WHAT GOES ON TOUR…
N MY youth, I played for a year in the Easts team in Brisbane, writes ex-Bath flanker Simon Jones. I had a great time and got a job selling advertising, which entailed a lot of travelling. On one occasion, I had to go from Brisbane to Emerald, a town deep in the Queensland outback.
To get there, you could either drive for two days or fly on the Bush Pilots airline – small, private planes flown by ex-Qantas pilots.
At Brisbane Airport, I boarded a 16-seater and was sat behind the empty pilot’s seat, so I had a great view out the front window as well as the side. “This’ll be a great way to see the outback,” I thought.
There were only six other passengers and a big Aussie at the back shouted: “Where’s the bloody pilot, I’m fed up waiting!”
No one looking remotely like a pilot was anywhere near the plane, but the air hostess tried to placate the big man: “Don’t worry, sir. I’m sure the pilot will be here shortly.”
After a few more minutes, he called out: “I’m going to be late. Where the hell is this pilot?!”
The hostess replied: “I’m sorry for the delay. He’ll be here soon.”
He carried on muttering angrily. Suddenly, he threw down his newspaper and shouted: “F*** it,
I’ll fly the bloody crate myself.”
He stormed up to the pilot’s seat and started to flick switches. The hostess asked him to stop but, to our horror, first one propeller and then the other started to turn!
Two passengers bolted for the door, at which point the hostess began to laugh and explained that the big Aussie was in fact the pilot! Next time I drove to Emerald. From Lawrence Dallaglio’s Rugby Tales, pubHeadline(2009).