Date of Passing:
Peter Brooks died on the 20/09/2023, aged 87years.
Peter had a distinguished career during his 34 years and 2 months at Qantas.
He commenced Feb 1966 and retired Mar 2000, as the General Manager Fuel Services for Qantas.
The following extract from Jim Eames recent book, “The Mighty 747 “ mention's Peter's key role in accessing the fuel which made the Qantas, City of Canberra, non stop flight London to Sydney successful.
“Even with twenty years experience, as the weeks went by Peter Brooks, the man responsible for negotiating the airline’s worldwide fuel requirements found himself receiving some strange fuel inquires from the airline’s chief operating officer John Ward.
“What’s the density of fuel in London?”
Brooks’ initial response to the question obviously didn’t satisfy Ward so several others followed, until finally Ward let him in on the secret: If the non-stop flight was to be achieved they would need a special high density fuel – and Brooks’ task was to find it!.
Within days he was on a flight to London to see if he could find a substitute for the standard Jet A-1 but at first it appeared his efforts would come to nothing as the nearest example he could find was that used in Cruise missiles. When he fired off a query to Boeing to test that idea they came back with the news that Cruise missile fuel was so heavy it would cause the -400s wings to fall off!.
In the end it was Shell, the company which had mean so much to Qantas’ survival in its very earliest days, which came to his rescue, willing to use their subsidiary in Germany to produce the relatively small amount of the special fuel mix capable of doing the job although that in turn meant the finished product would
have to be trucked by ten tankers across Europe to London. Even that was a logistics nightmare, with the blended fuel having to be constantly shunted backwards and forwards in its Hamburg rail cars to ensure it retained its mix until it headed for the ferry trip across the English Chanel.
While Brooks manipulated the fuel problem others in the Mascot team were looking at another logistical nightmare—a one-off flight carving a specific air traffic control route across the 9624 nautical miles between London and Sydney which required the use of optimum fuel saving altitudes at the same time avoiding air traffic delays. As planning proceeded however it became obvious the complexity involved in negotiating with the numerous governments along the way would make this virtually impossible so some compromises would have to be built in."