Pictures of downed f117, f16... at NATO attack on Yugoslavia (Serbia and Monten.)1999

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19 years 11 months

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Yes it does rather support the theory, that the pilot ejected prematurely and could have made it to Tuzla had he not lost his nerve, doesn't it?

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Says the man who never was in a situation like this... So: NO, it does NOT support that theory. Maybe the engine stopped. Maybe hydraulics failed. Maybe all the power was lost. Maybe the pilot wanted to take some fresh air. Maybe... Maybe... Maybe...
Maybe we should try to find an interview with the actual pilot and hear his version of the facts.

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 724

Yes it does rather support the theory, that the pilot ejected prematurely and could have made it to Tuzla had he not lost his nerve, doesn't it?

Non-sense. How on earth can you fathom that one out? The SA-3 warhead could have shredded fuel lines or caused an engine fire. Here is a snippet of his interview. The pilot was USAF and not RAF as I have heard on other media over the years.

"...I remember having to fight to get my hands to go down toward the
(ejection seat) handgrips," he explained. "I always strap in very
tightly, but because of the intense G-forces, I was hanging in the straps
and had to stretch to reach the handles."

While he recalls the intense strain involved in getting his fingertips to
the ejection handles, he said he doesn't remember making the
conscious decision to eject from the aircraft.

"'Am I going to know when it's time to get out?' is the question on every
fighter pilot's mind," he said. "The one fragment of this
whole event I can't remember is pulling the handles. God took my hands
and pulled."

Uninjured except for a few minor abrasions, the Nighthawk pilot described
the ejection as "violent." Although slightly disoriented
after the high-airspeed ejection, he was very aware he had just bailed
out deep within Serbian territory.

"It didn't panic me," he said. "I just got very busy doing what I needed
to do."

After his parachute had deployed, he said he immediately started working
the rescue.

"I remember thinking, 'Why wait until I hit the ground? Let's go for it
now,'" he explained.

The pilot attributes a great deal of his success behind enemy lines to
his Air Force SERE training, an intensive program that
includes survival, evasion, resistance and escape instruction.

"There was not a whole lot of this that I actually had to ponder," he
said. "The SERE training and periodic life support refresher
training provide a very strong foundation of survival techniques. Having
experienced (survival and evasion) at some level, even
though it was in the training environment, provided some level of
familiarity."

Because of the potential that the Serbs were also monitoring various
radio frequencies, the pilot had to minimize his radio
transmissions and calls for help.

After making radio contact with NATO forces, he used the remaining
minutes of his descent to survey the land -- looking for
landmarks, areas of cover and a landing site.

Parachuting into a freshly plowed field approximately 50 yards from a
road and rail track intersection, he immediately began
burying the life raft and other survival equipment automatically deployed
during the ejection sequence.

"There was some activity at that intersection," he said. "Thank God no
one actually saw me come down." While he couldn't
absolutely confirm that the cars, trucks and people he heard were looking
for him, he did hear search dogs. At one point, a dog came
within 30 feet of where he was huddled.

The pilot spent the next six hours hunkered down in this "hold-up site"
in a shallow culvert 200 yards away from his landing site. It
was during this time that many questions began racing through his head.

"A very important part of the whole combat search and rescue operation is
to minimize transmission on the radio," he said.
"However, for the downed guy, it's very unsettling to not know what's
going on. You're thinking, 'Do they know I'm here? Do they
know my location? Where are the assets and who is involved? What's the
plan? Are they going to try to do this tonight?' It's the
unknowns that are unsettling."

But amid this road race of thoughts, the Air Force officer had something
tangible to get him through six hours of solitude amidst
barking search dogs, passing headlights and pursuit trucks roaring up and
down the nearby road -- the American flag.

And while the downed pilot waited, so did the American people, including
those forces deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy.

"When we heard he was down," said the airman who had given him the flag,
"it was as if we had lost a member of our family. These
guys aren't just pilots to us. We know their families and they know
ours."

The pilot endured for more than a quarter of a day until the special
operations unit arrived. With minimal communication but careful
and discreet authentication of his identity, the search and rescue team
was able to ingress to the pilot's hold-up location. Search and
rescue specialists with emergency medical capabilities and whose mission
is to recover combat air crews in austere environments
quickly extracted the pilot and whisked him toward friendly ground.

Among the first to greet the rescued pilot at Aviano was the airman. Amid
the hugs, back slapping and hand shaking, the F-117 pilot
spotted her in the crowd and reached into his flight suit to reveal the
flag he had promised to return to her.

"People have asked me if I was thinking about the flag I had given him,"
the airman said. "I wasn't thinking about it at all. I just
wanted him back."

TJ

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Member for

19 years 11 months

Posts: 3,269

Says the man who never was in a situation like this... So: NO, it does NOT support that theory. Maybe the engine stopped. Maybe hydraulics failed. Maybe all the power was lost. Maybe the pilot wanted to take some fresh air. Maybe... Maybe... Maybe...
Maybe we should try to find an interview with the actual pilot and hear his version of the facts.

Non-sense. How on earth can you fathom that one out? The SA-3 warhead could have shredded fuel lines or caused an engine fire. Here is a snippet of his interview. The pilot was USAF and not RAF as I have heard on other media over the years.

Hey, ease up - it wasn't my theory - just something I remember reading about at the time. I didn't even think it was credible then, let alone now. Jeeze!

PS (I didn't mention anythign about the pilot being RAF rather than USAF).

PPS

he said he doesn't remember making the
conscious decision to eject from the aircraft.
- Well you've gotta wonder. ;)