US `Top Gun fighter pilot academy set up by British

March 23rd, 2009 - 2:44 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar.23 (ANI): The Royal Navy elite flying instructors inspired the American Top Gun fighter pilot academy, a new book has revealed. The British contribution of a dozen instructors was a substantial help to the Americans struggling for aerial success over Vietnam
According to The Telegraph, when British pilots arrived at Miramar airbase in California in the early 1960s, the Americans were losing a large number of dogfights in their multi-million Phantom fighters to the enemy’’s relatively “cheap” MiG 21s. The tuition from the British pilots, all graduates of the intense Air Warfare Instructors School in Lossiemouth, Scotland, led to the Americans dominating the skies, the military historian Rowland White has revealed in the book titled Phoenix Squadron. Foremost among the Royal Navy pilots was Lt Commander Dick Lord’’s whose work on the tactics group was the founding on which the “original eight Top Gun instructors built their course”. The British pilot, originally from South Africa, introduced simple things such as writing notes on the knee-pad of his flying suit during air combat exercises
The Americans trusted Lord enough to give him access to a secret document that played a key part in his writing the Air Combat Manoeuvring manual for the US pilots.
Lord’’s expertise was so well regarded that he was asked to give lectures to US fighter pilots all along the West Coast. While the former Royal Navy officer, who married his British wife at Miramar, said he enjoyed the film he did not recognise the characters until his wife told him that the big-talking naval fighter pilots were most accurately depicted. (ANI)

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