Me: Kerteh Tower, Tango Juliet ready on line up runway 16.
Tower: Tango Juliet right turn clear take off.
Me: Clear take off Tango Juliet.
Me: We are clear for lift off sir.
The Captain: Ok. Monitor my take off.
He gently raises the collective, and we hover at ten feet from the asphalt.
Me: Ok sir, you are pulling 83 percent power, Ts and Ps good, Nr at 103.8, FLI good.
The Captain: Ok, controls normal and rotating.
He eases the cyclic forward and the chopper accelerates to a gentle climb. Passing 500 feet, we carry out the after take-off checks, drawing up the landing gear and setting the altimeters and other navigation aids.
20 miles away I make my first range call, as is the procedure. "Kerteh, Tango Juliet 20 DME."
Tower answers acknowledgement, and requires another call at 40 miles. "WILCO, QNH 1007, next call 40 DME Tango Juliet."
There is never a dull moment on the frequencies, whether Kerteh Tower or Helibase. Someone is always making a range call to update the ops centre or traffic control, or tell all stations flying that he is descending to the destination rig. Some chat on helibase's frequency to keep their fingers on the pulse of their neighbour's flying life, others yet to determine where each other are at any given moment so they can maintain pilots' separation in the ops area.
Suddenly a plaintive voice rings out.
"Tuan-tuan, kita akan mendarat sebentar lagi di pelantar Angsi Delta. Sila pastikan tali pinggang keledar anda diketatkan sehingga selamat mendarat dan pintu pesawat dibuka oleh kru pelantar helikopter. Kami mengucapkan selamat bertugas dan semoga berjumpa lagi di penerbangan akan datang."
"Gentlemen, we will be landing at Angsi Delta platform shortly. Please ensure your seatbelts are securely fastened until the aircraft doors are opened for you by the helideck crew. We wish you a pleasant stay offshore and hope to see you again on the next flight home."
I turned to the captain and said, "Excuse me????" He gestures a gleeful shhhhh to me, waiting for all hell to break loose as he seemed to know it would.
Hardly a second after that peculiar script, all voices hurled in.
"Woi, siapa nyanyok tu????????????" came one aircraft captain's voice over the radio.
"Saya punya dah ketat dah!!!!!!!!!!!!!" my captain joined in."MY belt is tight, my belt is tight!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I laughed hysterically in my seat, quaking like a leaf in a thunderstorm. I knew it had to happen one day. Somebody was going to give the passenger brief over the air instead of inside the cockpit.
Man, I am glad I don't enjoy the distinction of being the pioneer on this one.