Home Article Space:1999 Eagle crashes and losses – Year One

Space:1999 Eagle crashes and losses – Year One

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Over the course of the 48 episodes of Space:1999 the residents of Moonbase Alpha faced many dangers and threats on their journey into the unknown, but at least they could always rely on their primary mode of transportation, the Eagle! That is, when they actually worked properly. As cool as the Eagles were they were often easy targets and also rather accident prone, resulting in a high number of Eagles crashed or destroyed during the show’s run.

Forming an orderly queue to get blown to bits – the Eagles!

In this complete catalogue of Eagle-related calamities and catastrophes, we’ll be keeping track of these disasters in two categories; crashes records the number of Eagles that have crashed but not necessarily been destroyed, and lost records the number of Eagles the Alphans have lost by the end of the episode; either through being destroyed or just left behind on a planet. Unless there’s definite dialogue to the contrary, we won’t automatically be counting crashes as losses, since it’s possible many of the Eagles we see crash over the course of the series were salvaged and repaired offscreen to be crashed another day. However, on the rare occasions that an Eagle has both crashed and been destroyed or rendered otherwise inaccessible to the Alphans, a point will be given in each category. We’ll also be keeping track of which of the Alphans has the highest number of Eagle crashes and losses on their record, although if you’re even slightly familiar with the show the results probably won’t surprise you!

Let’s get started, with the first season.

BREAKAWAY

Appropriately enough considering his subsequent track record, Commander Koenig crashes the very first Eagle we see him take the controls of, when he goes out to investigate the buildup of magnetic energy at Nuclear Waste Disposal Area 1 – only for a sudden magnetic surge to disable all systems.

Soon after this, a robot Eagle launched to investigate a similar buildup at Waste Disposal Area 2 is overcome by another magnetic surge and crashes. We don’t see any effort to recover this Eagle, and by the time Commissioner Simmonds arrives on Alpha the wreck is still sat in the middle of the silos. Given the levels of brain melting magnetic radiation fizzing about the place it seems unwise for anyone to have attempted salvage but by the next time we see Area 2 the wreck is gone (possibly having been removed to allow the cargo Eagles access to the nuclear waste silos) so we can’t count this Eagle as a loss despite what happens shortly thereafter.

In the subsequent explosion that rips the Moon out of Earth’s orbit we see two Eagles getting destroyed, although given the scale of the operation it’s likely that many more were lost. An honourable mention (although not enough to score any points) also has to go to the Eagle seen spinning away from the Space Dock, which may have been destroyed when the station exploded seconds later. We also can’t not mention perhaps the most famous Eagle crash of the entire series, the one that appears in the opening titles in every episode of the first season. It was clearly footage shot for Breakaway, but since it wasn’t actually in the episode it doesn’t score any points. It does look very cool though.

EAGLES CRASHED = 2

EAGLES LOST = 2

MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

During the course of Year One, several Eagles were destroyed in incidents that were ultimately revealed to have never really happened, and the first of those occurs in this episode. Eagle 2, with Alan Carter inside, is destroyed on Terra Nova, and shortly after Moonbase Alpha’s entire remaining supply of Eagles is destroyed when the Moon itself is blown to pieces. However, since this ultimately never happened, it doesn’t count towards this list and stands instead as an honourable mention.

BLACK SUN

Eagle 1, piloted by Michael Ryan, is destroyed by Black Sun, thus proving that you should never take the controls of an Eagle unless you have a main character along to protect you. Even if you’re Paul Jones…

EAGLES CRASHED = 2

EAGLES LOST = 3

RING AROUND THE MOON

After an encounter with the Tritonian sphere Eagle 3, piloted by Carter and Donovan, is hurled back towards the Moon and crashes within walking distance of Alpha. Donovan’s death is the first and only time that an Alphan actually dies in an on-screen Eagle crash, made all the poignant by the implication that he apparently brought the ship down while Carter was unconscious.

EAGLES CRASHED = 3

EAGLES LOST = 3

ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE

Considering that they are the tag team bros of Eagle crashes it’s surprising that Koenig and Carter’s first joint Eagle crash occurs offscreen, and on the duplicate Moon created at the beginning of this episode. Since we don’t see the crash, only its aftermath, and since this isn’t the Koenig and Carter we know, and since it may not have ultimately happened anyway, we’re chalking this one up as another honourable mention.

MISSING LINK

Eagle 1, with Koenig and Carter at the controls, crashes on the lunar surface while returning from a survey to the planet Zenno. Rarely for an Eagle crash an on-screen attempt is made to partly recover the craft as well as its occupants, as the command module is detached from the wreck and taken back to Alpha.

EAGLES CRASHED = 4

EAGLES LOST = 3

THE LAST SUNSET

Eagle 28, with Carter and Morrow at the controls, crashes in a lunar crater near the Taurus mountains after encountering an electrical storm in the Moon’s new atmosphere. A full scale rescue operation is launched from Alpha, and we get a rare instance of someone actually mentioning how many Eagles the base has left – Alan informs us of “twenty-seven serviceable Eagles back at the base” – although this number presumably doesn’t include more Eagles that may be under repair or maintenance.

One of the Eagles employed in the search, piloted by Koenig and Mathias, falls victim to the corrosive elements of the Moon’s new atmosphere and crashes soon after lift off. Later, Koenig and Mathias are once again on the hunt for the crashed Eagle 28, which Helena Russell decides to destroy to give them a clear beacon to home in on.

EAGLES CRASHED = 6

EAGLES LOST = 4

VOYAGER’S RETURN

Eagle 2, piloted by Steve Abrams, is destroyed in space by the Queller drive of the Voyager 1 space probe.

EAGLES CRASHED = 6

EAGLES LOST = 5

WAR GAMES

War Games gives us a whole slew of destroyed Eagles, as Moonbase Alpha comes under attack from squadrons of Mk 9 Hawks launched from an alien planet. Eagle flight 1 destroys the first wave, but soon a second wave of Hawks is bearing down on Alpha, which destroys Eagle flight 2 before they have a chance to react. One Eagle is destroyed over Main Mission, but here’s where Koenig has been very clever. Clearly inspired by the decoy airfields populated by dummy vehicles and equipment designed to attract enemy aircraft during the Second World War, he has apparently ordered that dummy Eagles be quickly produced to distract the Hawks. Thus a paper Eagle destroyed over a launch pad, and a cardboard Eagle is destroyed on a launch pad.

Meanwhile Eagle Flight 1 engages the second wave of Hawks, but doesn’t fair very well; One Eagle is instantly destroyed by a Hawk, and Eagle 2 destroys a Hawk before it in turn gets destroyed by two more. Eagle 1, flown by Alan Carter and Pete Johnson, survives the battle, but notably once Koenig replaces Johnson in the co-pilot seat and the ship attempts to penetrate the forcefield around the alien planet it’s quickly destroyed.

However, since all of this was merely an alien induced vision, none of it really happened so it doesn’t earn any points on this list!

SPACE BRAIN

Eagle 1, flown by Wayland and Cousteau, is crushed by the space brain’s antibodies and the expelled waste matter is returned to Alpha as a meteorite, which crashes in section 6. We’re going to count this one as both a crash and a loss, since although they got Eagle 1 back they can’t really use it anymore.

Later on, a robot Eagle packed with explosives is recalled from an attack on the space brain, but remote control of the ship is lost and it crashes near launch pad 4.

EAGLES CRASHED = 8

EAGLES LOST = 6

THE INFERNAL MACHINE

During Alpha’s attack on the alien supercomputer Gwent, he destroys three Eagles (one over Main Mission, plus two more in space). Another honourable mention has to be made of an odd shot in the first half of the episode in which Gwent opens fire on two Eagles, his laser definitely aimed perfectly to take down at least one of them…and yet he somehow misses and hits the ground instead.

EAGLES CRASHED = 8

EAGLES LOST = 9

DRAGON’S DOMAIN

Obsessed with facing his monstrous old enemy alone Tony Cellini hijacks Eagle 1 and leaves its passenger module behind on Launch Pad 1. He then disconnects the command module from the space frame, docking the module on the old Ultra Probe ship and casting the spaceframe adrift in the spaceship graveyard. Unsurprisingly, no attempt is made to recover either component of Eagle 1, which makes this our very first Eagle lost through being left behind or abandoned rather than destroyed.

EAGLES CRASHED = 8

EAGLES LOST = 10

THE TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA

Luke Ferro and Anna Davis take Eagle 4 when they escape Alpha to begin their new lives on the planet Arkadia. Although the ship is undoubtedly still of use to Luke and Anna, we have to count it as a loss to the Alphans since they certainly won’t be using it again.

EAGLES CRASHED = 8

EAGLES LOST = 11

And that brings us to the end of the first season, giving us a mid-series tally of;

Next week we’ll be moving on to cover the disasters of the second season, and discovering which of the Alphans has the most Eagle crashes and losses on their record, so join us then!

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