Violent But True Bed Time Stories: Season 2 Episode 5 Alan Magee
Staff Sergeant Alan Magee was a turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. During World War 2 the B-17 wreaked havoc on Germany with a gigantic payload while bristling with guns. It was like a battleship of the skies, able to dish out punishment and take a hefty amount and continue the mission too.
That was not the case for SSgt Alan Magee of the U.S. Army Air Corps. His plane, named “Snap, Crackle, Pop,” was on a mission over Nazi-occupied France when his plane took after its name, snapping, crackling and then popping the wing right off. For those of you wondering, that’s one less wing than the plane needs to stay in the air. Alan soon found his plane in a deadly spin falling to the ground where he was thrown from the plane violently. Alan was not wearing his PPE and found himself falling 22,000 feet, with no parachute.
That fall would take over two minutes. Imagine taking in the view of France from 22,000 feet and falling for two minutes. That’s quite a bit of time to contemplate life and have it flash before your eyes. As luck would have it though, Alan would fall through the roof of a train station. The roof broke his fall enough to keep him alive. The German forces that found him were taken by surprise that he was alive. They subsequently took him prisoner and provided medical treatment. Upon his release, Alan Magee proves that not everyone learns a lesson, as he got his pilots license and worked for the airlines until his retirement.
SSgt Alan Magee is one of the very few examples of how it’s ok to try flying or skydiving again if you’re not successful the first time. For most everyone else, it’s generally a bad idea to go falling out of airplanes over a war-torn country.