Play / pause Flying into Iraq

Flying into Iraq

  • Alice McDermott
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


So when we were flying into Iraq,

after the second Gulf Conflict,

a lot of what we did was at night

because you know, you're not seen at night,

but to make everything clear,

we would wear night vision goggles,

and the approaches that we would do

would be as steep as possible,

to keep us as high as possible,

until we were over the airfield.

One of my great joys of those detachments

was rather than, if you imagine, a normal trip,

you'd have the autopilot in,

and you'd do a nice gentle descent

into an airfield at the other end.

In this occasion, you know,

you'd be up a height at 24,000, 25,000 feet.

You'd have your helmet on,

with your night vision goggles on,

and you would take out the autopilot

and you'd manually fly the aircraft,

and you'd fly the steepest descent possible,

and there's just something really,

there's something that brings you alive

holding 60 tons of aircraft,

metric tons of aircraft at your fingertips

on night vision googles,

at night, landing in an airfield.

There's something just really fun about that.

  • Alice McDermott standing next to aircraft

    © RAF Museum

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