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“The Deadly Test”

S3 E6

Production 43017
Original Airdate: October 19, 1975
Teleplay by
James D. Parriott
Directed by
Christian I. Nyby II
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Erik Estrada as Major Aram Sakari
Tim O'Connor as Commander Joe Gordon
Leigh Christian as Jan Simmons
Martin Speer as Sol Levy
Harry Pug as Pratt
Frank Marth as Winslow
Broadcast Order
Season 3
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"The Wolf Boy" "Target in the Sky"


Steve is serving his required two weeks of Air Force Reserve duty by filling in for the vacationing test pilot school commander, Col. Joe Gordon, at Edwards Air Force Base.

Dr. Winslow is hired to use an electronics jamming system to destroying the jet being flown by Major Aram Sakari, a student pilot in the school.  Sakari is the Prince of Kutan and Winslow has been hired to make his death look like an accident.  Because Col. Gordon changes the order of the test flights, Winslow mistakenly fells a jet piloted by David Levy, a pilot in the Israeli Air Force. 

At the same time Levy's plane was made to crash, Flight 101 into LAX also experienced problems.  Steve asks Oscar Goldman for information and assistance on the crash investigation.  According to his reports, the crash was caused by an ultra-high-energy coherent wave converted into a steerable beam.  Research into weaponizing such a beam was conducted by private businesses in the 1960's but the work was abandoned when the device proved to be unreliable and dangerous. 

Goldman also informs Steve that Prince Sakari has been under OSI protection for two months.  Goldman convinces Steve that Sakari was the intended target of the electronic sabotage.  According to Goldman, Prime Minister Chadal of Kutan would be in position to take over Kutan if Prince Sakari was no longer the heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, David Levy assumes that the attack on his aircraft was an intentional act of revenge by Sakari.  Levy informs Steve that he shot down Sakari's best friend during patrols over the Sinai Desert.  Steve encourages Levy to focus on his training and set aside politics and revenge.  In order to avert a possible conflict between the two countries and to smoke out the evidence of intentional sabotage, Steve replaces Sakari in the upcoming spin-test in a T-38 trainer.  Lt. Jan Simmons, the first woman to graduate from the test school, insists on going up with Steve for the spin-test.

David Levy notices the red van being used by Dr. Winslow to house the energy beam.  Levy investigates and is initially successful in stopping the attack on the T-38.  However, Dr. Winslow gains the advantage and forces Levy to drive the van away.  From the T-38, Steve notices the van escaping and pursues.  After landing the T-38 in the desert firing range, Steve chases the van on foot.  However, his advance is halted when the electronic beam hits Steve and disrupts his bionics.  After Steve recovers, he and Lt. Simmons rescue Levy from the van and Steve hurtles the beam device away before it overloads and explodes.

Winslow and his accomplice are arrested and Prime Minister Chadal is jailed in Kutan.  Sakari and Levy pledge their support to one another and Sakari leaves the test pilot training to assist his home country of Kutan.


"The Deadly Test" is one of several episodes whose storylines were combined by Mike Jahn for his Six Million Dollar Man novel, International Incidents.



Margaret: (on speakerphone) It's Mrs. Madden.
Commander Gordon: (sighs deeply) What is it this time?
Margaret: She says she's heard that we have a Chinese pilot being trained here. She thinks he's a spy.
Commander Gordon: Hmpf. Spies, eh? Well, tell the old bat that the only spying the gang does is in the centerfold girly magazines.

Prince Sakari: I will not allow you to take my place in the air. I came here to fly!
Steve: That's right, but not to die.

Winslow: Now who are you, the King of Persia?
Levy: Levy, the man you almost killed the first time.
Winslow: Oh? Well, your friend's not gonna be so lucky

Jan: I never thought I'd be sad to see the world's biggest male chauvinist leave. Can't you stay and finish school?
Prince Sakari: With my prime minister in jail, my country needs me. Perhaps next year.

Commander Gordon: Doggone it, Cowboy. Year in and year out, all I ever get is routine. Then you come down here for two weeks, I go on a vacation and what happens? Everything! You space cowboys have all the fun. Come on, jump in. No sense wearing out your feet.
Steve: Did you catch any fish?
Commander Gordon: What do you think, marshmallow arm?



  • This is one of the few episodes in which we see Steve in a position of command, rather than simply taking orders from a higher military authority, or Oscar.
  • It's established that Austin is currently in the Air Force Reserve, and that this is at least the second time that he has helped run a Test Pilot School.


  • Steve is shown flying in an F-104 on the way to the base, but the plane he is shown landing in is an F-105.
  • As the jet plane crashes to the ground (in stock footage), the sound effect of a plummeting propellered airplane is used!
  • In trying to make his escape in the red van, the central villain shoots out a tire in the MP's vehicle. In the scenes immediately following, the tire is not flat.


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