"Vulture of the Andes"

(Original air date 11/21/76)


Steve enters a flying competition to thwart the plans of an
arms dealer blackmailing the government


Writer: Ben Masselink

Director: Cliff Bole

Aboard a small glider hovering above a secured Army facility, pilot Leslie Morales (Barbara Luna) drops what she believes are listening devices used for industrial espionage. She returns to the field of the 11th Annual International Soaring Championship to report to her coach Byron Falco (Henry Darrow) and his associate Raul (Zitto Kazann) her successful mission.

US Army Major Reynolds (Dallas Mitchell)) drops by the field to issue one last warning regarding Leslie’s unauthorized flight plan. Should she again wander inside the restricted air space, she will be grounded. Unbeknownst to Leslie that the metal gadgets she’s been releasing over the Monroe compound are in reality guiding devices for old Falcon missiles that Falco is intent on using as bargaining chips in exchange for a fleet of American war ships.


At the OSI offices Oscar briefs Steve on his assignment, which requires him to pose as a member of the American team entering the soaring competition. His cloak will allow him to spy on former sports legend Byron Falco now suspected of arms dealing with designs on gaining control of his country of San Lorenzo. Unfortunately his diplomatic immunity prohibits the US government from issuing any warrant for his arrest without solid evidence of misconduct.

Driving to his destination Steve spots the blue van Oscar mentioned belonged to Falco’s men. He parks alongside the disabled vehicle stuck in the sand and scans the area. He notices a woman sitting in the clearing with a drawing pad in hand. He goes down to introduce himself and compliments her on her talent. Leslie explains that she paused to draw a buzzard flying above while patiently waiting for someone to come along to help with her stuck vehicle.


Steve volunteers to be that Samaritan and while he has her fetch some branches, he bionically get the van back on solid ground. They part with the knowledge that they are to meet again at the competition.


At the airfield, Steve takes off in a glider to follow Leslie’s at a distance to spy on her moves. Back on land Steve studies the inside of her plane and tactfully throws questions at her on the purpose for carrying a gun and a camera. He pushes his search further by accidentally dropping the content of her purse and finds the intriguing device.


Steve keeps this discovery to himself and watches Leslie take off for her flight. On the tarmac playing with a kite is a young boy who unknowingly gets his feet caught in a loop as the plane pulls Leslie’s glider. Steve hurries over to the boy and severs the rope but not soon enough for him to injure his right arm.


At the lab, Rudy gives Oscar the bad news. Steve’s arm requires a major overhaul and therefore won’t be available for the next forty-eight hours. In the interim Oscar turns to Agent Pete Marteen (Bernie Kopell) to take over the assignment.

Falco drops by the OSI office to issue an ultimatum. Should his demand for a fleet of American war ships be denied, he will launch his Falcon missiles on a specific military target. Oscar’s scepticism prompts Falco to schedule a test for tomorrow to prove he has those weapons in his possession. Once Falco out of the room, Marteen comes out of his hidden place to discuss the likelihood of Falco having perfected the obsolete weapons to render them undetectable by radars.


Falco returns to the airfield to instruct Leslie on her flight plan. She fears that dropping more listening devices above a restricted area will have her disqualified from the competition, but nevertheless agrees to perform this last task.

Marteen assumes the identity of a photographer assigned to take snap shots of the soaring competition and its participants. On the field he runs into Leslie who reluctantly agrees to pose for his camera, which lens does more roaming over her flight instruments than on her face.

Once Leslie is airborne with the agent’s tracking device solidly fastened underneath her plane wing, Marteen follows the signal to the Monroe testing range facility where she drops a new device.


With Steve back on the job Oscar sends him to meet with Marteen and both gain access to the Monroe facility in time to witness Falco’s threat at work. Steve spots the fake listening device he recalls was in Leslie’s purse, which is in reality a sophisticated guidance system that will lead the missile to its target. Sure enough The Falcon evades radar detection and attains its objective.


Steve jumps down to confirm his suspicions and returns to Marteen with his discovery. Both conclude that Falco’s missiles are worthless without the devices and discuss Leslie’s flight plan, hoping to locate the other devices.

Steve informs Oscar of his discovery and assures him that Falco’s missiles are primitive. He suspects Falco’s base to be on the Army’s ground for the auto-guidance system to work without setting off the security alarm. The one place would be at the Annual Soaring Competition.


Given that startling information Oscar urges Steve to locate the other planted devices before Falco launches his missiles on his intended target. He meets with Marteen at the airfield to instruct him to follow Leslie’s glider on the ground while he does it from the air.

Steve borrows a glider to tail Leslie’s and follows her to a deserted field. There he surprises her inside a hangar where he confronts her about her altered flight plans. She admits to planting those listening devices she was told were designed for use in industrial espionage to benefit her impoverished country.


Falco shows up with gun in hand. While his two men get busy tying Steve to a chair, he contacts Oscar with a last ultimatum. Leslie is shocked at Falco’s betrayal of his country and appalled by the knowledge that he used her to achieve his goal. She feigns her understanding of his cause and leaves Steve with a drawing of a bird’s wing.

Steve zooms in on that drawing and discerns the location of Falco’s base shaped in the form of feathers ‘LoveJoyButtes’.


He quickly severs his restraints, overpowers his captors, disables their car and takes off at a bionic sprint toward that destination


While Falco sets up his instruments, Leslie watches for any sign of Steve. Her waving alerts Falco that an intruder is approaching. He aims a missile at the moving target but misses.


He tries to make a quick getaway in the van but Steve hurls a missile to disable it.

To show his appreciation of Leslie’s assistance in putting Falco out of commission, Steve assures her that he will use his influence with the justice department to obtain a light sentence, providing she reveals the location of the other guiding devices.


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