Bradford Runyon Interview, 25 February 2005

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BRIt, it is possible and like you said, we did have another pilot, so maybe Don let him shoot some approaches over there. I just don't remember, but personally I never did myself, I don't think.
TTThere's still a question of when you guys got back to Minot because the first time we know where you are at, you're already down around the base—in the transcript when that starts down around the base. So there's still a question of how long you were there prior to that. It sounds like you were either way up at altitude or...
BRRight, yeah.
TTSo, why don't you just walk us through what you recall of that experience?
BROK, well, undoubtedly I was already in the co-pilot seat and Partin was in the Aircraft Commander pilot seat and we were climbing out of. Actually, the first thing I remember is that we were going out to a certain point, and from the transcripts I found out that we weren't already at 20,000 feet, I thought we were already at 20,000 feet and then I requested a certain instrument landing approach, I think it's a TACAN landing approach, and the controller requested that we check for something.
TTAt that point you were in what relationship to the base?
BRWell, we, we were flying away from the base going northwest, going out to a point to start our TACAN penetration.
TTSo you need to be a certain altitude to do that?
BRYeah, most of our approaches began at 20,000 feet. So I'm sure I requested clearance to 20,000 or Flight Level 2-0-0, which at 18,000 feet then you reset your altimeter to two-niner-niner-two [29.92]. Above 18,000 feet everyone is flying with the same altimeter setting so it keeps your distances, your vertical distances proper because there is so much variation in altimeter settings. On a cold day at low air pressure, they can be 2,000 feet off.
TTSo at this point do you request directions out?
BRYeah, well I'd requested a certain approach and I'd requested Flight Level 2-0-0, a certain instrument approach, and one of the controllers just came over and said "while your flying..." or something, "we would like for you to check on something out in this certain area" and of course it didn't have it on the readout but either I thought it in my mind or I made mention of the fact that we had been flying for ten hours and we were tired, we'd like to land but if it was important and, maybe this was just in my mind, but I'm pretty sure I said, "if this is important we'll check it out," and they said "well, we think it's important," and so I said "well give me a heading," and either they gave me a heading or we were already headed in the right direction, I don't know. As an afterthought I asked "what are we looking for?" and they said, "well you will know it if you see it," and after that someone mentioned that maintenance people have been seeing UFOs again. Anyway, we are just flying out towards the TACAN penetration point, so the ground controllers told me to look out at my 1:00 position, that I should have something out there and I couldn't see anything, and then shortly thereafter, the Navigator told me that we had something off our right wing at 3 o'clock and of course I am looking there too, and I really can't see it, I think that...

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