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TehranFlightLine

I wasn't at our flight line often, but I think it was at the Ghale Morghi Air Base, now closed.

The twin engine Beechcraft was the one I flew in on my initial deployment to Kerman. The other aircraft is a De Haviland U-1a Otter, which were our workhorses in terms of support and resupply.

A couple of tales about Sid Wheatley (sp?) who was the otter pilot I flew with most often. His background was purported to have included flying mercenaries in the Congo, and being personal pilot to King Saud. In any case, if it had fixed wings he could probably fly it.

I first saw Sid at Kerman, a couple of weeks after I arrived. He was coming down from Tehran to provide support. The wind was blowing extremely hard straight down the runway, and Sid radioed to have a smoke grenade thrown out. The smoke stayed right on the ground. As he brought the plane in it looked almost like hovering (stall speed on an otter is under 60mph); it bounced a couple of times and came to a halt!

Another time a couple of us were taking a flying trip around major sites in Iran to tie them together with gravity measurements. We were in Tabriz for the night, and the next morning the wind was howling perpendicular to the runway (Tabriz had a typical pair of runways in a V-shape, but one was out of service for construction). The otter has a huge profile and tail surface, so Sid didn't want to try taking off. We spent another night, but the wind didn't let up or change direction. We told Sid that we really needed to get going, so he taxied out onto the runway, and we sat there really rocking. So, Sid did the unexpected: He taxied off the runway on the lee side, turned into the wind, and took off across the runway! At least that's how I remember it.
TehranFlightLine TehranFlightLine
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