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    DON'T BE LATE

    DON'T BE LATE

    Here's a great P-3 story I was told the other day:

    I remember being stuck on Cocos Island with an unserviceable weather radar. We weren’t very keen to fly back to Darwin in peak thunderstorm season without it. A plan was formed for another P-3 to meets us on the island, and we would transit back in formation with the other aircraft providing us weather call-outs.

    During the long transit back we discussed plans with the other crew to meet up at one of the many excellent restaurants on Mitchell Street in Darwin. Using one of the P-3’s many communications systems, a table was booked for 7 and the plan for a good night was set.

    On switching to Darwin Approach we were informed that a fighter jet had taken out the arrestor cable on the runway and that delays were to be expected. We would be number 23 to land!

    We had plenty of fuel to hold, but this meant we would almost certainly miss our dinner reservation.

    Morale was low.

    But not for long - I looked out the window and saw oil leaking at an alarming rate out of No. 3 engine. I quickly called this to the attention of the Captain who immediately shut down the engine. After reporting our emergency to ATC we were given immediate priority to land and skip the queue!

    We made it to dinner with 10 minutes to spare, and the crew of the other aircraft in our formation arrived two hours later. They were convinced we made the whole thing up!