US pilots told a story about Soviet pilots of MiG aircraft that took off to intercept enemy aircraft at the height of the Cold War. Soviet pilots were making jokes during the operations, Theaviationgeekclub website wrote with reference to a collection of stories dedicated to the Douglas F3D Skyknight air missions.
"The first time we were intercepted, they reported that we were taking pictures of them, as we were carrying 35 mm hand-held cameras. Normally, it would be on the pilot's side where the interceptors were, and the ECMO would lean across and snap some pictures of them. And the Russians would report, "They're taking pictures of us. What should we do?” One of the Russian controllers had a sense of humour and said "Smile”. Who would have thought the Russians had any sense of humour at all?" Skyknight pilot Chuck Houseman said.
The book also said that US pilots, who were collecting reconnaissance data near the Soviet borders in the Far East, thought of Soviet pilots as friendly individuals compared to pilots from other communist countries. According to the author of the book and aviation expert Joe Copalman, the midair encounters had always been quiet as the United States had not violated state borders and performed its tasks within international space.
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