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By Jongo
#201286
No videos, but I have had two close jet encounters. One was while about 1,000 feet still connected to the car tow line at Meckering in West Australia. Two machi jets flew underneath me, across the same paddock that I was towing from, but they both missed the tow rope.

The second was much more thrilling, in reality terrifying. In 1991 I was flying at Horseshoe Meadows in the Owens Valley. When the air started getting unduly rough I headed out over the valley with the intention of landing in the paddock next to the Lake Diaz camping ground, where I was staying. I arrived over Lake Diaz at 5,000 feet agl, heading straight across the valley, then looked to my left to see an F18 at the exact same level as me, and directly in line with me. When I first saw the jet it was very close, maybe within 200 metres or so. The jet pilot had already seen me as he was diving under my hang glider, The jet passed directly under me, with only about a 50 foot height difference. I remember looking directly into the jet canopy and saw the pilot with his head craned back looking up at me. Next I turned my head to the right and vividly recall looking straight down into the two big blue jet flames, which looked exactly like I had often seen on TV. I gripped tight on the basebar, and had a glance at my parachute handle, while waiting for the expected turbulence. But the turbulence never came, I was obviously just high enough to clear the turbulence. Next I was in a hurry to get down, so I spiralled all the way down to Lake Diaz without wasting any time, and came in for a nice virtually nil wind landing close to the camping ground. Within a minute of unclipping and getting out of my harness I heard a roar and looked up to see two F18s passing directly overhead at about 200 feet, I gave them a big wave. I only saw one jet when at 5,000 feet. Nice of the pilots to come back and check on me I thought.

What an adventure it was, definitely one of the most thrilling moments in my life ... so far.
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