Smoking can be dangerous
In today’s The Australian, the Aviation section has an article on a book soon to be released by author and former Qantas director of public affairs Jim Eames, entitled The Flying Kangaroo. An extract
Then there was s humour and a larrikinism that Eames noted would not be tolerated in today’s highly regulated, closely scrutinised environment. These included the exploits of former RAAF transport pilot Ross Biddulph. Biddulph’s legend was born flying a DH-84 Dragon from Kainantu to Lae in New Guinea. After realising he’d left his Craven A cigarettes in the back of the plane, Biddulph, desperate for a puff, decided he would set the aircraft on a level cruise and dart through the cabin to retrieve them. “Apparently Dragons dislike people rapidly appearing behind the centre of gravity because the wretched plane reared up like a Wodehouse salmon and set course for Jupiter,” Biddulph wrote in a letter. “Almost immediately it stalled and, forgetting all about Jupiter, screamed straight down towards Nadzab (a PNG village). “Shortly afterwards I arrived in the flight deck area, spreadeagled against the instrument panel like a butterfly and covered in thousands of Craven As.’’ Worse for Biddulph was the fact that Qantas’s chief pilot in the region, Bill Forgan-Smith, was flying a DC-3 1000ft behind and above him.It’s behind the paywall but if you subscribe go read the piece. It is entertaining and a window into an earlier life
Great read. I paid $13.99 for the ebook which was released on November 1st.
Intriguingly, in the chapter about Skippy squadron, Eames covers Morrie Field’s account of my own Qantas RTA flight on 10th December 1970 (chapter 5, p 310).
If I had known what was going on at the pointy end of the 707 (VH-EAA – City of Toowoomba) at the time I would not have been as relaxed as I was.
Field’s full account (which he kindly allowed me to use) can be found on p166 of “Jellybeans in the Jungle”).
Any 7RAR personnel on the flight that day (mostly 15th intake Nashos) might be interested.