Thursday, May 6, 2010

Innovative Pilot

When I look at this picture of Flt Lt Fauzi of No 5 Sqn then, refuelling his Alouette 111 at Long Semado, Sarawak, in 1970 ...

Refuelling using manual fuel pump

...reminds me of my colleague, a Gunship Pilot (GP). It was some time back in 1978 or was it 1979? while serving at No 3 Sqn, RMAF Butterworth. My tasking was sending supplies, both rations and 105mm ammo (ammunitions), to gun positions (GPs) of an Arty Bty at Sg Temin, Sintok. Sintok then was a 'hot' area. Nuri had  to be escorted by Aloutte gunship whenever operating in that area. Now, there is UUM and a 9-hole golf course!  

According to the tasking sheet, the task involved just the sending of rations and ammo to the GPs. A routine task and would not take long to complete the job. All that was needed to be done was to underslung the ammo and rations. On reaching the GPs, the load was released  and then we flew back to the pick-up point (PP), also the Bn Tac HQ, for another sortie. According to my calculation, by late afternoon I should be back at Butterworth Base.

Well...It didn't go as planned! The Bty never informed the tasking authority that there were hundreds of 105mm empty casings to be flown back. Frankly, it was no big deal at all except that  I had to plan the fuel requirements. So, by the time I  flew my last sortie from the GPs back to PP, it was almost last light. I told the GP that I was flying home. Night flying was not a problem for Nuri. GP told me that he, too, would fly home. He was not willing to night stop at PP. However, he had to refuel at least 1 x 44 gallon drum.

The problem was that my fuel pump was unserviceable (pic~a new version of the fuel pump). And, there was no manual pump either! He insisted on flying back and darkness was fast approaching. I was wondering how he was going to solve this problem. You know what his solution was? He asked the army guy for a rubber hose and dipped it in the drum. Then, my goodness... he siphoned the 'avtur' using the hose! His Alouette was refueled through this process. Of course it took some time to refuel a drum through this gravity process.

Anyway, once refuelled, it was already dark by the time we took off from the PP. He flew behind my Nuri all the way back. Fortunately, the night was clear of clouds and we could see the silhouette of Gunung Jerai.  We landed safely. The next day, the Boss 'invited' him to his office for a bit of 'chit-chatting' for his 'unauthorised' night flying back to Base. I don't think the Boss was aware of his refuelling technique.

Anyway, the Gunship Pilot is no longer with us anymore. Al-Fatihah.

Maj Gen Dato' Fauzi and Xxx Xxxxxxx...once again...Thank you.


Capt. Kamal Sanusi said...

Salam Tuan

Innovative, Initiative.

These two words would differentiate a person who has both.

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum tuan....

Now we have a latest motorized fuel pump...very powerful.
Do a running refueling 6 drum of avtur only take about 8 to 10 min.
Not bad huh..
So kepada 'RNZ' yg dah kalah 'bet' tempoh hari,jangan marah haaa...

Anyway,TQ for sharing your refueling experience sir !

Xxx Xxxxxxx

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

Dear Capt Kamal,

Whatever it is, the pulling power of home was too strong for GP.

Waalaikumussalam Saudara Xxx Xxxxxxx,

Bertuah betul aircrew sekarang. Peralatan semuanya termoden.

Anonymous said...

memang betul apa yg tuan katakan tu. saya amat bersyukur dgn apa yg ada sekarang..

tapi semua ni kami dapat hasil dari perjuangan di zaman tuan....

Xxx Xxxxxxx

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

Saudara Xxx Xxxxxxxx,

Sekiranya kita selalu bersyukur, InsyaAllah selamat dalam kehidupan ini nanti.