Flying today in South Central Missouri and a Military Jet flew right in front of us. I was level at 7500 ft on a SE heading when the 3 of us in the plane saw a blur and a military jet on a SW heading. No time to react and he was gone! I have the B F Goodrich Skywatch installed in my plane and don’t know why but had NO WARNING. After the plane passed looked down and and plane showed up on TCAS. I don’t know if the Military Jet did not have transponder on until we met or if he was climbing and was in a blind spot for the TCAS. From the time the plane flew in front of us we had no more than 2 seconds and we felt his wake (Probably closer to 1 second).
One of the reasons I purchased the TCAS was to prevent the unexpected when you least expect it. I didn’t subscribe to the Big Sky — little airplane theory and considered this as a very important safety feature for me.
Unfortunately I didn’t have flight following today as I usually do, but was clear sky and was at an altitude which I thought I wouldn’t even see another plane for this 200 mile trip. In defense of the other pilot, he was on a heading which he would have been looking into the Sun and if he saw me at all I’m sure he would have been just as surprised to see me.
I am still glad I have the TCAS and would highly recommend for anyone contemplating whether to spend the money or not. Nothing is perfect, and my experience today makes me count my blessings. I feel fortunate to be able to sit here and write this.