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Once Upon a Time - W. (Bill) Rabbie

Once upon a time, two keen Technical security Inspectors began a journey to inspect a far away Canadian Embassy. The journey began for myself and Ken Sutton from Ottawa International Airport. After loading our sealed diplomatic bags, containing our working kit of saws, hammers, pry bars and assorted scientific equipment we took off on one of Air Canada’s finest for Vancouver.

Our flight to Vancouver made its routine stop in Winnipeg. During this stop we followed instructions and deplaned to stand guard under the aircraft to observe the baggage hold. This was to ensure that no unauthorized persons who might be employed by Air Canada did not tamper with our highly classified (red) bags.

During this period of activity by the Air Canada ground staff, I noticed a large bulge in one of the aircraft's main tires. Assuming, (mistakenly), that the aircrew knew what they were doing I did not mention this to anyone other than Ken.

In due course we re-boarded and proceeded to take off for Vancouver. Just as we left the runway there was a loud bang from under the aircraft. Right away I knew that we had blown a tire. Shortly thereafter our intrepid captain came on the intercom to inform the passengers that there was a small problem with the aircraft, however, we would continue on to Vancouver.

On arrival over Vancouver airport we flew a low slow pass over the tower and after a few minutes the captain advised us to prepare for an emergency landing. As you all know this means tighten your seat belt and put your head between your legs?? One small problem then surfaced!

Being seated in the front row of seats we could see that the stewardess was having trouble keeping one of the galley cupboards shut. After a few tries she came to us and asked if we had any cord or anything to tie the cupboard shut. I having been a boy scout many years previous suggested she could use my belt to hold the door . The offer was accepted and I hoped my pants would still be secure after the emergency landing. I figured it was the least I could do for the safety of the entire aircraft!

The door was promptly secured and we proceeded with the emergency landing. I of course wanted to see what was going to happen so I looked out of the window, my head doesn't fit between my legs very well anyhow! Needless to say we made a safe landing even with one tire blown! This meant Air Canada got an extra landing on a well worn tire!!!

When we arrived at the terminal the stewardess returned my slightly mangled belt along with a “chit” for $5.00 which she said I could take to the Air Canada desk in the terminal and collect $5.00 for a new belt. This I did and received the generous donation from Air Canada, I also kept my old belt and it served me well for several years after.

Regardless of what you may believe this is a true story, just another little adventure in the past life of a Technical Security Inspector!

Respectfully submitted by William (Bill) Rabbie for the enjoyment of any OFARTS who might be interested.. Cheers to all...

Bill: Sat 12/15/2007 16:33


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© OFARTS Canada 2006-2007 Old Foreign Affairs Retired Technicians, Canada The opinions expressed here are those of the contributors. Accuracy of facts has not been verified in all cases.