Tom Dawes-Gamble
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  1. Place a live cat on the cockpit floor. Because a cat always remains upright, he or she can be used in lieu of a needle and ball. Merely watch to see which way the cat leans to determine if a wing is low, and if so which one.
  2. The Duck is used for the Instrument approach and landing. Due to the fact that any sensible duck will refuse to fly under instrument conditions, it is only necessary to hurl your duck out of the aircraft and follow it to the ground.


  1. Get a wide awake cat. Most cats do not want to stand up at all. It may be necessary to carry a large dog in the cockpit to keep the cat at attention.
  2. Make sure your cat is clean. Dirty cats will spend alll their time washing. Trying to follow a washing cat usually results in a tight snap roll followed by an inverted spin.
  3. Use only old cats. Young cats have nine lives, but old cats that have used up their lives have as much to lose as you do and will be more dependable.
  4. Beware of a cowardly duck. If the duck discovers that you are using the cat to stay upright, it will refuse to leave without the cat. Remember, ducks are no better in IFR than you are.
  5. Be sure that the duck has good eyesight. Near-sighted ducks sometimes fail to recognise that they are on the guage and go flogging off into the nearest hill. Extremely near-sighted ducks will fail to recognise that they have been thrown from the aircraft and will descend to the ground in a sitting position. This maneuver is very difficult to follow in a fixed wing aircraft.
  6. Use only land loving ducks. It is very discouraging to break out and find yourself on final for a lake or marsh, particularly if there are duck hunters around. Duck hunters suffer from temporary insanity while sitting in freezing water for hours and will shoot at anything that flies.
  7. Choose your duck carefully. It is easy to confuse ducks with geese as many waterbirds look alike. While they are very competent instrument fliers, geese seldom want to go in the same direction as you. If your duck heads off for Cape York or Tasmania, you can be sure that you have been given the goose.

This extract was lifted from a Malaysian Air Force safety magazine to illustrate the latest modification to the Hawk 108/208 aircraft. After we have carried out comprehensive trials, I will post the results in this newsgroup. Rumour has it that the RAAF have already commenced a comprehensive Cat and Duck breeding programme with the CSIRO to ensure optimum performance of the system should the purchase of the BAe Hawk go ahead for the LIF programme...


© Copyright 1997, 2004 Tom Dawes-Gamble

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