What really happened on air legend Co...

United States

#41 Mar 3, 2008
Captain Jack wrote:
I would have preferred that the Orlando Sentinel let Colonel McCoy and his surviving family members and all the rest of us continue with the original explanation of his death. I find it toally devoid of good judgement and good manners to destroy a man's reputation needlessly. It's not much different than to go to a grieving Mother of a deceased Marine serving overseas and look her in the eye and say: "You son got drunk, climbed up into the cockpit of a parked fighter jet in the hanger of his carrier and yanked the ejection lever and blew himself through the cockpit and into the bulkhead above. Sorry, he was a stupid, careless jerk."
Since when has the Orlando Sentinal, or for that matter any paper owned by the "New York Times" demonstrated good judgement, common sense or for that matter even simply stuck to the facts?
Frank Spittle NC

Huntersville, NC

#42 Jul 24, 2008
It has been nearly 51 years since that day but it has lived on with me like nothing else has. I was 13 years old. Because it has been so long ago and we moved from Orlando in '59 I do not remember some of the names. We lived in Pine Hills and I went to school in downtown Orlando by school bus. I believe it was Memorial School. They were building a new school only a mile or so from where we lived and I went there the first year it opened in '58. I believe it was Maynard Evans but I could be wrong. When I was riding the bus home on that afternoon in '57 traffic was moving slow in Pine Hills. Finally it stopped. After sitting there for at least 15 minutes I ask the bus driver if I could walk home which was only a half mile. I could not understand why all the cars were parked on the road. When I got home my mon said a plane had crashed. I got on my bike and rode around the parked cars until I got to the crash site. I was expecting to see a small private plane. I will never forget that image of massive destruction. Nothing can ever change my mind about COL McCoy regardless of why the plane crashed. He is my hero.


#43 Sep 15, 2008
I too was a student at the time of the crash. There was a report, I believe in the Orlando paper that stated that the plane was on fire as it came across downtown Orlando, as reported by a worker on top of the Angebilt hotel. There never was much info after that but Col Mc Coy surely saved a lot of lives as he rode that aircraft in to prevent crashing into 2 elem. schools.

Champlain, NY

#44 Oct 8, 2008
As Clint Eastwood said," a man simply must know his limitations", in this situation a man must know the limitations of his plane. I've read this story before, and I come to the same conclusion I did the last time, Colonel McCoy had just been in a really hot RAF fighter jet where the pilot put the plane through its paces.

I think when it came Mike's turn to reciprocate, he attempted to get more out of the plane than it could give.

Legends are made by people going a step beyond what they are capable of, in this situation the Colonel took the plane beyond what it was capable of.

Gulf Shores, AL

#45 Jan 8, 2009
nice war stories people! i just turned 16 and just found out all this stuff about this mccoy pilot great-great grandfather stuff and i saw uncle michaels article! HI UNCLE MICHAEL!!! its megan! i read ur article! i wanted 2 talk 2 u about our family history because its interesting!:):):):)
Guess who

Las Vegas, NV

#46 Jan 17, 2009
How many dead ducks did they find? Maybe they should have a roast duck dinner in remembrance...

Tyler, TX

#47 Feb 16, 2009
any information on a documented crash of a B-47 on april 10 1958. I called the fire department that responded to this and they confirmed the date but I can find NO reference to it any where on the net. The aircraft was refueling at the time in the western new york area.
John C Evans Tempe AZ

Phoenix, AZ

#48 Jun 9, 2009
Lots of luck finding much information about the B47 in the 1950's. I crewed B47B with the EbbTide modifications (Upgrded to an E model) SN 51-2312 (nose #312) for my entire enlistment first at Pine Castle (McCoy) ATB and later Homestead AFB. I cannot find any documentation that the B47B models ever existed, let alone the one I crewed. With two findings, Pilot Hero and Pilot Error I believe the findings were political to keep from grounding every USAF aircraft powered by GE J47 engines. This would allow the USAF to continue to protect our airspace and country while GE corrected the cause of the #4 engine turbine failure that ignited the main fuel tanks resulting in the crash and loss of life.
Pine Castle AFB was less than ten minutes away with emergency equipment and Col. McCoy knew this. His decision to crash land his crippled aircraft in a field with no emergency equipment tells me that he did not believe the aircraft would have made it to his base and emergency equipment. The aircraft had three ejection seats and four crew members. His decision to try to save everyone instead of "punching our" is what hero's do. Col. McCoy could have saved himself, and chose to try to save his crew and people on the ground instead. You do not trash the reputation of commanders of this caliber.
Brian Dornbush

United States

#49 Jul 29, 2009
Linda Voll wrote:
<quoted text>
I attended McCoy Elementary. I vividly remember the portrait of your Grandfather in the school lobby. I know the old building is gone, but I hope they put the portrait in another place of prominence. Sir, Col. mcCoy was atrue hero in my book.
Linda, I also attended McCoy, a year behind you and also remember the picture. I would love to catch up with you. Write me at bdorn64 at yahoo when you have time. Thanks
Don Evans

Ooltewah, TN

#50 Dec 24, 2010
My father Colonel Richard E. Evans was the Deputy of Operations with Mc Coy Head of Operations at Mc Dill for the B-47 program. My father set the jet bomber record for 25, 30, and 35 hours non stop flights in the B-47 using KC-47's to refuel. Colonel Evans considered Mike Mc Coy the best the Air Force had to offer. The story I heard as a boy was that the accident happened during joint test of the B-47 and the British Vulcan Bomber. The tests were at low level. My mother indicated that that Colonel Mc Coy may not have been flying the plane but had turned over control to a visiting British pilot.

My father passed away in 2006 so I may be wrong about the cause of the accident. There were several connections in the B-47 progam with the British. Colonel Mc Coy served in the Canadian Air Force and I understand joined the Brits for a while. My father flew a B-17 for General Montgomery commander of the British 8th Army during the Tunisian and Sicily campaigns.
of WW2.

A great deal of the B-47 training envolved plans to use Britian as a forward base to launch the aircraft against Russia. It was my father's view that Mike Mc Coy would have gone to the top of the Air Force.

If you would enjoy seeing shots of the B-47 at Mc Dill check out "Strategic Air Command" staring Jimmy Stewart. My father flew the B-47 for the movie but Colonel Mike Mc Coy was the boss.
Don Evans

Ooltewah, TN

#51 Dec 24, 2010
If ay members of the Mc Coy family wish to contact me my e mail is anglo1987@hotmail.com

“Robert L Felon Bypass”

Level 1

Since: Dec 10


#52 Dec 25, 2010
Blame the pilot is standard military ploy.
melissa ramsey beach

Hesperia, CA

#53 Feb 9, 2011
wow its all amazing. Im just starting to research my family tree and its like a mini family get together right here! Hi cousin Mike!! To all you others out there Im the great grand daughter of Col.McCoy, and proud of it!!!!! my e mail is beach212010@live.com any other family stories Id love to hear.
Eric Linquist

Ocoee, FL

#54 Feb 9, 2011
Hey Everyone! One of three grandsons of Michael McCoy here, thru his 2nd wife Alice Kimball, whom Mike was married to for 22 years. If you haven't seen these links that follow, you will be treated to what may be the only actual movie footage of Colonel McCoy known to exist:



melissa ramsey beach

Hesperia, CA

#55 Feb 12, 2011
thank you for the info. Eric. It was really great to see footage of him. I've only seen one picture of him in my life but had heard about him, this makes him real to me. I dont really know anything other than about the crash, if you have any info. on him ANYTHING I'd love to know. thank you
Mark Sublette

Clemson, SC

#56 Feb 23, 2011
As an Air Force brat growing up, and as a historian now, I have to defend the publication of the investigative efforts of the Sentinel. There were MANY incidents during the Cold War that were hushed up by various countries, and it is only with the passing of time that the true details and circumstances can now begin to emerge. An example of a state secret that COULD have had profound effects on future events was the death of Soviet cosmonaut Valentin Bondarenko who was killed on 23 March 1961 in a pure-oxygen fire during tests, almost the exact same situation that killed the three American astronauts in the Apollo 1 pad fire in 1967. Had the details of this hushed-up tragedy been known, Gus Grissom, Ed White Roger Chaffee might still be alive today. As George Santayana observed, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

There is nothing inherently wrong with investigative journalism. It reveals the realities of the times in which various ulterior motives conspired to obscure the facts of the day. Those who resent the pulling back of the curtain on our Cold War history are guilty of denial and self-deception. As Mr. Spock observed on Star Trek, "military secrets are the most fleeting of all."
Don Evans

Ooltewah, TN

#57 Apr 4, 2011
My father Colonel Richard Evans was Deputy Chief of Operations for the B-47 program. Colonel McCoy was the Chief of Operations. My father set the 15,25,and 35 hr refueling records in the B-47 with KC-97's at Mc Dill. He also flew the aircraft shots in the Jimmy Stewart movie filmed at Mc Dill, the Strategic Air Command. Another pilot was John Denver's dad (Colonel Dutchendorf).

Richard Evans and all of the pilots had tremendous respect and affection for Colonel Mc Coy. My mother and father indicated to me that the view of most of the pilots at Mc Dill was that Mike allowed the RAF pilot to fly the aircraft. The aircraft got into trouble and Mike tried to save the situation and was forced to stear her in.

At the time the British had brought over some Vulcan bombers for joint exercises and it is probable the pilots allowed their counterparts to fly their aircraft.
Marvin L Mobley

Columbia, SC

#58 Aug 7, 2011
I was a photographer stationed at Pinecastle Air Force Base and took the aerial photographs of Col. McCoys crash.......The first photographs I took were in Ben White race track....A very large portion of one of the wings was lying in the infield. Of great importance was the fact that the main spar of the wing was bent almost 90 degrees. also in the infield was one of the huge wing tanks. empty I am sure as no fire was evident on the tank or wing.. At the time of the accident, my memory recalls that the control tower had a visual sight of the aircraft inbound to Pinecastle from the Apopka area.....moments later the plane disappeared from view....This information was transmitted from the control tower to the helicopter pilot as we departed Pinecastle to the crash sight.....The main crash site was in a vacant lot across highway 17/92 from Ben White Race Course......Of course there was a huge explosion and fire there......I am 78 years old today but my memories are still quite clear of the happenings on that memorable day...m0m071@yahoo.com...A1C Howell Beatty was the other photographer who took all the photos on the ground.....He also was the photographer who took the color photo of Col. McCoy standing in front of a B-47 that was on display in the Base Headquarters building for at least to Feb. 1963 when I departed McCoy after a 7 year assignment to Yokota Air Base, Tokyo Japan..There was no other areas that contained pieces of the aircraft, which indicates to me the plane was at a very low altitude and a rapid destruction took place over Ben White and the empty lot....Comments as to the cause of this accident I will leave to others....All I can report is what I saw and photographed.....
Rev Richard F Boeke


#59 Aug 7, 2011
Dear Kevin Starr:
Thanks for the update on the crash of Colonel McCoy’s B-47.
Especially the update on Vernon Stuff’s son, Barry, who now lives in Texas.
I was the young chaplain who told Vernon’s wife that her husband was dead.
Then spoke to the children.
The next morning when I came, Vernon’s wife, Tucker, opened the door with anger.
She would not participate in the joint Funeral in the Hanger.
She asked me to conduct his funeral in the Base Chapel.
In many ways it was the hardest thing I ever did.
As I completed my term in the USAF a year later,
I published a little book of poetry with this opening page:
This book is respectfully dedicated to all those
living and dead who strive to serve the cause of
peace in the United States Air Force.
Michael N. R. McCoy, Colonel, USAF
Charles Joyce, Lt. Colonel, USAF
Vernon D. Stuff, Major, USAF
John Woodruffe, Group Captain, DSC. DFC *
Courage faces death head on,
And does not turn its head away;
Courage faces life head on,
Fears not that death may come and stay.
Courage does not run and hide,
It does not die and die inside,
But hour by hour and year by year
Walks on what e’er may be its fear:
It flies the sky, or braves the sea,
Or walks through death as it’s called to be.
God, we commend unto thy care
The souls of these who now are gone:
Their lives are past,
We still live on …
Help us, like them,
To live, die strong.
Four killed in the crash of a B-47, October 9, 1957
Whatever happened to cause the crash,
I respected Colonel McCoy.
Blessings and hope, Richard Boeke
The Rev Richard F. Boeke
Chair, British Chapter, International Association for Religious Freedom www.iarf.net
Retired in England, but still active
for the cause of peace and interfaith understanding.
Robert Landley

Furlong, PA

#60 Sep 29, 2011
I have one problem with facts stated in the story.

I was in 8th grade at Robert E Lee Jr. High, and I was in the outer-most (closest to the playground) of the "portable" classrooms when this happened. I don't guarantee that my memory is perfect, but this is what I remember.

We heard the sound of the jet engines when the plane was still over College Park. We were a long way from Pinecastle AFB, and you normally didn't hear those kinds of sounds around there, so everyone rushed to the windows on the side of the room looking toward the playground. We could tell it was going to go over the school and we wanted to be able to see it. Back then, seeing a jet aircraft up close was a big deal to kids.

We looked up, and I remember seeing the plane go over the school, very low, in a slight left turn, and then bank sharply to the left so that we were looking at the top of the plane. As we watched, there were flames, not a lot, but definitely flames. I don't remember exactly where they were coming from, but it was in the middle of the aircraft, not the front and not the tail.

The aircraft started to go down and we watched it until it went out of sight behind the treeline on the edge of the playground. Although I don't have a strong memory of the attitude of the plane, I don't think it turned completely upside down while I watched it. That would have made a big impression on a 13 year old kid. I suppose it was possible that could have happened in the last few seconds of the flight.

My concern is that the story says the plane crashed at 500 miles per hour. That's not my recollection. It was going very slowly when it went over our school. We heard it coming, and had enough time to realize what the sound was and rush to the window before it went over. When it turned on its side and went down, the flames were clearly visible. I think at 500 miles per hour, they would have been flattened to the side of the aircraft, and I don't think they would have been that visible. I don't know how high the plane was, but it was very big in our view, and that says it wasn't very high. I'm guessing somewhere between 500 and 1500 feet. If it were at that height and traveling at 500 mph, I don't know if we would have been able to see as much of the final flight as we did.

I know that a 54 year old memory is not to be taken as absolute truth, but I thought it would be good to add my recollections to this thead,

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