from C-C-Cold War Syndrome
video by Erik Beckjold,
Aug 6, 1983
It was my fourth flight over Loch Ness. On none of the previous three had I spotted Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.
The route from Keflavik, Iceland, where my P-3 squadron was then deployed, to Mildenhall, England, had taken us directly over Loch Ness, Scotland. I’d received clearance to descend from flight level 250 (about 25,000 feet) down to 500 feet in order to conduct two passes over the lake, one in each direction along its 25-mile length.
Had Loch Ness been shrouded in mist, low-level flight between the rocky hills that bracket the narrow lake on either side would not have been feasible. But the day was sunny and the visibility unrestricted. More than a dozen sailboats glided lazily across the water’s smooth surface.
During the descent, I instructed my radar operator to switch on the Orion’s infrared camera. On his screen, he could see small disturbances in the water, such as the slender wake of a submarine’s periscope—disturbances not discernable by the naked eye from more than a mile or two away.
“I have a target wake, two four six degrees at four miles,” he reported a few minutes after we’d started our first pass.
I steered and peered in that direction. None of us in the cockpit could see the wake that was visible only to the discriminating eye of the infrared camera.
Two miles from the target, the operator called out, “Wake has disappeared. Target has gone sinker.”
We flew on to the spot, searching visually. The wake had vanished. Nor was there anything visible in the vicinity that might have created it.
Nothing there but a mysterious, dissolving swirl on the surface of the deep, cold-black water.
The first reports of a lake creature in Loch Ness date from 565 A.D. The frequency of reported sightings increased dramatically after 1933 when a new road was built along the lake shore and, for the first time, large numbers of people were able to visit the area. No doubt some Nessie sightings, later discounted, occurred in the fog of one pint too many in the Mackay pub at Drumnadrochit.
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