Engine viewing visit to Iraq
Back last year I received a very interesting call with regard the inspection of some engines and facilities that had been found in Iraq. So I packed a bag and set off for |Jordan. I left for Baghdad on a learjet later the following day, however we unfortunately had to turn back at the last moment. So after returning to Jordan and some more waiting we eventually entered Iraqi airspace and got to Baghdad international.
The descent into Baghdad international was alarming to say the least. I had seen many tac take offs and landings in my years around Hercs but that day a passenger aircraft got into angles I would have thought impossible.
I was escorted to several sights around Baghdad to have a shufty at some enormous stockpiles of engines. We obtained a drill brace and a torch to be able to see the ones in boxes as we did not want to lift the lids incase of.....well you don't just go crashing around opening things in Iraq.
What I saw
there was literally out of this world. There were examples of every
russian engine that I had ever wanted to see and the sites were
simply awesome. The elation of seeing these engines and having the
opportunity to explore was however considerably diluted by the rest
of the areas that I saw, some of which were quite remote and had
clearly had less "clean up" attention paid to them. I
could not help but think of the personal stories behind the knocked
out vehicles, pairs of hung overalls, the odd abandoned coffee cup.
The sense of adventure loses its allure and mystery really when
you stop to consider that it was someone's parents operating the
knocked out vehicles or equipment, either now dead, displaced, and
that everything that you see or touch probably has some personal
tragedy associated with it. Once this began to dawn on me I just
got on with the job and left. I found myself just overwhelmed with
the complete and utter destruction of the surrounding areas. Minor
looting had taken place on the engine related sites, along with
some vandalism but the engine bays and workshops were largely intact.
They seemed to have just been walked out of after a flurry of desperate
activity toward the end (apart from the ones with no roof and giant
craters in the floor). Engines lay half built or stripped, manuals
lay open on the desks. I imagined how the first visitors to Germany's
engineering sites must have felt, looking for anything slightly
different or of interest (and I missed the mark of that feeling
by a hundred miles I'm sure). I was all things considered though
very grateful for the opportunity to go on the trip as it opened
my eyes more than I could have imagined possible and was incredibly