To bale out of a stricken airplane is a pilot’s or aircrew’s final chance to escape death. It is a traumatic and hazardous exercise that is only practiced in extremis and is in itself full of danger with no guarantee of survival. Many struggled free of a flaming and spinning aircraft only to see their parachute alight above them, some were machine gunned to death by their opponents as they drifted to earth, some landed in mine-fields and were blown apart and many landed in forests and died suspended from the treetops. And yet many survived, some to fight again and some to become prisoners of war. This book relates the experiences of many airmen who survived to tell the tale, some quite remarkable because of pure good luck, some because of ingenuity and some through pure determination to survive at all costs.
This book includes escapes from crippled German, British and US aircraft; stories of the first pilots to use parachutes in WW1; amazing escapes from aircraft in the inter-war years.