by Captain W. E. Johns



X.                    BERTIE GETS A FRIGHT  (Pages 123 - 136)


Meanwhile, Bertie has been afraid that Biggles and Ginger have been caught in the haboob but he doesn't fear for their lives.  "He had too much faith in Biggles's ability for that.  For skilfu air pilotage consists not so much of flying an aircraft well in normal conditions as being able to cope with a sudden emergency should it arise; and it is in this that experience tells."  Bertie returns to Aden and spends the night in his cockpit to prevent any further sabotage.  Just before dawn he sees a native figure slip silently inside the hanger and when Bertie gets out the Arab bolts.  At dawn Bertie takes off and flies across the Red Sea to the abandoned airfield.  Here he finds "the stub of a recently-smoked cigarette, of the brand which Biggles habitually used."  Bertie hears a plane and is astonished to see a Moth land and then start to refuel from a hidden tank using a hand pump.  Bertie walks towards the pilot with a friendly greeting as "pilots of all nationalities are a friendly brotherhood" and the man whips out a revolver and fires over the top of the fuselage at him!   Bertie gets his gun out but is reluctant to kill a man he does not know and doesn't really want a copse on his hands.  Bertie shoots one of the tyres on the Moth and all the air escapes.  The man then runs off.  Bertie examines the plane and finds a bag of which he suspects to be hashish.  Bertie then hears a shot in the distance and shortly afterwards Biggles and Zahar come into his sight.  Biggles arrives and is aghast to see that the hangar his plane was concealed in has collapsed.  This is the reason that Bertie hadn't seen Biggles plane.  The collapse of the hangar has been caused by sand deposited by the sand storm.  Biggles then cuts his way through the fabric into the collapsed hangar to find out how bad the damage is to his plane.