19 July 2010
I'm writing this from the big fat belly of an RAAF Hercules. It's our delegated beast of burden, for the first leg of the Abbott media mystery tour. Those Department of Defence cutbacks must be starting to bite!
I have to confess, I'm just a smidgen giddy with the excitement of being in an Air Force plane. Yep. I'm a boy.
When the "Loadmaster" (love it how they've all got cool sounding titles) showed us what to do if the cabin filled up with smoke, I thought he was taking the piss. Apparently you have to take the special plastic bag from under your seat, put it on your head and release this toothpaste-tube-sized canister of oxygen that's meant to inflate the bag like a Play School space helmet. It's meant to provide 45 minutes of clean air. Let's just hope the cabin doesn't fill up with smoke.
Not that there's any view to speak of. For all we know, we are heading to mars.
When we boarded, I realised you could drive two buses into this thing… literally. The back is wide open. Must remember not to wander too far to the rear and bump any levers.
I also just had a tour of the cockpit. Got to sit in the co-pilots chair too! (I think my maniacal grin and wide eyes made "Ice-man" nervous)
Reading the emergency card from the back of the seat, I notice that if the plane has to ditch, we have to climb a ladder out the roof, then climb down a rope into a life-raft. Mmm. That seems plausible. And man… these things are noisy. Don't know how you'd ever get any shut-eye on a long haul.
It's all a bit like the campaign we've just embarked upon.
It's a real buzz, but we won't have a clue where we're going. There'll be a lot of noise and very little sleep. A quick exit is out of the question, but dawdling behind could see you fall right off the back into oblivion.
We are well and truly in the belly of the beast.
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