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This newly declassified video footage from the head-up-display of a U.S. Air Force Arizona Air National Guard F-16 records the dramatic moment when its unconscious pilot is saved from certain death by the aircraft’s Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System.
I started to roll and started to pull and I’m following [the instructor pilot] with my eyes,” Ocho said. “The next thing I remember is just waking up and hearing ‘recover.’ It happened so fast. Usually, everyone who has been pulling G’s for a long time; most people get tunnel vision that gradually comes in, that’s what I always get, but that day I didn’t get anything.”
Ocho said the first thing coming out of unconsciousness was hearing his instructor pilot, Maj. Luke O’Sullivan, saying “recover” several times. Once he opened his eyes, Ocho said he was confused for “one second” and then saw the ground coming very fast.
“I was already at the controls, but it had seemed I had not moved at all. When I woke up, I thought, ‘what just happened? What’s going to happen?’ Everything just came to me at the same time. I immediately started to pull up.”