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Plane enthusiast saves pilot's life after spotting problem with aircraft in sky

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A plane spotter who called in a malfunction on an aircraft he was watching averted a potential disaster, its pilot said. Ian Simpson, 56, regularly visits RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk to gaze at the skies and photograph the planes.

But, on the morning of July 13, he spotted something unusual. The base is run by the US Air Force and is home to the 48th Fighter Wing, the only US Air Force F-15 fighter wing in Europe.

Mr Simpson was watching Major Grant Thompson's F-15E Strike Eagle on take-off when he saw flames and sparks. He listened to radio communications between the pilot and the air base to see if anyone had noticed - but all he heard was silence. Got a story?

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