"Nightmare in the Sky"

(Original air date 09/26/76)


Steve helps test pilot Kelly Wood accused of stealing a costly
experimental aircraft


Writers: Jim Carlson & Terrence McDonnell

Director: Alan Crosland

Oscar and Steve arrive at Ventura Air Force Base and meet with Base Commander Larry Stover (Dana Elcar) who ushers them onto a platform to watch test pilot Major Kelly Wood (Farrah Fawcett-Majors) manoeuvre the new experimental XJ-7 aircraft. Hearing Kelly’s voice triggers memories of Steve’s first encounter with the pretty pilot during the rescue of shuttle Athena One.

Moments later Kelly reports that an old Japanese Zero appeared without warning and is now following her but oddly enough, the plane doesn’t register on the radar. She insists that it is trying to shoot her down but again, nothing is amiss on the radar screen. Her engines stutter and she decides to bring the plane down easy.


At the hospital Kelly describes her ordeal to a sceptical Oscar who believes the so-called Japanese plane was a figment of her imagination. Plus which, the fact that Kelly doesn’t remember landing the plane, much less knowing where it might be doesn’t quite convince the boss that she’s innocent. He explains that the government spent fifteen million dollars developing the experimental aircraft and suspects her to be behind a plot to steal the pricey toy. Steve however won’t jump to conclusions and gives her the benefit of the doubt.

Oscar gives news to Larry and Steve that their precious aircraft was quietly put out for sale on the European market. They speculate that the XJ-7 is still in the country, seeing how all areas had been sealed off following the disappearance. However they have been unsuccessful at locating the plane.

Steve suggests bringing Kelly back to the area where they found her wandering in the desert, but Larry objects on account that the government intends to prefer criminal charges against her under suspicion of treason.


Later that night, Steve breaks Kelly out of the hospital and together, they set out to locate the XJ-7. Given the nature of the escape, through the barred window, Oscar suspects Steve was involved but keeps quiet.


They drive to the area where the Army helicopter found her. She remembers coming from one direction and points to it. Steve goes investigate.

While stretching her legs, Kelly meets with the supposed ghost of a lost pilot, Dr. Martin Davis (Donald Moffat). When the man vanishes before her eyes she hysterically runs back to Steve, convinced that she’s losing her mind.


Steve reports the incident to Oscar who dismisses it as another hallucination. Doctor Davis did disappear in that same area and strangely enough Kelly, who’s unfamiliar with the doctor, described him perfectly. Given the circumstances, Oscar agrees to give Steve time to find evidence to prove Kelly’s innocence.

At the covert hideout, the ‘ghost’ receives a warning that unwanted guests might be heading his way, and is ordered to deal with them. Just as expected, Davis spots Steve and Kelly and locks in the ignition breaker to debilitate Steve’s jeep. The engine is in good working condition but somehow there’s no power. Even the radio’s dead.


Shots are fired from above and the jeep explodes. Steve and Kelly play dead waiting for the three men to leave and then, resume their journey under the stifling heat.

Meanwhile at the secret base, Dr. Davis advises his superior, none other than Larry Stover, that he has the situation under control. Stover is on his way with instructions on how to dismantle the XJ-7 so the pieces will fit inside a wooden crate to later be shipped out to the buyer.


Steve zooms in on fresh tire tracks in the sand, which lead them to the hideout. They find the aircraft in plain sight, but well hidden under a camouflage netting of the same color as the desert, hence the reason why the aerial search couldn’t spot it from a bird’s eye view.

Steve goes down to disable the guards and get rid of the firearms.


He and Kelly start inspecting the plane before she takes place in the pilot seat, setting off an inside alarm in the process. Instead of chasing after her, Dr. Davis proposes sending the ghost plane to bring her down.


Steve discovers that Larry Stover is the mastermind behind this scheme. He figures out how laser beams were able to project holographs and disable Kelly’s plane engine to force her down.

Kelly has no choice but to land the jet. Her short flight triggered her memory into recalling the events that took place that day. Steve explains that the Japanese Zero was a mere holograph programmed to lure her within a particular range so they could disable the engine.


While tied up, they both learn of Davis’ plan to hijack a cargo plane to load the XJ-7 onto it in order to sneak it out of the country. Very clever scheme when considering that military planes were left out of Oscar’s check list.

Steve breaks out of his bonds and overpowers the men, then tears the place apart to kill the laser beam.


Stover gets away in the real Japanese Zero plane. The XJ-7 might have been disassembled, but Steve takes the pieces out of the crate and uses his bionics to rebuild the plane in record’s time.


Steve and Kelly take off and relay a message to Oscar to intercept Stover in the Japanese Zero heading south. Then they go after Stover and keep him occupied until the Air Force fleet takes over.


Days later, Steve meets with Kelly in a draughty plane hangar for their date. He apologizes for the last-minute change of plans as he now needs to fly to Washington for a new assignment. However while the boss is banging on the jammed door, Steve does take time to steal a dance and a kiss from his girl.


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