The Aviation Enthusiast Who potentially Saved A Life Of A Pilot And A F-15 Strike Eagle
Ian Simpson is a great aviation fan like all of us and also a photographer. He has lived in the East Anglia region of England all his life and he loves to take photos of planes at Royal Air Force bases in the area.
One morning he saw that something was not right while watching fighter jets taking off from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. This base is used by the US Air Force from 1948 to the present and is also the home to the 48th Fighter Wing. This is also the only US Air Force F-15 fighter wing in Europe.
Simpson told CNN in an interview,
“This plane took off and just before it got to us … a lot of flames and sparks started coming out the back”
Simpson had worked for Boeing in designing aircraft traffic control procedures and he listened to the radio communications between F-15 pilot Maj. Grant Thompson and the base. While listening he was surprised that no one has realized the fault of the aircraft.
“It suddenly dawned on me that they had no idea what was going on, So at that point, I called the base, by looking on Google for the telephone number.”
He was able to connect with the flight operation center, which then got in touch with the pilot and the air traffic control. After The F-15 pilot Thompson got his wingman to confirm the fault in the back of his aircraft, the pilot safely made his way to the base.
About a week later Pilot Thompson met this great aviation fan Simpson and thanked him by giving him a legacy cap and the fighter wing patch that he was wearing on the sleeve of his jumpsuit.
Simpson said that he had never seen something like this in his 50 years of watching aircraft.
“I’ve seen a few incidents where something isn’t working … but when parts of the plane are disintegrating in a shower of sparks, then that’s a bit different. When you’ve been around planes long enough, you know when something isn’t right.”