"The Deadly Test"

(Original air date 10/19/75)


As temporary commander of Edwards Air Force Base Steve must unravel
a plot to kill a renowned pilot


Writer: James D. Parriott

Director: Christian I. Nyby II

While Steve gets ready to land at Edwards Air Force Base to meet with his friend, Base Commander Joe Gordon (Tim O'Connor), a deliveryman (Frank March) roams the base corridors in search of the flight schedule. Once he has his information he contacts his superior to assure him that his contraption is ready to do away with their subject.


Meanwhile Gordon gives Steve the grand tour of the base as he explains his duty for the next few days when heíll take over at the helm. They bump into two officers, Lieutenant Jan Simmons (Leigh Christian) and Major Aram Sakari (Erik Estrada) who are in the midst of a slanging match over the flight schedule. She is the best engineer and he, the best pilot, but canít seem to get along on account of Prince Sakariís firm belief that women do not belong in the Air Force.

Later Steve is introduced to the class of student pilots. Gordon explains that Steve will be in charge of the flight school while heís away on vacation. Already tension is palpable between Sakari and fellow pilot Sol Levy (Martin Speer) who doesnít take too kindly of having to fly second behind His Highness, whom he believes is getting preferential treatment.


Outside a motel, the deliveryman aka scientist Dr. Winslow and his cohort Pratt (Harry Pugh) move his contraption into a van to drive onto the base to carry out the plan. When Sakari and Levy take flight, Winslow aims his ray device at the plane to disable it, unaware that Sakari had switched places with Levy at Gordonís command. Steve and Jan witness Levyís plane plummet to the ground, but luckily the pilot is able to eject before the aircraft crashes.


Steve and the flight crew strive to find a plausible explanation as to why Levyís plane instruments went awry and not Sakariís, but come up dry.

The next day, Oscar flies to the base to check out the wreckage of the plane. He reads Steve an old report on failed projects to devise contraptions that can disable planes, believing that perhaps one of those scientists may have built their own without the governmentís approval. Both he and Steve believe that Sakari might have been the target. A probable plot by the Prime Minister of his country to do away with the Prince so he can take over as leader. Obviously an inside job for the culprit had to have access to the flight schedule.

Steve suggests taking over Sakariís next test flight to bring the criminal out in the open but the Prince vehemently opposes to the switch. Heís convinced that Levy only committed a pilot error and that his life is not threatened. Face with Sakariís refusal to comply, Steve confines him to his quarters until further notice.


Jan insists on joining Steve on this flight, stating that she can be of some engineering assistance should his instruments fail in flight.

Steve invites her to dinner during which they discuss her dream of becoming an astronaut. During the conversation they notice Levy getting drunk at the bar. Steve insists the man shape up and stop wallowing in bitterness if he is to succeed in his goal of becoming a top pilot.


When Sakari and Levy have another fall out Steve steps in and orders the two to settle their differences or he will not hesitate to ground them. Meanwhile Winslow sneaks in to check the flight schedule for Sakariís next stint, unaware that Steve will be taking his place.

The next morning Oscar escorts Steve to the flight desk, then goes to the radio room to remain in constant contact with his friend while airborne.


While Steve and Jan taxi down the runway, Winslow and Pratt set the instruments in the back of the van. Driving to the parking lot, Levy finds it peculiar to see the delivery van parked in a forbidden zone. As he goes investigate, he gets caught and is ordered to drive the van to the field where Winslow sets the device into motion.


When Steve reports a malfunction, both with the instruments and his bionic eye, Oscar orders him to eject before the plane crashes. On the ground, Levy swirls the car, making Winslow drop his device, thus allowing Steve to regain control of his plane. Winslow knocks Levy out and takes the wheel to drive to the test-firing range.


Steve spots the red van below. He lands the plane, scans the field for the vehicle and then takes off at a bionic sprint towards his target. Winslow spots him and sends him a healthy dose of paralysing rays, which renders him powerless.


He manages to crawl over to safety where he notices a rocket half buried in the sand. He grabs a hold of it and staggers to his feet to hurl the weapon at the van to disable it. Both Winslow and his cohort scurry away, leaving Jan to save Levy and Steve to throw the overheating contraption into the air before it explodes.


Days later, before leaving for his native country of Kutan, Sakari offers his utmost gratitude to Levy for risking his own life to save his. As Sakari boards the helicopter with Oscar, Gordon returns from his vacation. He is stunned to learn of the upheavals that occurred in the two weeks that heís been away.


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