The Fighter Pilot Who ‘Shot Down’ a Car


Categorie: Air, Bizarre, David Axe, History, Iraq |
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F-15. Air Force photo.


I’m chilling at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, awaiting a flight to Logar province. Outside, F-15E fighters roar down the runway on their way to provide close air support to ground troops. The noise reminds me of a story I read in the latest Combat Aircraft, about a U.S. Air Force F-15 jock who had an unusual encounter during the 1991 Gulf War. To quote author Steve Davies:

Maj. Randy May … fired two AIM-7s outside of 10 miles at what was claimed to be a Mi-24 [helicopter]. While May’s wingman reported he saw the wreckage “fall into a military compound,” May had actually shot through a solid undercast and neither him, nor his wingman, actually saw the target. … Rumors soon circulated about a Mercedes traveling down a highway coincident with May’s target, which had been found destroyed by an AIM-7. This led some to posit that May had actually “shot down” a car.


3 Responses to “The Fighter Pilot Who ‘Shot Down’ a Car”

  1. ELP says:

    The Navy’s very own “Randy” Duke Cunningham and his back-seater Willie Driscol were flying along in their F-4 Phantom one day low over Vietnam and the they got a tone from one of their AIM-9 Sidewinders off of a truck below. Curious, Duke fired. The Sidewinder shot off the rail and then guided on the truck and hit it.

  2. Ben says:

    So why did the pilot think it was an Mi-24? Does the plane’s radar identify targets by radar return, and a Mercedes just happens to reflect radar like a helicopter? Or did he just conclude that something that “low-flying” and slow had to be a copter?

  3. JD says:

    Good story, but it’s not quite as good as the F-15E Strike Eagle with Dan “Chewie” Bakke getting an air-to-air kill with a laser-guided bomb. He lazed an Iraqi helicopter while it was on the ground. By the time the 2000 lb. bomb got there, the helo was flying about 100 kts and climbing…then vaporized.

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