Knife Fighting in the Air

Did the U.S. pilots really act in self-defense last week? Were they justified in firing the first shots? No question about it, say former Navy pilots and other experts familiar with the F-14 Tomcat. "I know it sounds strange to the layman to say, 'He pointed his nose at me five times so I shot him,' " conceded a jet-fighter technician. "But it makes sense in aerial combat. Furthermore, if some guy aims a gun at you in a dark alley, you don't ask him whether it's loaded."

Former fighter pilot Steve Corris, now a California lawyer, considers the Libyan pilots...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!