Sanctuary: Not just the Home of Lost Fighter Pilots


Manage episode 202398190 series 1028004
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It was a blinding flash of sunlight that forced my eyes to squint into the distance and my heart-rate to soar - but it was no good…

I’d lost her.

The dim outline of a fighter jet, that I’d been pointing at head-on just a couple of seconds ago, was now gone.

It’s the biggest fear of any pilot, losing sight of the aircraft you are about to fight - you can’t fight what you can’t see.

The temptation was to frantically search the sky in the hope she’d reappear but I knew it was futile.

‘Ninja Two - confirm ‘tally’?’ I called, checking that my student could see me.

‘Negative,’ came the reply.

I checked my instruments - 0.76 Mach - I knew she’d be the same and that meant a closing speed of over 1,000 miles per hour - fifteen miles per minute. One mile every four seconds. We’d only been five miles apart when we’d turned to face each other so quick maths told me that I only had two and a half, maybe three seconds before we’d collide. And, in the world of military flying training, an instructor killing their student is generally considered to be a ‘bad thing’.

I started to climb.

‘Ninja One is also ‘no joy’, levelling 15,000 feet… SANCTUARY GO!’ I called.

And, as I steadied my jet and dipped a wing, I saw my student flash past me in a hard right-hand turn - I’d failed to keep sight of her and had done something about it.

‘Roll out North.’ I called, ‘It’s a low sun today Beth, and visibility is poor - I think we’ll try that again.’

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