Cold War ………..Warm Incident
Coming across the main image of the Canberra (BI8), while trawling through the archives, reminded me of when the various NATO air forces worked together. In the 1950’s there were no civilian jets and thus no air traffic ‘rules’ above 28,000 ft to frustrate the military. When planning a high level transit, usually to somewhere in the Med at that time, it was usual to annotate the military flight plan with a code which indicated that the transit aircraft would be happy to act as a ‘target’ for other NATO forces to practice fighter interceptions. Thus on the way south to the Med we would have aggressive attention from the Canadian Sabres out of Touls Rosiere, French Mysteres from Orange ( couldn’t get up to our cruising height - 45,000ft - much Gallic abuse over the radio), Italians from Aviano experimenting with F84,s (similar Italian non-standard radio traffic) and then the USAF F-86s out of Wheelus, Libya. All helping to enliven a dull transit sortie and with no tiresome air traffic rules plenty of freedom to ‘play‘.
Image is scanned from an original Kodachrome, my old Agfa camera, shot from an accompanying Canberra BI8 on a high-level transit. Amended with the composite introduction of a USAF F-86 (Duxford airshow) to complete the picture. A snapshot of ‘the way we were’.
My apologies to Al if the F-86 markings don’t relate to Wheelus birds.