Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6 in San Antonio history...

The musical wizard, the greatest pianist of the age, Ignace J. Paderewski, will play at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Grand Opera House.

Parachutes saved the lives of Kelly flyers, Lt. C. D. McAllister and Cadet Charles A. Lindbergh, today when their planes collided in mid-air.  This is said to be the first time that two pilots have saived themselves by use of parachutes after a mid-air collision.

Lindbergh's excerpted official report noted: "I passed above the DH and a moment later felt a slight jolt, followed by a crash....
"I closed the throttle and saw an SE-5 with Lieutenant McCallister in the cockpit a few feet away on my left. He was apparently unhurt and getting ready to jump.
"Our ships were locked together with the fuselages approximately parallel. I removed the belt, climbed out to the trailing edge of the —the ship was then in a nearly vertical position—and jumped backward from the ship as far as possible.
"I had no difficulty in operating the pull ring and experienced no sensation of falling. The wreckage was falling nearly straight down and for some time I fell in line with its path. Fearing the wreckage might fall on me, I did not pull the rip cord until I had dropped several hundred feet and into the clouds.
"During this time I had turned one half revolution and was falling flat and face downward. The parachute functioned perfectly; almost as soon as I pulled the rip cord and the risers jerked on my shoulders, the leg straps tightened, my head went down, and the chute was fully opened....
"Next I turned my attention to locating a landing place. I was over mesquite and drifting in the general direction of a plowed field which I reached by slipping the chute. Shortly before striking the ground I was drifting backwards, but was able to swing around in the harness just as I landed on the side of a ditch less than 100 feet from the edge of the mesquite. Although the impact of the landing was too great for me to remain standing, I was not injured. The parachute was still held open by the wind and did not collapse until I pulled on one group of the shroud lines." (Lt. McCallister also bailed out successfully. )

Local amusement has taken an unusual slant with the invention of a machine gun which sprays light beams on a screen in an attempt to bring down airplanes moving at a quick pace across the screen.

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