Just jotting a couple of thoughts about out time as trainee army pilots at Point Cook Airforce base.

Recall we were treated very much as second class, being army on and airforce base (by general personnel – not by our instructors, who were tops).

Recall talking about what we wanted to do and Andy Westman said he wanted as many engines under him as possible.  That was a new idea to me.  I just wanted to skim over the land like an aerial motorbike.

One instructor at the outset said he didn’t want trainees with bad habits. He wanted a blank sheet to work on. I thought “that’s me”.  I really had not thought about how to fly.  Couple of minutes straight and level in my brother’s second hand Auster was the reason I joined the army.  Later when I had been scrubbed and I came back to see mates at end Andy fessed up that he had a fair bit of training before (that he had not admitted).

At a written exam

, signals or communication or meteorology – I forget, I sat in the front and when papers were handled out with multiple (4) choices per question, bugger me if I could see the indent marks from a paper that had been on top, presumably the right answers chosen by the instructor.  I looked around and wondered if it was an honesty test.  I figured it wasn’t, and anyway the questions were hard for me so I just followed the indented ticks.  I though this is gonna look funny so I messed up one question.  When we got the results there was awe from instructor and mates that I only had one wrong. And some smart alec chimed in that it was an easy one.

There was an open cockpit plane on stilts down the back, maybe reject from a museum.  I went down with a leather helmet, took out my top and bottom false teeth and gave a gummy smile and thumbs up for a photo and it did the rounds captioned “Sleep week, your airforce is ready to defend you”.

A Navigation Instructor we had was Al Pinches.  I had a neutral impression of him. He did his job, that’s it.  But a couple years later I read he was missing in a Canberra bomber over Vietnam. I thought that was end of that.  Then when I was at Griffith Uni Asian Studies he turned up as amature student couple of years after me. He had had a wing shot off, ejected, and rescued next day.  Traumatic encounter with potential capture.  I don’t think I ever said hello to him.  Those days essays were marked and scattered around a big desk in admin and when I went to collect mine, one caught my eye cos of all the red annotations. It was Al’s paper something about Vietnam and the marker was Prof Colin Mackerras, who is extremely soft on communism.  Hilarious to read the comments. Al had had rough treatment and Prof was telling him he was biased. You betcha!

: https://www.coulterexergy.com/archives/1845

No comments yet.