Another unconventional tale!
A cold wet windy afternoon in London Heathrow inspires a pilot to take on a daring mission. After completing hundreds of airline flights, and accumulating great experience flying in various parts of the planet, there is one place he has yet to have had the chance to be: outer space . This story chronicles with pictures and text the events that unfolded during this daring mission.
Time: Casual time
Route: EGLL —> ???
November 14th, 2019: The pilot, unidentified, borrows a fighter jet to take on a thrill of a lifetime. He appears to have chosen the F-22 as his ideal aircraft for this mission. Pilot takes off from runway 27L at Heathrow and goes for a steep climb in his new and unfamiliar aircraft.
Upon reaching normal airline cruising altitude, the pilot flies east towards Amsterdam, attempting to pick up as much speed as possible before beginning his climb.
At FL322, and a speed of Mach 3.22, raises the nose of the jet to almost 90 degrees and begins a steep climb to the highest altitude he can reach. The pilot reaches an altitude of 145000 and is taken aback by the incredible views from the cockpit.
However, it becomes immediately apparent that there is a complete loss of control of the jet, which appears to have entered into what can only be described as an orbit. The jet, against the pilots will, aimlessly drifts east towards the Netherlands, an unintended destination.
Stuck in space: Many topics learned in Astro Physics race to the pilot’s mind, who’s realized he is stuck in orbit. He attempts to point the nose down towards Earth and push the engine to full throttle to somehow attain escape velocity, but the jet does not leave orbit. Having realized little progress was made, he decides to cut the engines to save fuel, and tries every other trick possible to bring the jet back down to Earth. The pilot deploys landing gear, and full flaps, and tries to use Autopilot but it continues to disengage. V/S remains at -50 at 140,000 feet. It is a desperately hopeless situation.
Breakthrough: 40 minutes after departing Heathrow, the jet’s descent speed begins to fluctuate between -500 and -6000 at 135,000 ft, before hurtling back down towards planet Earth, doing barrel rolls at a vertical speed which increases to an incredible -110000ft/min
Finally: as soon as the jet re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, the pilot turns the jets back on and heads back to Heathrow.
The landing was long and rough, but being down to Earth never felt better 😉. There were major struggles along the way, but a mission accomplished.
Hope you enjoyed the read! I rushed it but it was fun to write about this trip. Stay tuned for the next expisode!