Schlagwort-Archive: parachute

A Survived 20,000-Foot Fall Without Parachute

Only three crew members of B-17F Flying Fortress “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” managed to bail out, one without a parachute. That was Alan E. Magee, who fell 20,000 feet, crashed through the glass and fell onto the steel girders of the St Nazaire train station. SSgt Alan E. Magee, belly gunner of the B-17F Flying Fortress 41-24620 “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”, 360th Bomber Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group, took off from Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, UK on a bombing mission over the “Flak City” of St Nazaire on Jan. 3, 1943. The target was a torpedo storage area near the submarine pens. Once over the target area, heavy flak and fighter attacks damaged the plane and started a fire on board. Only three crew members managed to bail out, one without a parachute. That was Magee, who fell 20,000 feet, crashed through the glass and fell onto the steel girders of the St Nazaire train station. He lived and kept all his limbs but was sent to Stalag 17B in Braunau, Gneikendorf. Magee’s obituary, available to read on American War Memorials Overseas, Inc., tells the incredible story of Magee;

The story of Alan E. Magee, the B-17 belly gunner who survived a 20,000-foot-fall without a parachute from his damaged Flying Fortress
No. At first, I didn’t believe it, either. Someone could survive after falling 20,000 feet from a plane without a parachute? And he was a San Angeloan? It sounds too wild to be true. I still have a lot of questions I’d like to ask, but after hours of research, I’m finally feeling sure enough about this incredible tale to share it with you. And at the end of my career, if someone asks me if there was anyone, I’m sorry I never got to interview for a story, I’ll tell them, sure, Staff Sgt. Alan Magee.

I found out about Sgt. Magee earlier this week in an e-mail from San Angeloan Chris Taylor. My sister in Ohio sent me this and thought I would forward it on to you, he wrote. The story told about Alan Eugene Magee, born Jan. 13, 1919, in Plainfield, N. J. Magee joined the Army Air Corps in 1941, after Pearl Harbor, and, because he was short and thin and could fit into small, cramped spaces, he became the ball turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. So far, so good.

Three months before being shot down, the original crew assigned to the B-17F Snap! Crackle! Pop! #41-24620 (PU-O), under Jacob W. Fredericks, from Oct. 14, 1942.

I should detour here for a reminder that when you do research on the Internet, you take your chances. While all the stories I found about the sergeant include the same basic facts (he survived a 20,000-foot fall without a chute during a bombing mission over Saint Nazaire, France), details vary. Most of the accounts agree on these points: The Army Air Corps assigned him to a B-17 nicknamed Snap! Crackle! Pop! His seventh mission was a daylight bombing run over Saint Nazaire, France, on Jan. 3, 1943. During the mission, the bomber was hit. Magee was injured in the attack. The crippled plane began to fail. Somehow (accounts vary) Magee escaped from the plane. But without a parachute. (Some accounts say he forgot it in the confusion. Some say the chute was disabled by the enemy fire. Others claim he was thrown from the plane unconscious, or before he could put on the parachute.) He fell four miles. He fell through the glass roof of the Saint Nazaire railroad station. And survived. Some accounts theorize falling through the glass broke his fall. Others claim sliding along the sloped roof slowed him. One theory claims an explosion from a falling bomb occurred in the station at the same time Magee was dropping into it and the shock wave broke his fall. The TV show MythBusters even tested the theory during its fourth season but gave it a thumbs down. He was captured by the Germans, who treated his serious injuries (accounts of the wounds vary), and he became a prisoner of war. (Two crew members parachuted to safety. Seven others died in the crash.) Magee was liberated in May 1945 and received the Air Medal for meritorious conduct and the Purple Heart.

He worked in the airline industry, retired in 1979 and moved to northern New Mexico. He led a pretty good life; a friend once told a New Mexico reporter. He returned to Saint Nazaire with his wife, Helen, in 1993 or 1995 (accounts vary) for the dedication of a memorial plaque for the crew of his plane. At some point, the Magees moved to San Angelo. He died here. A short, simple death notice in the Standard-Times says that he died on Dec. 20, 2003, in a local hospital. It said there would be no services. Magee’s body was cremated and remains buried in Pioneer Memorial Park in Grape Creek, TX. His wife and a sister in Houston were listed as survivors. On the Internet, I found something Sgt. Magee was quoted as saying when he returned to France in the 1990s and saw the glass-roofed railroad station where he landed after falling from so far, so fast, so long ago. “I thought it was much smaller.”

For more information about war memorials honoring Americans overseas be sure to visit American War Memorials Overseas Inc. Source: ‚TheAviationGeekClub‚.

No injuries after small planes collide in midair

One of the planes deployed a parachute to soften its crash landing and the two people on board were not hurt. Despite significant damage, no injuries were reported after two small planes collided in midair, in part because one of the planes deployed a parachute to help soften its crash landing, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) and ACSO both said units responded to the area of East Belleview Avenue and South Cherry Creek Drive around 10:30 a.m. That’s just south of Cherry Creek Reservoir.

June Cvelbar happened to be walking at the park right at that moment. „I saw two planes in the sky,“ she wrote in an email. „I saw a larger green plane, which I thought was a tow plane, along with what I thought was a glider being towed by it. I heard a noise but didn’t realize that the two planes had collided.“ Initial reports indicate that a Cirrus SR-22 with two occupants and a Swearingen Metroliner SA226TC with one occupant collided in midair about four miles north of Centennial Airport around 10:25 a.m., a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it appears the collision happened while both planes were in the process of landing. Cvelbar said she saw the green plane fly off and shortly after saw the smaller plane deploy its parachute and initially thought it was some sort of training. „When I realized that the small plane was going down I ran toward it,“ she said. „The pilot and his passenger were up and about.“ Braun Mincher, a pilot of Cirrus aircraft since 2013, said he landed his plane at Centennial Airport just moments before this midair collision. Cirrus aircraft are equipped with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, or CAPS. It consists of a ballistic rocket-fired parachute. „It is the only general aviation manufacturer that includes this standard in every single single engine airplane,“ Mincher said. According to Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), there have been more than 100 saves with over 200 survivors in aircraft equipped with the CAPS. „If this was any other aircraft other than a Cirrus that was involved in this midair collision, there would be at least two people that lost lives,“ Mincher said. After deploying the parachute, the Cirrus plane landed safely, the FAA said. There were no fires or fuel spills at that scene, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said. „This was amazing,“ said John Bartmann, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. „We’ve had several plane crashes in our jurisdiction, never have we seen a parachute deploy and bring the plane down safely.“ He also said that two occupants in the Cirrus were fine and did not need to go to the hospital. The Cirrus plane is part of the fleet operated by Independence Aviation, which is a Cirrus Training Center based at Centennial Airport. The company issued the below statement: „Independence Aviation was alerted this morning to an incident involving one of the company’s aircraft near Centennial Airport. We are actively participating and cooperating with local authorities including the FAA and NTSB. At this time we do not have any additional information to share. If more information is made available and deemed appropriate to distribute to the public by authorities we will. We are very thankful there were no injuries during the incident and everyone is on the ground safely. Thank you to the local authorities and first responders to the scene.“ Source: ‚‚.