Col. Sarnac is sent on a classified mission to Vietnam by President Kennedy, to meet with and assess President Diem; to help determine in which direction diplomatic relations should go. Strained relations between Vietnamese Catholics and Buddhists complicate the issue.
After losing a friend to the crash of an experimental fighter aircraft, Raynor is called to Washington to testify to a congressional committee on the future of the aircraft's continued development. While Raynor wants to kill the project, complicating the issue is the plane's designer, one of Raynor's best friends, who once saved Raynor's life, and who pleads with Raynor to recommend continued R&D on the airframe. Meanwhile, Wesley gets involved with a friend helping to prepare for the Civil Rights March on Washington, and misses out on the family's Presidential ...
Raynor is asked to take to take Colonel Sakamoto of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) on a flight to test newly-designed engines. During a vertical climb test, a catastrophic engine failure requires them to bail out in the wilderness of the Sierra Navadas, and ther survival skills are put to an extreme test as Air Force Search and Rescue hunts for them.
Aeronautic Engineer Josh Farrell and the "YF-13" are back (from Episode 7), and this time it's being test-flown by another good friend of the Sarnac family, Hal Bonner. Raynor, flying a "chase" plane, has a different interpretation of the test flight than Hal does, and Josh Farrell is still bitter from Raynor's Congressional testimony to terminate the aircraft's development.
Eight years have passed since Carl's death and Raynor has been released after three years as a prisoner in Vietnam. Raynor is questioned about his part in the death of a C.I.A Agent and the Sarnac family goes on with the children as adults.