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December 16, 2011

Rider on the storm

In 1959, Marine Corps pilot Lt Col William Rankin become the only human being to ever parachute through a full cumulonimbus “anvil” cloud and live (via AoSHQ).

Unable to restart his engine, and struggling to keep his craft from entering a near-supersonic nose dive, Rankin grasped the two emergency eject handles. He was mindful of his extreme altitude, and of the serious discomfort that would accompany the sudden decompression of an ejection; but although he lacked a pressure suit, he knew that his oxygen mask should keep him breathing in the rarefied atmosphere nine miles up. He was also wary of the ominous gray soup of a storm that lurked below; but having previously experienced a bail out amidst enemy fire in Korea, a bit of inclement weather didn’t seem all that off-putting.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 16, 2011 08:47 AM