A Mid-Air Rescue

1 Sep

An interesting rescue, and not one that I’d be keen to try. This comes from Aug 1931:

Human Pendulum Yanked From Plane in Air

While the entire personnel at Chanute field watched spell-bound and horrified, the oldest of human dramas, risking of lives to save another’s, was re-enacted in a new setting – the clouds. Private Harold E. Osborne, a student in the parachute riggers’ school at Chanute, was scheduled to make a test leap. He climbed out of the cockpit, thousands of feet in the air, and by accident released his  parachute rip cord before he could jump. The chute caught in the tail assembly of the plane, yanked Osborne into the air and left him there, stranded and swaying like a pendulum in the slip stream of the plane. Although the strain of the soldier’s weight was terrific, the pilot, Lieut. C. H. Deerwester, managed to maintain his altitude and control, while another plane, piloted by Lieut. H. E. Engler and carrying Lieut. A. A. Straubel as a passenger, took off to attempt a rescue.

The second plane, with “Follow Me” chalked on its side, headed out over a near-by lake, followed by Deerwester and his dangling human pendulum. When over the lake, Lieutenant Straubel lowered a knife on the end of a weighted rope, to the unfortunate soldier, the planes meanwhile being held in as near the same relative positions as possible. Osborne finally caught the knife, cut the shroud lines of his entangled chute, dropped like a plummet, and then pulled the cord of his reserve equipment and floated safely down from the “longest parachute ride in history.”

  • Private H. E. Osborne who took the “Longest Parachute Ride” when his shroud lines became entangled with the plane’s tail

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