Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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Safe Landing, Strange Salvage
4/15/2016 5:44:46 PM


One particularly unusual maritime event occurred in June 1983, during which NATO was undertaking various exercises in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Portugal, including aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious, and her fleet of aircraft. Two Sea Harrier VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) jet fighters were ordered to take off and search for a French ship in the vicinity. However, one of the pilots was a relatively inexperienced sub-lieutenant aged 25, named Ian Watson. This was further complicated in that both aircraft had to maintain radio silence, replicating wartime conditions. Watson ran into difficulty, however, resulting in one of the more remarkable air to sea landings in recent military history – on the deck of a passing containership.
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