The Emirates in 1976 – Abu Dhabi from the air
This article follows on from the previous article: The Emirates in 1976 – The Bedouin family.
Back in Abu Dhabi, we were given the chance to get a flight in a helicopter. We took the chance. Early in the morning, we attended the helicopter base where we were introduced to our Pakistani pilot. We had him for three hours and we made the most of it.
We flew up to Jebel Hafit which showed us the source of the water in the country. We did some aerial shots of Al Ain and we obtained some shots of plantations that had recently been developed fro the semi-desert south of Al Ain.
Then we followed the road back towards Abu Dhabi. In the helicopter was cameraman Tony Mander, camera assistant Mike Matthews, and myself. Mike Matthews was sitting next to the pilot and giving him instruction. We were all connected by microphone and headphones.
I told Mike to tell him to go into the desert to our instructions. We were flying north west and I told Mike to ask the pilot if he wanted a cup of tea. Mike asked, but he did not understand. Eventually, Mike was shouting “Chi…… chi”. The pilot said yes, but he was still mystified.
What was incredible was the fact that we could guide him over the desert to the packing case house of Norman and Nancy, having only ever been there by Land Rover. We did not even have a compass.
Finally we arrived at the site and we told the pilot to put down. Norman and Nancy came out of the house to greet us and the first thing that Nancy said was “Do you want a cup of tea”. Magic. Well the pilot thought it was.
After tea, we took off again and made for Al Kasnah. We hovered over the village until , it seemed, the whole population had come out to wave to us. All the school children were outside. It was a wonderful sight.
After that, we did some more aerials of the village and then we flew to another village for some more shots before going back to base.
Director David Rea arrived and checked in at the hotel. We had a meeting at which I told him what I had already shot for his film on the Emirates. We had already lined up several days shooting for him and for the next few days, he went off with Tony and his crew.
I finished off my shooting with Osman until I had gathered all I wanted for the Re-afforestation film and the Bedouin Villages. Osman had proved his worth by being able to shoot inside Bedouin houses where Tony and crew would not have been allowed to enter.
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