You know us bomber jockers...

You know… we, bombers jokers like to FLY LOW… as the “real ones” of 132° Gruppo, 51° Stormo, nowadays like in the past… :slight_smile:

What’s the meaning of “flying low”? :confused:
Just in case someone could have any doubt about the concept, here comes some explaination. :cool:

An AMX belonging to 132° Gruppo on a low pass at Istrana Airport (Treviso)

This is a picture of a Savoia Marchetti S.79 of 278 Sqn. 132° Torpedo Bomber Group. The picture was taken from another S.79 flying in formation with the other: In fact you can also notice part of his wing. :eek:

hope you dont ask us escort jockeys to cover you from below :eek:

nice pics…but I already knew that you bomber pilots are completely crazy

Oh, I reckon you could get a fighter in below that Savoia Marchetti :wink:
Might be a squeeze under the AMX though.

I do tend to feel safer on the deck though:)

If you’re passing over the bridge, you are flying too high. :cool:

I am sure if you told that pilot he was flying low he would be most insulted. It looks to me like he has just popped up for a moment to get his bearings. :smiley:

I’ll give you a little quiz. Why do RAF ground attack aircraft on exercise in Germany (post war, I mean) fly lower than they do in the UK?

Would it be something to do with the different height of the high tension cables?

i.e. the lowest wires are slightly higher than they are in the UK, thus they have to fly lower when flying under them?

Because of the Fraulein Wunder? :smiley:

About flying very low… I remember a tale about an Italian pilot that had to simulate a nuclear strike on London… while RAF Lightnings were waiting for him at high level he simply entered the area following more or less the path of the Thames at very low level with his Starfighter and pulled up at full throttle in the middle of London… but it’s just a tale… I never had any conclusive proof about the episode, while I had the chance to meet another Starfighter pilot that, he said, in a mock-up combat, shoot down an USN Phantom in a very strange way… After he made some boom and zooms the Yankees tried to take his tail with an hi g ascending turn entering in stall, maybe because his contrail, and had to eject… both were safe… but seems that they went in big troubles with their CAG because the action had no authorization…
I herd another story about a Foxbat… but even of this I had no conclusive proof… NATO was quite worried about some recce missions flown by Russians across Europe, and decided to try to intercept at least one of them to make them understand that “Hi and Fast” was not always so safe…
Someone studied the path followed by the Foxbat and planned interception couses from various airfields along that path. As far I remeber the involved nations were Norway, United Kingdom, Spain, France and Italy. For some reason the first scrambles started a bit late and Norwegians Starfighters and British Lightnings were left without their prey. Spanish and French pilots were on time but had no visual of the target so the last chance to scare a bit the Russians was a sigle Starfighter of 51° Stormo… Seems that not only he made a visual contact but was able to have a lock-on with one of his long range missiles… then the Fox gave full throttle and disappeared heading for Warsaw Pact territory… Some years ago someone told me that for some time was seen here a Starfighter sporting a Foxbat profile under the cockpit… but that for some reason orders come to have the victory mark deleted… the same person that told me about this story said that there was some pictures around about the mark but I had no chance to find it anywere… That would be an interesting modelling subject…

Take all this things as goodnight tales… as I said, no proofs about… but are nice stories :slight_smile:



The idea flying low across farmland (ie. much of the time) is to stay below the level of the hedges. German fields on average are bigger than in the UK, so you can get the aircraft just a little bit lower in the middle of the field before you have to pull up again to cross the next hedge.

That is from a friend who flew Venoms and Vampires in the 1950s. He assures me that if you are doing it right you need to pull up a little to bank the aircraft otherwise the wingtips will hit the ground.

About high and fast, I’ve read that the only ones that have gotten a missile lock (with planes) on a SR-71 is the Swedish Air Force using the Viggen. :slight_smile:

(Me like Google, confirming my memory)

Another Viggen story, but this time at low altitude. :wink:
As you probably know, the soviets (and others) used to poke into our territory, while we used to conduct surveilance operations close to their territory (the results of we often shared with NATO despite our neutrality). Anyway, during at least one such mission a surveilance version of the Viggen (SF or SH-37) was intercepted by soviet planes. The 37 broke and dived hard and pulled up very close to the surface. The russian plane that had followed tried to do the same manouver, but failed to pull up in time. The russians wasn’t very happy. :stuck_out_tongue:

Damn, wish I had clearer intel on this one…

A pilot of No 1 Sqadron flew his Hawker Hunter under Tower Bridge (crosses the Thames in the middle of London):

In 1968 it was the RAF’s 50th birthday, yet the top brass did not se fit to mark this with any flypast, choosing instead for mere parades on the ground. Many RAF personnel were less than impressed and one Flt Lt Alan Pollock of 1(F) Squadron decided to mark the occasion in style - first with toilet-roll bombing missions against rival squadrons, and then on April 5th, while suffering from the beginnings of pneumonia which no doubt had some affect on his decision making processes, he flew his Hunter over London and at the last second decided to fly under the top span of Tower Bridge! Knowing of the consequences of his unauthorised trip, he proceeded to beat up several airfields and landed to meet his fate


The Viggen had many advantages because the canards… Maybe Russians forget about this!
This one come from an old friend of mine, S. W., a very good sailplane pilot and a former test pilot for PZL.
He and other people were going to Sweden for a promotional tour for a lightlane from PZL and few minutes after crossing the airspace noticed that they were not alone… A Viggen made a passage at his left, pulled up, turned to take his tail and then formed up with him… keeping an AOA of nearly 30 degrees to keep position and speed with his lightplane… the thing that amazed S. was that when he shaked his wings to greet his “wingman”, the Viggen pilot did the same without loosing both speed and level… the Viggen stayed at his side for few minutes then gave full A/B and disappeared… BTW… S. tested the Polish version of the MiG-19 (If I don’t remeber wrong should be the LiM-7) and always said that when he was in AF he was appy that he never had to face a plane capable of such tricks… When I asked him about the MiG-21 and 23 he simply said taht Russians would never allow to Poland to build it… They had Russian personnel for testing and maintenance duty attached to every military airbase in Poland and then said that in any case those planes where no match for a Viggen.

Marsh, interesting one the one about the Hunter… I can image the thrill for the people crossing the bridge while Pollock made his passage…

About the Foxbat story:

there was some pictures around about the mark but I had no chance to find it anywere… That would be an interesting modelling subject…

We can ask to Lt. Colonel Massimo Pregnolato at 51° stormo. If there is any person able to confirm this fact is him, as he is the responsible of the markings on the 51° Stormo planes… :wink:

Here some more interesting tales I found surfimg Internet


Ground effect

An Iraqi flying a Mirage F1 came upon a US EF-111A Raven at low level, and pursued it. As a bit of background to this, the Mirage is a reasonably decent aircraft at low level, but the EF-111A is something else. It’s an unarmed electronic warfare version of the F-111 Aardvark, and has terrain following radar, which enables it to fly at Mach 1 or more, 60 metres above the ground (that’s about 0.4 seconds away from the ground), while the pilot watches the view. It’s one of the fastest aircraft in the world at low level. Maybe this Iraqi didn’t know anything about the F-111, but he decided that it looked like an easy target, and pursued it at very low level.

The EF-111 crew were credited with a kill when the Iraqi (not surprisingly) slammed into the ground.

There can’t be too many occasions when an unarmed aircraft scores a kill.



A Mexican newspaper reports that bored Royal Air Force pilots stationed on the Falkland Islands have devised what they consider a marvelous new game.

Noting that the local penguins are fascinated by airplanes, the pilots search out a beach where the birds are gathered and fly slowly along it at the water’s edge. Perhaps ten thousand penguins turn their heads in unison watching the planes go by, and when the pilots turnaround and fly back, the birds turn their heads in the opposite direction, like spectators at a slow-motion tennis match.

Then, the paper reports, "The pilots fly out to sea and directly to the penguin colony and over fly it. Heads go up, up, up, and ten thousand penguins fall over gently onto their backs.

Audobon Society Magazine



In another famous SR-71 story, Los Angeles Center reported receiving a request for clearance to FL 600 (60,000ft).
The incredulous controller, with some disdain in his voice, asked, “How do you plan to get up to 60,000 feet?
The pilot (obviously a sled driver), responded, " We don’t plan to go up to it, we plan to come down to it…”
He was cleared…


Playing with Mig-21s

I just read a story about a Phantom crew that got a decoration for NOT shooting down two Mig-21s but the migs never returned to base - Yes read it again!!!

Well, if you read the statistics about the Phantoms kill record in the IAF, you’ll see the following figure:

Sparrow : 64
Sidewinder+Shafrir : 96
Falcon : 5
Gunfire : 22.5 (one shared with a Mirage IIC)
86 : Undetermined
5 : maneuvering

Two Phantoms on a reconnaissance mission over an Arab country got an order NOT to shoot down any Migs since this would result in diplomatic mess.

On their way back home, the crew discovered two migs sitting on their tail. A short calculation showed that if the migs got scrambled for the intercept, they must have been flying the past 5 minutes at full afterburner after dropping off their drop tanks - this would leave them about 5 minutes of flight until getting really low on fuel, while the phantoms still carry their drop tanks and are still distant enough then be threatened by the migs…

The pilots decided to go into some maneuvering and started flying in circles, preventing the migs from getting into missile lockup position.

After a while, the Phantom pilots went really low and flew at 1.2 Mach - where they were much faster then the migs, and got away, knowing the migs would have no fuel to get back to base.

After air refueled by an A-4 escorted by F-15s, they landed in Israel. Pilots got decorated for their decision and performance while news arrived about one mig crashing in the desert (pilot ejected) and the other landing on a road and getting damaged while landing…


Those stories and many others are available here:

Some interesting ones from personal experience:

When I worked at the Scottish Air Traffic Control Centre (ScATCC) at Prestwick I once controlled a NASA callsign at FL550 (55,000ft). Well actually, I wasn’t controlling him but he was keeping a listening watch on my frequency. Anyway, I took great delight in passing traffic information to my civilian colleagues and asking them if they had anything to affect!

I didn’t see the penguins falling over while I was in the Falklands but I ‘watched’ a darts competition on Falklands Radio. I was also the tower controller when a Tristar got airborne in marginal weather and had a spectacular engine surge on takeoff. I saw flames the length of the aircraft and bits falling to the ground just as the aircraft disappeared into low cloud. As I was getting the crash crews moving the co-pilot called up cool as ice and says ‘we’ve lost our starboard engine, we’ll be circling over the sea for a while to dump fuel and then we’ll be landing back at MPA’ (Mount Pleasant Airfield). While the Tristar was dumping fuel the weather really clamped in and I couldn’t even see the taxiway from the tower let alone the runway. After what seemed like an eternity the Tristar made a PAR approach to land but couldn’t get in because of the poor vis. He overshot and made another approach from the opposite end using the ILS. He still couldn’t get in so he diverted to Monte Video on 2 engines and not very much fuel! He made it though. Anybody remember the 80’s group Shakatak? They had been doing CSE shows on the Falklands and they were onoard the above airplane. Apparently the lead singer had a panic attack and had to be given oxygen for the trip to Monte. Poor gilrl.

Back to low flying:

My very first RAF tour was in Stn Ops at RAF Honington in Suffolk. One of my tasks was dealing with flying complaints from members of the public. One call was from a delightful old chap with a real country bumpkin accent. I asked him all the usual questions: was it a jet?, a prop aircraft?, any unusual markings? direction of travel etc etc. He was a bit vague with most of his answers but I established it was a low flying fast moving jet - probably one of our Tornadoes given the location. One answer though had me laughing so much I couldn’t speak to him for a couple of minutes. I asked if he could say how low it was and with his slow drawling Suffolk countryside accent he said
'Well I’m not saying ‘e was low but I thought he was coming in for a cup of coffee’! Bless him.

Anyway, enough war stories, sitting on these cold sandbags plays havoc with the old Chalfonts.

Toodle Pip,


I asked if he could say how low it was and with his slow drawling Suffolk countryside accent he said
'Well I’m not saying ‘e was low but I thought he was coming in for a cup of coffee’! Bless him.

LOL!! :roflmao:

Thanks Whiskey :slight_smile:

They had been doing CSE shows on the Falklands and they were onoard the above airplane

…and the pilot had to stop them all holding hands and singing that old traditional “We’ll Be Gathered At The Crater”

Songs You’d Sing On Metal Fatigue

Poor loves :slight_smile:



thx everybody for the stories, nice reading :slight_smile:

can we propose our forum for best AirCombat related forum on the net? :slight_smile:

There was a program on UK TV this year about the Dambusters raid, during which one of the aircrew was recalling a tale about the training for the low flying needed…

He mentioned that as Bomb aimer he had to look out for High Tension cables and by the time they saw them they were too close to climb over them so took their Lancasters under them.

His crew were quite pleased with their low flying prowess until during one of the passes under the cables, he looked down out of the plexiglas nose and saw another member of 617 fly underneath them. :slight_smile: