Captain Nigel Cholmondsley was piloting his BOAC intercontinental flight across the outback towards Sydney, musing on how he might chat up that nice, new stewardess – when a bang came from the port outer engine of the shiny new Vickers VC10.
Following protocol, he shut down both port engines and called out a Mayday.
It was answered by Bruce McGee, the sole occupant of the tower at Toowoomba International Airport.
“Yeah, mate – you’re welcome to land here. We haven’t had a plane land here since last Thursday.”
While Brisbane was bound to be bigger, it was also further away – and the chief steward had reported the rear of the aircraft was beginning to fill with smoke – so Nigel decided to head for Toowoomba.
As he reached the co-ordinates supplied by Bruce, he discovered the “international” airport was nothing more than a macadamised “X” with a Nissen hut – and a shed, which Nigel surmised was the “tower”.
Thumbing his mic, he asked, “Which runway shall I use?”
“Aw, any one you like, mate. The wind’s negligible and we aren’t busy. In fact, we haven’t had a plane land here since last Thursday.”
“So you said,” replied Nigel, as he began a descending sweep, which would bring him around to what appeared to be the longer of the two narrow strips.
But as he approached the end of the runway, he saw a series of small dots half-way down it. As he got closer, they appeared to be a bunch of giant, hopping mice.
“What the hell are THEY?” he screamed into the mic, ramming the throttles of the remaining two Conway engines back to full power and hauling back on the stick.
But it was too little, too late. WHAM! Bits of kangaroo flew in one direction – while bits of VC10 flew in the other.
And Bruce McGee said, “Struth – it’s going to be another day like last Thursday.”
[My name’s Cornelius – I’m here all week.]