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Leg 04: Sumburgh (EGPB) to Bergen-Flesland (ENBR)

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ATWC SiX Leg 04

"You're always bl**dy late, Doc, what was it this time?"

Sam made me feel welcome, as usual: "Missed the connection at EGPE, sorry, mate!"

"Well, you're here now, make yourself useful and see that the jeep is stowed securely - the engines sound good, don't they? They're both reconditioned - almost new..."


Back in the cockpit, Sam was setting the NAV channels. He chivvied the tower into giving us clearance: "Why the b*gg*rs always want us to taxi to the active and not just take off from the apron beats me - every time..."


I completed the checklist and gave the collective a try out. "When's the last time you drove one of these?" Sam asked. 


Taxi-ing in a Chinook is more luck than judgement, a lot of the time, but we were soon making our way towards the runway. "Turn right onto the runway - you are cleared for take off", said the tower.


At 40 knots, the airframe started to feel a bit less cumbersome, and we were off. "Keep the runway heading and climb for a bit 'til you grab the radial..." Sam keeping me in line, clearly he knew how to stay on the right side of the Sumburgh crew.


Visibility still less than a couple of miles, but there's the radial, so we turn to 77 degrees for the OBA VOR.


At 2500, we're clear of the murk and can settle down to a steady 150 knots towards the rising sun.


"So, where did you pick this old crock up, then, Sam?" The Chinook still has its old US markings, so Sam must have picked it up at a Defense Depot, somewhere. "Got it on eBay", mutters Sam - he's got his lap-top out and busy typing up some business stuff. "You're kidding, aren't you?", thinking that surplus aircraft aren't that easy to come by. "No, eBay-dot-RU", he replies. Turns out that he's bought 5 Ch-47s from Chechnaya, had them delivered in containers, and this is the first one he's managed to get air-worthy. "This one'll carry 3 times as much as a Super Puma, cruise at the same speed, with 20% greater range. The rear ramp's big enough for equipment loading and it'll still carry more passengers. It's ideal for rig supply", he sounds so confident. "Yeah, but will it land on a rig?", I ask. "That's what you're gonna find out! We're headed for the Oseburg rig, one of Nor-Oil's main platforms. I've told 'em we can do it, so you'd better not prove me wrong, ol' buddy!" This is going to be interesting, I thought...

Some 45 minutes later, after we'd shared his thermos, Sam pointed ahead to a vague shape in the distance. "There she is, Doc - big, isn't she?"


Sam clearly has a different idea about size - I squinted ahead and could just about see the vague outline of the rig


After descending to around 250 feet, Sam said: "The main helipad's on the west side - don't try the other pad, last time I was here, they'd built a shed on it!" So, we approached slowly from the south - straight into the sun - brilliant!


The pad is compact and the Chinook noses into it gently...


We're down fairly comfortably on the ropes - and it starts raining. Sam leaps off to speak with the local management. He's really enthusiastic about this project and has put his life's savings into it. I'm optimistic about his chances, the CH-47 is a reliable work-horse, well suited to the job - it even floats, although I don't want to test that aspect, personally. 


While I'm waiting, I reset the NAV 1 for Flesland's VOR. The next section is less than 80 miles, so we should have dinner on dry ground - if it stops raining, of course.


He's back - and full of it: "They've bought it! They never thought you'd make it with this thing - they're gonna be sending the draft contracts to the office later today so that the lawyers can get it sorted. C'mon, let's get to Flesland and sort that end out." Strapped in again, we head out east.


The murk is still with us as we home in on the FLS VOR.


Sam's on the radio, most of the way, and we're soon getting vectors for an approach from the north. "There she blows!", shouts Sam as the runway lights glint through the sea fret.


I've not landed here before, so I'll observe decorum and approach as professionally as I can. Here we are on Long Final.


That's ENBR runway 17 ahead. Flesland is on Bjoroyfjord, a few clicks south west of Bergen on the only flat land in the area.


The tarmac looks dry and our approach speed is around 45 knots, so it's a good  thing we've got wheels, but let's not burst any tyres...


... ATC let that 738 in right on our heels! Certainly a place to stay awake.  Taxi-ing to the cargo area, trying to keep the undercarriage in one piece.


Ramp down and our transport ready to disembark. Sam's already in the terminal building, tracking down a spare meeting room to use as a temporary office. "Meet you in the cafe in 45 minutes", he promises, and I shut her down...


So, that's it, folks. Like i said, the snow in Inverness delayed the leg, but all's well that ends well, as the Bard said. Oh, yes, the Baton? It was in the jeep - under the driver's seat, Rob!

Thanks for flying Sam's Riggers! See you somewhere else Around The World for another Challenge-ing flight. :thum:

Cheers -Dai. :old-git:

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Ballsy landing the biggy on a rig like that.


What manufacture's chinook is that? I have Virtavia's ch47, and I love it... but the radio panel, and the entire interior for that matter, pales in comparison to yours.


Looks like I need to get on the ball arranging transport over there pretty dang soon. Still over in the states hauling cargos atm.

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Lovely stuff, Dai! It brought back many happy memories, even though the vast majority of mine were in a Puma rather than a Chinook.

It's also good to hear of a fellow entrepeneur - we truckies are often too little appreciated, I find. 8-)

Congratulations on both pictures and text,



a.k.a. brian747

(Brian's Charter)

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Loved it Dai, well worth the wait.


Like Geoff I tend to stay well away from the rotorcrafts, I always fear I'll end up on the wrong continent if I manage to get one in to the air, but this PIREP almost made me want to give it another try.....


To bad I just sold my Joystick, as I fear a Yoke is far from ideal for flying those death traps  ehm, beautiful means of transportation  ;)

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> " I fear a Yoke is far from ideal for flying those death traps  ehm, beautiful means of transportation..."


Well I've not yet seen a yoke yet that sports a Collective lever, so you're probably right, Micke!   ^_^


But your words and Dai's PIREP and beautifully atmospheric pictures have put me in a curiously nostalgic mood. Back in 1971 (I know, I'm old) a wise man called Harry Reasoner wrote a short article for the ABC Evening News entitled 'Helicopter Pilots Are Different'. That article contained so much truth that it has been reprinted many times since, but just in case you haven't read it:—


"The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by its nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or a deliberately incompetent pilot, it will fly.


A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying, immediately and disastrously.


There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.


This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why, in general, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed buoyant extroverts, and helicopter pilots are brooders, introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened, it is about to."


(The above was, of course, written during the Vietnam war — the extract above was reprinted in The MAC Flyer in 1977, but if you'd like to see the whole 1971 article in context, please go to http://www.nixwebs.com/SearchK9/helitac/harryreasoner.htm ). I might add that by the time I was frequenting helicopter squadron crew rooms in the early 80s every notice board had a copy of those words, along with the accompanying picture — a certain Capt. Ed Cooke produced the following telling image to accompany Harry's words:






It speaks for itself, really. But just in case it doesn't, here's some more accumulated helicopter wisdom:


Anything that screws its way into the sky flies according to unnatural principles. 


You never want to sneak up behind an old high-time helicopter pilot and clap your hands. He will instantly dive for cover and most likely whimper...then get up smack the crap out of you.


There are no old helicopters laying around airports like you see old airplanes. There is a reason for this. Come to think of it, there are not many old high-time helicopter pilots hanging around airports either so the first issue is problematic.


You can always tell a helicopter pilot in anything moving, a train, an airplane, a car or a boat. They never smile, they are always listening to the machine and they always hear something they think is not right.


Helicopter pilots fly in a mode of intensity, actually more like "spring loaded", while waiting for pieces of their ship to fall off.


Flying a helicopter at any altitude over 500 feet is considered reckless and should be avoided. Flying a helicopter at any altitude or condition that precludes a landing in less than 20 seconds is considered outright foolhardy.


Remember in a helicopter you have about 1 second to lower the collective in an engine failure before it becomes unrecoverable. Once you've failed this manoeuvre the machine flies about as well as a 20 case Coke machine. Even a perfectly executed autorotation only gives you a glide ratio slightly better than that of a brick. 180 degree autorotations are a violent and aerobatic manoeuvre in my opinion and should be avoided.


When your wings are leading, lagging, flapping, precessing and moving faster than your fuselage there's something unnatural going on. Is this the way men were meant to fly?


While hovering, if you start to sink a bit, you pull up on the collective while twisting the throttle, push with your left foot (more torque) and move the stick left (more translating tendency) to hold your spot. If you now need to stop rising, you do the opposite in that order. Sometimes in wind you do this many times each second. Don't you think that's a strange way to fly?


For Helicopters: You never want to feel a sinking feeling in your gut (low "g" pushover) while flying a two bladed under slung teetering rotor system.  You are about to do a snap-roll to the right and crash. For that matter, any remotely aerobatic manoeuvre should be avoided in a Huey. Don't push your luck. It will run out soon enough anyway.


If everything is working fine on your helicopter consider yourself temporarily lucky. Something is about to break.


Basic Helicopter Flying Rules:

1. Try to stay in the middle of the air.

2. Do not go near the edges of it.

3. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there.


And remember the fighter pilot's prayer:

"Lord I pray for the eyes of an eagle, the heart of a lion and the balls of a combat helicopter pilot."



I do have to admit that there were good times, too.   ^_^   You see, I was always in the left-hand seat. That means that I *wasn't* the one who was attempting to keep the thing in the air. (Indeed, helicopters are different)....





a.k.a. brian747

(Brian's Charter)

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As the actress said - Impressive chopper you have there. :thum:  :whis:


The Big Windy is my all time favorite helicopter, and the only one I have installed on my FS.


One or two of them fly over my house every week, and I just love the noise those twin rotors make.


Well done Dai! :D  

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O.K. - I'll 'fess up:

1. CH-47 'Chinook' by Nemeth/MilViz from JustFlight's Combat Helicopter Pack.

2. Sumburgh scenery by InstantScenery

3. Oil-rig by MS: "oilrig_01"

4. Flesland scenery by OrbX in FTX Norway (under review).

I'm working on a mission so you can all try landing on the rig - you have been warned!

Cheers - Dai. :old-git:

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@ JG: A harrier on an oil rig, sounds like a great way to start a fire  ;)


@Bruce/Brian: Great stuff, some of it I've seen before but those simple rules for Helicopter Flying I think deserves to be printed out, framed and hung on my wall ;)

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