Play / pause Screwing Up

Screwing Up

  • Al Byford
  • Interview by: Karen Worden


In terms of being afraid,

I think it's interesting my first combat experience

was the first Gulf War.

That was probably the most risky in terms

of in the Tornado force.

We did lose a significant number of aircraft during the war.

At that stage in my life,

as a junior pilot with no ties,

in many ways it was the time of my life

and what I joined the Air Force to do was fly in combat.

So, I wasn't concerned about personal safety,

but I was anxious and I think my anxiety

was knowing whether I would be able to do the job.

And if you're a pilot the thing I think

that you're more concerned about than anything else is,

are you gonna screw up or not.

So, I was really worried for the first few trips about,

am I gonna screw up?

Am I going to make a mistake with one of the switches?

Am I going to be able to drop my weapons

in the right place on time?

Am I going to let everybody down?

So that's what I was scared about.

If you like rather than anything else.

It was only later on in the war,

after probably five or six combat missions

when I knew that I could do it all,

but actually I had a bit more time to sort of look around

and start being concerned about what was happening

and the fact that we were losing aircraft.

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