UK - A Shetland Story, by Anthony McLauchlan (1972)

>     Lerwick, Shetland Isles (LSI) was served by BEA Highlands and Islands Division based at Glasgow Abbotsinch, operating the Vickers Viscount 802/806, carrying up to 66 passengers, with 2 Cabin Crew and 2 Flight Crew. This was the time of rapid expansion of North Sea oil, amid an atmosphere resembling the Wild West, no security, a cramped and crammed terminal and only one runway, 33, available for the Viscount, the cross runway 27 being rather too short, as Dan Air proved when they ran off the end in a BAC 748. So, scene set for a departure from LSI to ABZ (Aberdeen) in Northern winter, a further problem being a night ban on 33 takeoff, and night starting around 1500GMT, so delay was not advisable.
     As a new Captain, fresh from the regular world of the BAC-111 In Berlin, this was an interesting and demanding time. For our passenger complement of  65 riggers, just released from 14 days on a dry oil rig, the bar in the terminal proved a magnetic target, and for one rugged Glaswegian, more than he could hold. After a minor fight in the bar, followed by attempting to drive an Air Anglia tractor, he was overcome by the sight of my two young stewardesses and promptly tried to embrace one as he boarded, in guttural Glaswegian making clear that his intentions were less than legal, and clearly most unwelcome to my crew.
>     The solution seemed simple; under the ANO (Air Navigation Order) he was clearly intoxicated and unsafe to travel; a request to leave the aircraft from the Captain (me) was disregarded in an expletive manner, so the Station Manager was called up and police presence requested.  Problem No.1, the police station in Lerwick was 23 miles away, and Problem No.2 was nightfall in 30 minutes, The Scots solution, though not in the Ops Manual, was a PA to all on board telling them to leave the airplane by the steps at the  front left door. This was done, leaving the roaring and shouting solo passenger on board insisting he would not get off this unprintable airplane and I couldn’t make him. Tough oily boys with a half bottle in hand are not amenable to polite address, so I resorted to the less courteous method, addressing the assembled multitude from the top of the steps I informed all present that we would be unable to take off with this man on board, and further delay would mean that  nobody would be able to leave the island as there was a night flight ban. Two burly men approached with a request to have a wee word with their difficult chum. This given, they boarded the Viscount and returned in two minutes with the offender semiconscious between them. He was deposited on the grass verge of the taxiway, everyone then boarded in good order, we started up and took off with 5 minutes in hand before dark. I have no idea what happened to our offloaded passenger, I doubt if he had much of an idea either.  Not a word from the Shetland station boss, and no Voyage Report to my Flight Manager who heard nothing officially though mentioned to me later, in passing, he thought the matter well handled.  Human Rights 1972 fashion.

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