It’s been a tough week for John Kerry’s credibility.

He’s been called unfit to be commander in chief by many of his Vietnam comrades and commanders.

He’s been criticized for accepting a Purple Heart for what amounts to a scratch on his arm treated with a Band-Aid.

Now, seasoned jet pilots are calling into question his latest claim – taking the controls of a fighter and flying it over Israel in 1991.

Kerry told the story Monday in a speech to the Anti-Defamation League. He claimed it gave him a different perspective on Israel. He said probably no one else in the room has seen the country upside down from an Israeli Air Force jet.

He asserted that authorities in Israel kept denying his request to fly one of their planes, but that the colonel who was showing him around Israel during a 1991 visit not only got him into a trainer, but let him take the controls.

“I take it off, we go up into the sky, climb up, head down toward Aqaba,” the senator said. “And I wanted to look at Aqaba, so I’m coming down over Aqaba, and I suddenly hear this voice on the intercom, and he says, ‘Senator, you’d better turn faster, you’re going over Egypt.'”

Kerry said the colonel then gave him permission to do “a little aerobatics” and that he made a loop at about 12,000 feet.

“To be able to come out upside down and look down and catch the horizon in back of me and see all the way down into the Sinai to the old base that had been given up, all the way across into Jordan, all the way out into the Gulf of Aqaba, and to see Israel beneath me, and the lines contained, and to see it all upside down was the perfect way to see the Middle East and Israel,” he said.

But Internet boards were abuzz with skeptics – some of them seasoned jet pilots themselves.

“I’m sorry but I don’t believe for a second much of what John Kerry says,” wrote Ron Pera, himself a veteran Navy combat fighter pilot.

“I believe even less that he makes the comment he took off the jet trainer that he reportedly flew over Israel.”

FreeRepublic.com and other bulletin board sites were inundated with similar posts.

“First of all jets are more difficult to take off than propeller planes because they accelerate much faster and the speed they need to get airborne is much higher,” Pera wrote in an e-mail to WND. “This requires more precise control, and you will not have that the first time you are in the plane. It takes practice to get those skills, a lot of it. Second of all no rational military trained pilot would take the chance of hurdling off the runway at 160 mph just to let some bigwig handle the controls. Takeoffs and landing are two of the most dangerous times during an aircraft flight. Once you are tens of thousands of feet in the air then it is much, much safer to let some inexperienced person take the controls since you have time and altitude to regain control. This is not a blessing on the ground.”

Pera added that unless Kerry had many hours flying military aircraft, “it is next to impossible he took the plane off.”

“I speak from experience as a former Navy fighter pilot and I have no problems releasing ALL of my records,” he wrote. “Will Kerry flip-flop on this statement also or just yell at whoever asks the question?”

Related stories:

Purple Heart wound treated with Band-Aid

Kerry ‘loose cannon,’ says ex-commander

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