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Newsgroups: comp.risks
X-issue: 11.01
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 91 00:52:25 EST
Subject: Re: Risks of automatic flight

>It's ludicrous to believe that any airman would allow his pink flesh to be
>routinely thrown at the ground without some control ...

I can think of one possible legitimate motive for this, which makes it a bit
less ludicrous than it first sounds.  The way for aircraft to survive in combat
is to get as low as possible.  In a real war, with serious and capable
opposition (it is not clear whether Iraq qualifies at present), a lot of flying
would be done at altitudes circa 50 feet.  The trouble is that flying at 50ft
is very different from flying at 500ft, which is a more usual training altitude
for the USAF.  The South African air force trains at 50 ft.  So do the
Israelis.  But the USAF considers training at realistic altitudes to be
unacceptably dangerous for peacetime.  The intent might have been to get the
benefits of the low altitude without the political difficulties of relatively
dangerous peacetime training or the fearful attrition rate associated with
having to learn new basic skills while being shot at.

                         Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology   utzoo!henry

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