First, I should make it clear that my Dad is still very much alive and indeed in very reasonable health for a man of his age. That said, he did write an autobiography a few years ago, interestingly entitled To Stroke a Cheetah, which was published soon afterwards, and which contained a great many of his flying anecdotes.
My father was a pilot for many years, both in the Armed Forces and with civilian airlines. He did indeed perform the very manoeuvre that I describe in the story - although he assured me repeatedly that this was a prank, a practical joke, and it did indeed get into the newspapers.
So once again this is a "what if..." story - a speculation on my part with a different and more sinister outcome than in reality. The military and political backgrounds I describe are of course my own invention, although based on history and my own memory as a boy. Of course, any errors introduced are my own, rather than Dad's.
Update February 2011. How to Impersonate a UFO has now been published in an anthology called Ways of Falling by EarlyWorks Press, in January 2011.
The official launch of the Ways of Falling book went ahead on Saturday 19th February 2011 at the Calder Bookshop Theatre in London SE1.
I found the experience of reading from my own fictional work in front of an audience a simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating one. I read the first half of the story, lightly abridged, and finished on a cliffhanger just as the UFO was sighted.