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Alternative way for pilot ingress on UFO Interceptor


Don’t get me wrong on this. I love Graham Bleathman’s cutaway artwork. While I agree with his Moonbase cutaway of the Interceptors’ launch bay (Fanderson’s UFO Annual), the way the pilots enter the vehicles left me scratching my head. I always felt the Interceptor pilots entered through the hatch behind the cockpit (see attached art). Following a long tradition where the pilots enter through hatches and not through the canopy: from the bottom (Angel Interceptor), the back (Sky 1), and the top (TB2). Also looked at the large FX model and noticed where the pilot sat in relation to the canopy (see attachment).

But that’s my 2 cents.


  • UFO Interceptor pilot ingress.jpg
    UFO Interceptor pilot ingress.jpg
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  • Interceptor.jpeg
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I've often pondered this too. The top hatch you describe would be easier to seal than the other possibility, which is that the canopy tilts up on a hinge as in a conventional jet fighter.

Another thing I've often wondered is the actual journey the pilots take after grabbing their helmets and flinging themselves into the drop tubes. It appears they're sliding down these tubes by force of gravity alone, and somehow going all the way from the moonbase sphere to the interceptor hangar. The launch pads are not in view on any establishing shots of the moonbase, so it's going to be a pretty long slide from the sphere to the hangar. I suppose somewhere along the way they get a Thunderbirds-style motorized assist to help them along.



When I watched UFO as a kid, my belief was the pilots went down the chutes and directly into the Interceptors (like Virgil in Thunderbird 2).

However, Graham Bleathman’s Moonbase cutaway in the Fanderson UFO Annual shows the pilots slide down the chutes to a travel tube, which takes them to the launch silos. It explains why we don’t see the launch craters in the long shots of Moonbase.

In the episode “Computer Affair” Lt Ellis states Interceptor launch times were 125 seconds. I believe the clock starts at the moment the pilots enter the craft, do their preflight, to liftoff.
That's interesting about the travel tube. The clock would actually start when the command "Intereceptors, immediate launch" is given. Otherwise the pilots could keep chatting after they get the order and take their time, and Straker wouldn't be able to diagnose why they're taking so long. Preflight on modern jet fighters is negligible, so I expect the Interceptors, which are even more advanced, wouldn't require it at all. It's sealed shut in a ready to launch state after the last maintenance is done.


I heartily agree with you that the launch time Lt. Ellis gives should be the moment the alert is given to liftoff-if the pilots slid directly into the Interceptors. My reasoning on when it occurs is based on the launch silo cutaway in the Fanderson UFO Annual. Down the launch chute, the travel tube, entry into the Interceptor and then liftoff would be around 4 minutes. A preflight still would have to be done, but it would be done while the Interceptors are being lifted to the surface.

Based on RAF and BAE material available on the Web, a Eurofighter Typhoon QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) is around 2.5 minutes from “brakes off” to Mach 1.5 (the pilots are already in the cockpit with the engines started).
US fighter scramble times from alert to takeoff start from 5 minutes.