guess ) though it wasn't too long ( less than 6 months) as I had to be posted out to command TUDM Kluang.

I retired from the RMAF 10 years ago last Armed Forces Day (16Sep), settled in Ampang Jaya as a full- time pensioner/golfer and part-time
businessman. Of course, there is no way to beat you in the golfing frequency but I join the Wednesday weekly golfing in Klang Valley and twice a week walking golf at Royal Selangor Golf Club.

I salute you for your tremendous effort in writing and sharing your great experiences as a pilot, especially of Nuri aircraft, the same helicopter which I first flew with the RMAF after my return
from US Army Aviation Centre, Fort Rucker, Alabama.

My doa' for your good health, happy retirement and golfing.

Salam to you and family.

Lt Gen Datuk Nawi Alias RMAF (Rtd)

Mobile: 0193252314/0162172314

Anonymous said...

Assalammualaikum wr wb.

I would like to congratulate you for the excellence blog you've developed as an eye opener especially to 'those' who continuously deniying the truth behind the scene you experienced as a pilot.

I'm a medical professional and senior enough to comment on your latest issue i.e. fever and flying. There is serious ethical issue moreso in your area of duty as a senior pilot for VVIPs. The 'medical specialist' have not acted accordingly. Reason 'watching film show' was absolutely absurd and totally unacceptable when an appointed senior 'VVIP' pilot is unwell. There should not be a over the phone ordering.

What's given to you by the MO? To be exact what medication? Was it really panadol? Why should one become so sleepy and lost judgement after hours on panadol?

The 'medical specialist' did the right thing to call your wife but he did the wrong thing because he called at wrong time i.e. the next day and he never called again since then though I assumed he felt guilty or worried enough. He should admit and apologise.

I hope all, 'world' or 'kampung' pilots, will read this blog and for the medical professional, please act professionally disregard your ranking.


Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Assalamualaikum Datuk,

I feel so elated to read this most flattering comment from my ex-Sqn Commander. Sir....Thank you. May I wish you, Datin Mani and the rest of your family 'SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI. MAAF ZAHIR DAN BATIN'.

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman & Siti Roffinii

nawi said...

saudara Nor,

It is indeed nice to receive your response and I am glad you, Siti and family are doing well and settled at a place close to where I served ( Kepala Batas Camp and TUDM Alor Setar) a total of almost 6 years of my service in the military.

Mani remembers you and Siti though she had no opportunity to be in the same base together with you and Siti during my tour with the RMAF.
She sends her salam to you both.

My doa for your and family's good health and success. Anytime if you and Siti Roffinii are in KL, my house is only 15 minutes from KLCC by Ampang/KL Elavated Highway (AKLEH), you are welcome.
Jitra and Ampang Jaya is just a phone call away.

Nawi Alias

Robert Rizal Abdullah said...


Your story is always very fascinating and interesting to read...this one, no exception.

Keep it up.