Fighter Crew Helps King Air

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There are times when having an Air Force fighter track you down and form up on your wing is a good thing. The crew of a King Air lost all of its electronic instruments on approach to Glasgow last week. Unfortunately, the British weather was living up to its reputation and finding an airport, let alone landing there, was out of the question. A nearby Royal Air Force Tornado crew heard the chatter and was summoned to help. The aerial ballet that followed took almost two hours before its happy ending. The fighter formed up on the King Air and used hand signals (the unspecified failure also knocked out the radios). Together, the crews of both aircraft managed to lead the seriously handicapped turboprop back to Glasgow. Weather was down there and also at Prestwick so the fighter crew headed for an RAF base where the King Air crew was able to land safely. Tornado pilot Flight Lieutenant Ted Threapleton said it would have been a tough assignment for a less capable aircraft and crew. "There was probably nobody else who could have helped because civilian aircraft don't have all the radars, radios and tracking equipment we do," he told The Scotsman. "We are also trained to fly in formation and do this type of shepherding."