by Captain W. E. Johns



VII.                 NATURE INTERVENES  (Pages 91 - 99)


They soon find the old war-time aerodrome known as 137.  Three temporary hangers of camouflaged fabric were present but two are in a bad state of repair.  Biggles put his aircraft under the third.  Biggles thinks El Moab is ten or twelve miles away.  Upon being told how dangerous the local Danakils are, Biggles decides to return to Aden to make preparations and let Raymond know what they are doing but he is prevented from doing so by the onset of a haboob, a sand storm.  "If Bertie got caught in that, he's had it," said Biggles grimly.  "That grit may go up to twenty thousand feet.  An engine sucks it in through the air intake - and if there's one thing an engine won't stand for it's sand".  Biggles sees an aircraft trying to outrun the storm and at first thinks it is Bertie, but then realises it is a Gypsy Moth and must be the Sultan's machine.  Biggles, Ginger and Zahar get the engine of their plane covered and then make a shelter out of canvas and oil drums as the sand storm hits them.  It lasts about an hour and sand gets everywhere.  "It was all very unpleasant".  When the storm passes, they all rinse their mouths with water.  Biggles says they will have to wait for the sand in the atmosphere to settle and there's just nothing they can do about it.