|Man in a Desert||
On July 4th 1989 a Soviet MiG-23 Flogger took off from an airbase in Poland. Shortly after takeoff the plane's afterburner failed and the engine began losing power. Determining that he had lost control of the aircraft which was now at an altitude of about 150 meters (500 ft) and descending, the pilot ejected.
Amazingly the MiG pitched up and began a climb... And flew away eventually climbing to 11,900 meters (39,000 feet)!
From Poland it crossed into East German airspace. When it was apparent that it was about to violate West German airspace 2 US Air Force f-15 Eagles were scrambled to intercept/escort it. The pilots were amazed to find a MiG-23 flying without a pilot and a canopy missing. Apparently ground control had a hard time believing this.
Seeing this, the F-15s escorted the phantom jet until it entered Dutch airspace, at which point the Americans peeled away and returned to base.
The plane continued flying across Holland and crossed into Belgium, believe it or not, and flew on and on. As it approached France the French authorities put their Mirage jets on alert.
But having flown some 900 km (560 miles) the plane ran out of fuel and crashed to the ground in the Belgian town of Kortrijik near the border with France killing one Belgian teenager.
A man on a long journey through a perpetual desert.
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