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Sometimes, the unmistakable sound of a lone Merlin engine fills the air in the dark of the night, during snowstorms, heavy showers, fog and in all seasons over residents near the former RAF station at Biggin Hill, Kent. Locals are very familiar with the sounds of the rare engine even though the base was shut down long ago. There have been countless reports over the years where witnesses claim to have heard, and even seen, a lone Spitfire flying overhead. Amazingly, some of these witnesses have been Wartime Veterans, and pilots. Those of us who know the sound of a Merlin, know full well, it is not a sound to be mistaken for anything else. The question is not what engine is producing these sounds, the question is who is flying it.
According to past sightings, the Biggin Hill Spitfire is apparently seen around January, with the 19th your best chance to see the ghostly apparition in flight.
He died at home at 3:22 a.m. on June 13, 1993 and this was witnessed by his wife and daughter. Now here is where things get really strange. The plane that he loved to race turned up in the sky above John Wayne Airport in California on June 13, 1993 at 7:57 a.m.. Even though he died in Texas and there is a time difference, there is no way that he could have been piloting the plane, since he was already deceased.
His plane was very distinct and had huge numbers painted on the fuselage. It was also a very noisy play which made many people look up as it flew and many of them noted the registration and type of plane. The Federal Aviation Administration sent a letter of citation against the registered owner and pilot of the plane stating that the noise level was above the allowed amounts. The family upon receiving this letter immediately contacted the FAA and told them several interesting facts. The first one of course was that Slayton could not have been piloting the plane since he had died before the incident.
Another interesting fact was that the plane had been put into an aircraft museum in Nevada, before the date of the fly over and the engine had been removed. The plane had been seen taking off from the airport, but the FAA was informed that the plane never had an electric starter and therefore it required somebody on the outside of the plane to help get it going. The many witnesses that had seen the plane were interrogated many times by different agencies and local pilots, none of them wavered in the identification of the plane.
The plane performed maneuvers over the airport that day and climbed suddenly into the clouds and was never seen again.
As Stockstill started another turn, onto 180 degrees, he noticed the discrepancy. The following conversation was recovered from the flight voice recorder later:
Stockstill: We did something to the altitude.
Stockstill: We're still at 2,000 feet, right?
Loft: Hey—what's happening here?
The jetliner crashed at 25°51′53″N 80°35′43″W25.86472°N 80.59528°W
The location was west-northwest of Miami, 18.7 miles (30.1 km) from the end of runway Nine Left (9L). The plane was traveling at 227 miles per hour when it flew into the ground. The left wingtip hit first, then the left engine and the left landing gear, making three trails through the sawgrass, each five feet wide and more than 100 feet (30 m) long. When the main part of the fuselage hit the ground, it continued to move through the grass and water, breaking up as it went.
In all, 77 had lived through the ordeal—69 of the 163 passengers and 8 of the 10 flight attendants survived the crash, with 99 initial fatalities.
Over the following months and years, employees of Eastern Air Lines began reporting sightings of the dead crew members, captain Robert Loft and second officer (flight engineer) Donald Repo, sitting on board other L-1011 (N318EA) flights. The aircrafts involved in the sightings were discovered to have been serviced using the recovered parts of Flight 401. These parts were salvaged after the crash investigation and refitted into other L-1011s.
The reported hauntings were only seen on the planes that used the spare parts. (Even though some parts were salvaged and re-used to maintain other airplanes in Eastern's fleet, the accident resulted in the total hull loss of N310EA and it was written off.) Sightings of the spirits of Don Repo and Bob Loft spread throughout Eastern Air Lines to the point where Eastern's management warned employees that they could face dismissal if caught spreading ghost stories. While Eastern Airlines publicly denied some of their planes were haunted, they reportedly removed all the salvaged parts from their L-1011 fleet.
Once the original parts belonging to Flight 401 were removed, the ghostly crewmembers were never seen again…..
The term "gremlin" denoting a mischievous creature that creates havoc on board aircraft, originated in Royal Air Force (RAF) slang in the 1920s among the British pilots stationed in Malta, the Middle East, and India, with the earliest recorded printed use being in a poem published in the journal Aeroplane in Malta on 10 April 1929. Some sources even indicate that reports go as far back World War I
Scissor-wielding gremlins were known to cut the wires, sabotage engines, instruments, antennae as well as the aircraft fuselage on poor unsuspecting pilots . These stories even being shared by Spitfire and Hurricane pilots during the Battle of Britain. Flight crews continued to blame gremlins for otherwise inexplicable accidents and incidents which sometimes occurred during their flights.
Gremlins were also thought at one point to have enemy sympathies, but further investigation revealed that Axis aircraft had similar and equally inexplicable mechanical problems.
This is something I have pursued for more than twenty-five years. The kind of story that raises the hackles on the back of your neck. There's an immeditate urge to dismiss it as preposterous, impossible.
Because it is preposterous and impossible. Yet the records are there. A document that tells what happened in deliberately cold and official terms. A field in North Africa during the war. An event that took place that was so impossible the commanding officer at the airfield demanded, and got, the signatures of hundreds of witnesses who saw the whole impossible incident. The writer insists on nothing, makes no claims as to truth or impossibility. This is what happened. As it happened. As it was seen and sworn to by hundreds of ground crewmen and pilots, enlisted men and officers.
A flight of P-38s had gone out on patrol. They left to cross the Mediterranean. They mixed it up with German fighters and there was a brief scrap. When the P-38s reformed there was one airplane missing. No one could recall, in the furious melee, watching him go down. They looked around, then they started home.
They arrived back at their field in North Africa. The one pilot who failed to return was listed as missing in action. Not yet, though. Not until his fuel ran out. Not until there wasn't even a glimmer of a chance.
The clock ticked slowly. Then, beyond the point of any fuel. Another two hours went by. They put his name on the list of missing.
It happens. That's war.
Then the air raid alert sounded. Radar picked up a single aircraft, unknown, coming in toward the field at fairly low altitude and high speed. Anti-aircraft guns started tracking. Some pilots ran for their planes.
Then they saw the intruder. A P-38, alone. Coming in along a shallow dive, engines thundering. It failed to respond to radio calls. There was no response to flares fired hurriedly into the air.
A strange approach; that flat and unwavering dive. The P-38 crossed to the center of the field.
Suddenly the airplane seemed to stagger. It fell apart in midair, a tumble of wreckage falling toward the ground. No flash of fire, no explosion. Just the startling breakup of machinery.
They saw a body fall clear of the wreckage. Pilots muttered, called aloud their thoughts without thinking. Then a parachute opened. Silk blossomed full. But the body hung limp in the harness.
Close to the wreckage, the pilot collapsed. No one saw him move. The crash trucks raced to the scene.
Those who came later saw their friends stunned, disbelieving, shaking their heads. They talked about it through the night. The next morning the light of dawn hadn't changed a thing.
It was impossible.
The fuel tanks of the P-38, the same airplane that was hours beyond any possible remaining fuel, were bone dry.
They had been dry for several hours.
The pilot whose parachute opened, that lowered him to his home field, had a bullet hole in his forehead. He had been dead for hours.
But it happened.
And no one knows how.
originally posted by: Cohen the Barbarian.., but I stand by my purple prose assessment. Maybe I've become too jaded.