Gunung Korbu - the second highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia
Well, I think it was some time in early 1980 when my task was to send supply to the ground troops. I was then still with No 3 Squadron, RMAF Butterworth. If I am not mistaken, the LP was at about 5000 ft high somewhere around Gunung Korbu. It was occupied by a squadron of MSSR - the commandos. I really cannot remember the pick-up point -
it could be either Lasah or Ulu Kinta. Lasah.
The task was the first supply for them and I was the first pilot to fly there. They were there not for mountain climbing exercise but to chase the communist terrorists. When I first saw the LP, my goodness....it was so tight....well...well below standard! I expressed my opinion to the OC (Officer Commanding), through the HF radio, on the condition of the LP. To make the situation more unfavourable, after a quick recce of the LP, the only approach available was from 'uphill'. In other words, I had to make a 'tail-wind' approach. Logic will tell you, normally the wind will always blow from high to low ground, not vice versa.
Basically, all approaches for landings and take-offs should be executed 'head-wind', ie, facing the wind. This relative wind condition would increase the aerodynamic forces of "LIFT", whereas 'tail-wind' would reduce "LIFT". To put simply, just like flying kites. The kites will be lifted into the air with the wind from the opposite direction. Of course, you still can land and take-off in this condition, however, you must be......EXTREMELY CAREFULL!!
The OC came back to me with the promise that he would improve the LP for the next resupply. But for that day, he told me that he needed the rations badly. Before I took off from the pick-up point, I enquired who the OC was at the LP. When told of his name.... I knew him. He was Mej Ahmad RAshit of SSC 12 Intake, I think. I used to squat in his room during 13 May 1969 Tragedy at the Officers Mess, Sungai Besi. He was then with 5 RAMD.
For you my friend, I would try. Syukur to Almighty Allah, I managed to land safely and the rations were offloaded. The LP was so tight, so much so, I could not even make a turnaround - just 'ngam-ngam'. I had to execute a tail-wind take-off. Throughout my flying career, this was the tightest of all LPs...! Before taking off, once again I reminded my friend to ensure that the LP was big and safe enough for the nuri to land for future resupply. He promised me that he would surely improve the LP.
In May 1980, I was posted to No 10 Squadron as Flight Commander....an end to all those adventurous flying. My new area of flying coverage did not include Perak state where the actions were. Let others have the chance to be heroes too. Maybe those top brass felt I needed a good rest.
In August On 19 July 1980, if I am not mistaken, I was told that a nuri had crashed at that LP......! It seemed the nuri crashed while lifting off from the LP with troops on board. The tasking was troops pull-out from the LP. Syukur Alhamdulillah, no casualty.....aircrew and the passengers were safe. When I went there as the President of the Board Of Inquiry, the OC had kept his promise.....the LP was big enough for nuri to manoeuvre. But, of course, he could not change the natural terrain of the mountain. Approaches and take-offs still had to be done 'tail-wind'.
The nuri was salvaged later on by an RAAF heavy lift 'Chinook' helicopter which airlifted it to
AIROD, Subang. Ipoh.
In memory of my friend, the late Lt Col Ahmad Bin Rashid, OC of the commando squadron in the story, who passed away in a road accident on his way back to his unit at Kuala Kubu Baru from Malacca. Semoga Allah cucuri rahmat kepada roh beliau....Al Fatihah.
Readers, my humble apology if you find incorrect data. Please inform me through your comments and I will take necessary action to rectify it, InsyaAllah. You must remember this is a recollection of events that took place 29 years ago and I have to rely solely from my memory.....!
Nuri pilots, .... KNOW YOUR LIMITS AND NURI'S AS WELL!!
Note: Updated on 6/7/14.