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Closest Personal Encounter with Military Aircraft


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What is the closest encounter you have ever had with a military (or warbird) aircraft. Stories are greatly appreciated. I'll tell mine of that every summer the local ANG C-17 unit always does low level runs over my house, enough that you will be watching TV and it will be drowned out by the engine and the house slightly shakes! We also use to have an A-10A squadron long ago and every year at all the Memorial parades they would do multiple fly over's. I once also saw 2 4 ships of Blackhawk's fly right over my house one early morning. Now I am sure someone has to have gotten buzzed by some aircraft while in the middle of nowhere!

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Closest, was a reward for a great service to a certain US ANG squadron, I got a ride in the backseat of an F-15B to do ACM with the rest of the day's flights. I was able to say conscious(ish) through 9.1g's. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face for months. Even now I get a stupid smile any time I see an F-15.


My closest as a civilian, was when they were retiring the A-10 from their New England bases, we had one come by my airport, it did a low pass, 100' or so off the runway. Another aircraft in the pattern said, "aw come on, you can do better than that." The A-10 then requested another pass, this time, had a person been standing on the runway, the wing would have cut them in half at the hip (this happened on the one day I didn't bring my camera to work).


Also I got to see this beauty one day at work.


Edited by USSInchon
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  • ED Team

jumped in and out of








during my time in the British army, as my regiment was attached to airmobile brigade


and also trained with gazelle doing sling loads


Edit: added a few pics :)

Edited by BIGNEWY


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At a air show at Hanscom AFB I got to get up close and personal with a F15.


There was a young kid ahead of me and the pilot placed him in the cockpit seat!


Lucky Brat!:D


I tried to get in but the pilot said NOOOOOOO.


Got some great pics though.


I'll see if I can find them.


There were about 15 War Birds on display as well.


Behind fences!


Good times.


The F15 did a demo.


As he did a low pass over the runway, He hit afterburners!


My entire body shook!

I could feel my internal organs moving!


You could not hear anything!


I will never forget it!



"Yeah, and though I work in the valley of Death, I will fear no Evil. For where there is one, there is always three. I preparest my aircraft to receive the Iron that will be delivered in the presence of my enemies. Thy ALCM and JDAM they comfort me. Power was given unto the aircrew to make peace upon the world by way of the sword. And when the call went out, Behold the "Sword of Stealth". And his name was Death. And Hell followed him. For the day of wrath has come and no mercy shall be given."

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It was in mid-late 90s, probably '97 or '98, I was a highschool boy back then. School had an hour long lunch break every day, and since it was close the beach, we students would sometimes take a walk there to spend time.


It was such a day, and I was there with a friend, who also happened to be an aviation nut. Before long, loud rumble of jet engines of low flying fighers hit our ears. It was a two ship of F-4E phantoms, flying very, very low, and we both gave 'em thumbs ups. I recall it was an overcast winter day, and seaside was particularly devoid of people, and we were out in the open. So I like to think that they've seen us kinda cheering and saluting them, because just after they've past us, they started turning, and the lead plane went so far to actually roll inverted for quite a while. They've drawn about half a circle around us and turned back towards the direction they came from. It was pretty cool to say the least :).


Another one was also around the same years, possibly earlier a bit. I distinctly remember what I'm almost entirely sure was a Mi-26, passing right over the apartments I was living in back then. It was a civilian one of course but the radius of the main rotor, the rumbling sound it made and the shaking effects it had on the apartment as it past, which may have been measured by the richter scale, were also quite awesome.

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Not counting airshows (I've only been to one), Seeing military aircraft over my house is a very rare occurrence.


Coincidentally however, Yesterday 4 Marine Cobras (according to a neighbor at least, I only saw 2) flew over my house, and IT WAS AWESOME. The house shook, The Dual rotors whop-whopped as they beat the air, and I had a massive shit-eating grin on my face as I ran outside to watch!!


I then proceeded to go inside and fly the Huey around with my headphones cranked.. It just wasn't the same!

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Flown in: C130, C141, Huey, Blackhawk....That I can remember.


Jumped from: C130, C141, Huey.


Use to sit and watch the A10A's make hamburger out of armored vehicles from only a few hundred yards away. I always marveled at the damage that the A10 could do. And how gracefully it did it. That's something that you never forget. The sound, and certainly the visual.


I'm very envious of Bignewey as I always wanted to fly in and repel out of the Chinook but alas I broke my acetabulum (socket in my ass bone) on a night jump and was pretty much off of jump status when my only chance came around. I made the terrible mistake of reaching for the ground because I wasn't quite sure if I were going to land in what I though was water. Still a stupid mistake and the excuse is a bad one....but hey, I hate water. They had me driving for a Colonel for the rest of that year.

All of this was 35 years ago when I was a kid. Lately, the closest I get is watching the A10's fly over from Davis Monthan, and giving music lessons to A10, and F16 pilots. That's fine with me.


OH...I only briefly flew in the Blackhawk. I was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield and was ETS at about the time the first Blackhawks were arriving. One of my buddies talked the CO into letting me take a short flight to Ft. Stewart and back just to get a taste of it. If anyone knows the distance from Hunter Airfield to Ft Stewart, well....it wasn't a very long flight. Maybe a total of an hour and a half.

Edited by Zimmerdylan
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Sat in the right seat of a CH-53E about five years ago...


Been real close to that, Huey, Osprey, and had a real nice flyover by a Strike Eagle once...And a B-1 went over the Mach, too, IIRC. :D


Watched C-17s do pattern work a few times...Almost had one land on me...Sucker came in and did a touch right across the street from me!

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I have ridden in the back of Huey, Chinook, blackhawk, caribou, Hercules, C-17 and 707 tanker, all Australian defence force versions. I have climbed though a sabre engine bay with the engine removed, sat in an F-111 and flown the F-111 procedural simulator (no graphics). Have been in the back of C-141, C-5 and Antonov AN-124 and Il-76 on the ground. Have been up close to: F-18, A-6, A-4, AV-8B, F-15, F-16, SU-27, C-27J, Tiger helicopter, sea Hawk, SH-3, LYNX, porter, Lancaster, spitfire, sea fury, Catalina and probably more. It has been a feat of memory for me to recall these, now I need a nap..



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One summer, back in the 80ies, I was riding my bicycle to get to somewhere. By bike was the only way to get anywhere - as a kid, living somewhat out in the country side of germany (not too far away from Gütersloh RAF base).


Back then, not one day passed without you seeing and hearing the jets practicing low(ish) level flights. After the cold war, these now seem to have disappeared completely ... But anyhow, low level flight was permitted, iirc, down to 300 meters AGL. Maybe not everywhere, but certainly not lower. Germany is densely populated area.


So I was riding along, minding my own business and suddenly vVVROOOOOOOOAAAAAAAMRRRsshhhhhhh


O.M.*.G. I almost fell off my bike, heart pounding like a sledge hammer. I didn't see it coming, I didn't hear it coming. I only noticed the jet - I think it was a F-4 as they were common these days - as it was already right above me. 300 meters? I don't know but I could smell the burnt kerosene (somewhat similar to shoe polish?) and it felt more like 100 meters. :D

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Pretty much the peak of my existence, only to be challenged by standing 3m from a Merlin engine startup just minutes later. I had to be dragged from the museum.



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Flown in Huey, Gazelle, Wessex, Puma, Sea King, Chinook, Hawk, Hercules, VC10, Taken the controls of Chipmunk & Yak 52.


Been up close and personal in cockpit fests - Pucara, MiG-21, MiG-15, Folland Gnat, Spitfire, Vulcan, Valiant, Victor, Shackleton, Hunter, Canberra, and some experimental aircraft I can't recall the names of right now.


Exercised with A-10s

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Sat in a Harrier GR9 at RAF Leuchars air show which was awesome. Had a stroll round the back of a Chinook at the same air show. Also been in a Vulcan at Carlisle airport

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Well, excluding airshows/museums etc, there's two that stand out for me for different reasons.


1. As a kid, I did a day of work experience during a cadet camp at RAF Conningsby, basically following some poor engineer around. Don't remember which squadron, but they were on the Tornado F.3 and were exercising with visiting Yanks. Whilst they were diagnosing some issues with whatever recording equipment they were using (I forget the type), I got to climb into the cockpit and play with the Missile Management System and fire a few simulated missiles :thumbup:


2. Years later, flying a glider with a friend, we were climbing in a thermal near Basingstoke, Farnborough airshow is on, but we're well outside the airspace and published routes. To the north, I can see a silhouette of a B1 Lancer holding over Newbury (the published hold for the airshow, about 15 miles away), it's a long way away and I think nothing of it. A couple more turns, oh, that B1 is no longer holding, it's a head on silhouette. No problem, it's a long way away, we'll just level out, put it on our wingtip, we won't come anywhere near it. Hang on a second, did it just correct towards us? There's no way he can see us at that distance... Holy poop that's getting big fast! Quick diving 180 later, it's clear he's not going to hit us, so we turn to watch him. We were no more than 150m away and within 50ft vertically , and as soon as we turn back, he stuck the thing on it's wing and turned to Farnborough, he must have seen us, and for a few seconds we were completely matching turns, him lit up perfectly. Once I'd realised we weren't going to die, it was quite a nice view :pilotfly:

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I touched a parked P-51, once. Then I got yelled at and told to get back behind the line. :)


EDIT: I have also been inside a B-29 but anyone who has seen 'Fifi' at an airshow has done that, I am sure.

Edited by cichlidfan

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Sat in several Military aircraft cockpits. Flew in a T-38C backseat out of Laughlin AFB in formation going vertical at takeoff... let me take the stick for a good bit and did barrel rolls etc. Also flew in a Blackhawk and Huey UH1 on the show China Beach.


Here I am exiting a Blackhawk with a few friends after a location scout flight (I'm in center) out of Los Alamitos military base


Edited by rjetster1
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As a civilian working completely outside the aviation bussines, my only contact with real aircraft (military or otherwise) is pretty much limited to airshows.


By far, the closest "hands-on" experience was sitting in Su-27 cockpit some four years ago - a dream I never imagined to come true. Also been inside C-130 and Mi-17 since then, the last one was with my father. He was wondering how could anyone start her up with all these switches, was quite surprised when I started to tell him "Well, I'd start with flicking the battery switches over there, then switch on the inverters down here etc..." :)


As far as flying airplanes go, my nearest encounter was last year, when a RAF Typhoon flew some 200 ft above me at full A/B (they cannot fly over the crowds of course, but somehow it doesn't comprise the road people use to get to / from the show :noexpression:). My ears stil hurted a lot at the train station half an hour later!


Other than that, been close to B-52, B-1, AH-64, Tornado, F-4, E-3, KC-10, Spitfire and many more. Seen the startup procedure of L-39, MiG-15, JAS-39, V-22 etc. That's the advantage of smaller airshows - while on the big ones, all this stuff happens somewhere far behind the scenes, on the small ones, you can often see the crews preparing / securing their planes, and they are so close the jetwash can sometimes blow your hat off :).

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Growing up in Germany near two US AFBs (Bitburg and Spangdahlem), I made friends with a few members of the military there, and I got the chance to visit them at their place of work a sometimes. They let me sit inside the cockpit of some of those jets there, including F-15, A-10 and F-16. These experiences totally solidified my simulation hobby.

I also had the chance to sit in the pilot's seat of the AH-64 during open house at SHAPE in Belgium.

This brings back memories! :)

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I sat in pretty much every type of aircraft based at NAS Oceana from 1990->1999.


Father was in VF-101 and growing up, I had unrestricted hanger access after school, and the guys in the sqn all enjoyed showing me around the Cockpits of the F-14s. F-18s, A-6s etc.


This Continued through high school, even after my father retired, and after my HS Graduation where I sad in the Early Super Hornet Cockpits and the later Legacy Lot Pits.


Being in ROTC + Navy Son, During the Air Shows, I also had access to Aircraft from other branches and privately owned aircraft.


Those were the days. Now when I visit it's mainly for work.

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