The Turkish Air Force's jet demonstration team, the Turkish Stars, has been wowing crowds for over 20 years, and although their NF-5A Freedom Fighters may be old they are still capable of putting on a hell of a show. The team's pilots are some of the best in the world and their aircraft are kept in top condition, but still, things can go wrong at worst time imaginable.
The near catastrophic event shown below occurred during a training mission over the Turkish Stars' home base in Konya, Turkey. Major Evren Ayna, the NF-5A pilot flying inverted in the video, describes the terrifying moment:
"Every job has its own risks. Of course, you can't always be prepared for everything. But having good reflexes is good and expecting the unexpected saves lives. This video is a proof that this kind of things is not fun and games. It shows our effort and self-sacrifice. This video was taken in 2009, during a training session in Konya. My plane suffers a mechanical failure and we cheat death. I'm the one in inverted flight. :)"
It appears that the aircraft's trim system failed, or another critical flight control system component, thus sending the jet diving into the one below.
Scary stuff, and a real reminder of why always expecting the unexpected, and training for it accordingly, is key when it comes to flying and especially when doing so in complex tactical fighter aircraft.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who edits the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com