Back in May 1983, a pretty insane accident occurred. An Israeli F-15D was flying over the Negev desert, when it collided with an A-4 Skyhawk. Immediately after the collision, the Skyhawk burst into flames and the pilot ejected, eventually landing safely on the ground. The radio called for the F-15 pilot to eject as well, but this guy had other plans in mind.
The collision caused the F-15 to lose its right wing. The pilot, Ziv Nedivi, felt the turbulence, but he wasn’t quite aware of the severity of damage. The plane was leaking fuel, and the mist that was being thrown into the air made visibility so bad that he couldn’t see the extent of the damage. After being told to eject, he instead decided to save the plane and attempt to land. Even though the plane went into a spin at first, he turned on the afterburners and managed to regain control of the jet.
The pilot limped the plane closer to a nearby airport and lined it up to the runway. By the time that the wheels touched down, he was traveling at twice the speed he should’ve been at for landing, but he did everything he could to land safely. Remarkably, he got the jet stopped only 20 feet from the barrier at the end of the runway. If it wasn’t for the precision of this pilot, and a little bit of luck, this could have played out much differently than it did.
While he knew something was wrong with the jet, he didn’t quite understand completely that he was missing a wing until he was back on the ground. After safely exiting the plane, the pilot made a comment that if he knew the extent of the damage, he very likely would have ejected. On the bright side, he did manage to save the plane, and, after some major repairs, it was good as new. That’s one hell of a pilot!