The Luckiest Flying Ace Alive

Samuel Reason | January 12th, 2018

Captain John Herbert Hedley flew fighter planes for Britain during World War I. He once fell out of his plane and survived. I know what you are thinking, he simply opened his parachute? Well back in the days of World War I, the army thought pilots would not be aggressive enough if they had an easy escape plan. Yes, that is right he fell out of his plane without a parachute and survived!

ichef.bbci.co.uk

Hedley was actually what the Royal Air Force called an Observer during World War I, he was in the back of the aircraft and would shoot at enemy aircraft. Observers were an extra set of eyes for the pilot and would operate any guns aboard also. Basically, he was a gunner, but they were also tasked with keeping the score for their pilots. They would count how many aircrafts their pilot and themselves shot down during the dogfights. Hedley is credited with being a flying ace, as he shot down 11 planes during the war. As aerial fighting was still very new at the time, being a skilled pilot and gunner could pretty much give your nation the edge during the battle of the skies.

Fighter aces came images of cult heroes to the public, especially if you had such an amazing tale as Captain Herbert! In January 1918, during a dogfight Lieutenant Makepeace steered his Bristol F.2B fighter plane into an immense dive to escape an enemy fighter on his tail. The huge amount of force experienced by the negative Gs caused gunner Hedley to be thrown out of the seat! Suddenly Hedley was falling in the skies with no parachute!

Essentially Hedley bound to die, or was there a way out? Hedley tumbled in the air for hundreds of feet, but so did the F.2B as it continued to dive. The gunner and the plane suddenly came together and Hedley grabbed on to the top set of wings, it was his only hope! He pulled himself back into his cockpit, and without fear continued the fight.

Such an amazing tale earned him the title of “The Luckiest Man Alive” from the Chicago Tribune. But was it actually possible? Well, some aviators and scientist definitely do believe it was true, the theory is that Hedley managed to get stuck in his plane’s slipstream which caused him to fall at the same speed as the plane. And his luck does not stop there.

In March 1918, Hedley was shot down but miraculously was able to crash land without any injury. He survived being imprisoned by the enemy until the end of the war. He then moved to America and made his living giving lectures about his amazing dogfights.

Next Article
  • Only One Person Has Ever Been Cured Of HIV

    Timothy Ray Brown known as the Berlin patient is the only known person to have been cured. The problem is no doctors actually know what part of the treatment cured him. In 2007 this was a real disappointment when doctors finally cured HIV but had no idea how they did it. And it took them...

    Read More
  • The Rock of Guatape

    In the Colombian department of Antioquia lodged between the towns of Guatape and El Penol you will find an enormous boulder known as The Rock Of Guatape. Or if you are from Penol, then you may refer to it as the Rock of Penol - just depends on which town you are from. [caption id="attachment_7956"...

    Read More
  • Pig Farmers Say Marijuana Pig Feed Is Better

    Some farmers have a very interesting take on the progression of growing cannabis and the growing legalization of marijuana around the United States. Many believe it is the perfect crop to be commercialized and used in their animal feed - too keep them happy and relaxed! And well if you...

    Read More
  • Telegraph Invented Due To Heartbreak

    The inventor of the telegraph Samuel Morse had quite a tough life that was filled with numerous disappointments and this may really have been one of the reasons he ended up inventing the telegraph. Samuel Morse was born 225 years ago and is known around the world for having invented...

    Read More
  • Colorful Honey Created Naturally By Candy Eating Bees

    A couple of beekeepers in northeastern France were left scratching their heads in confusion when their bees started to produce thick blue and green honey completely naturally. The bees from their hives were found producing honey in odd shades of blue and green - something that was completely unheard of and never seen before. [caption...

    Read More
  • The Sheepdogs That Protect The Little Penguins

    On an Australian Island, there was a strong and vibrant colony of little penguins - that was until the foxes came and nearly ate them all up. Luckily for the little penguins they had a farmer on their side who decided to come up with an amazing way to protect them, in fact, it is...

    Read More
  • The Grueling Gaokao Exam Is The Toughest In The World

    China’s college entrance exam known as the Gaokao is thought to be one of the toughest examinations in the whole world. If you want a spot in one of the 2,200 Chinese universities then you need to ace your Gaokao exam. And it goes much deeper than that, sure the exam decides the university ranking...

    Read More
  • Tiny Sweat Bees Will Try To Feed Off Your Tears

    Recently doctors treating a Taiwanese woman for a swollen eye were shocked to find that she had over four little bees living in her, under her eyelid and feeding off her tears. These tiny little bees are known as sweat bees and are only around 3 millimeters long, so are small enough to fit under...

    Read More