What really happened on air legend Co...
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Diana Fountain Cunningham

Sacramento, CA

#61 Mar 14, 2012
I was a student a Lakeside Elementary School on the day Colonial McCoy stayed with his plane and became a hero. My class saw the whole thing.I would not be here today had he made any other decision.
Diana Fountain Cunningham

Sacramento, CA

#62 Mar 14, 2012
Sorry the school was Lake Silver Elementary.


Level 8

Since: Mar 10

Location hidden

#63 Mar 17, 2012
It is very interesting to read all these historical accounts.

I don't think McCoy's reputation has been tarnished. Landing the plane where he did certainly makes him a hero.

I for one had never heard of him before.

Boeing bears the blame for these deaths. The military has a history of blaming pilots for Boeing's faulty designs. We all know how and why Boeing gets military contracts. Nothing has changed.

North Wales, PA

#64 Nov 18, 2012
Lynda Woodroffe wrote:
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.’
Captain Jack, I don’t think this article strips Colonel McCoy of his honours. He, like my father, was a victim of faulty design, something they should have been able to avoid; they were not test pilots. The article describes how the aircraft was too powerful for its appendages. Surely Boeing should be held accountable for this?
How many men died in 1957? Forty.
How many died in this plane over the 15 years that the B-47 was being ‘trialled’? Over 400.
Many, many families have suffered at the hands of Boeing’s callous disregard for the military personnel and as far as I know not one has been compensated. For my part, I know only too well how my mother suffered from the loss of her husband and provider, just as my brother and I also missed his love and protection for all of our lives. Not a day has gone by over the last 50 years when I have not felt the loss of my father.
That the facts of this disaster have at last been laid open is right and correct. Boeing created a killer machine and we should be compensated.
My father was one who died in 1957, when the B-47 he was in exploded.

North Wales, PA

#65 Nov 18, 2012
M Smith

Quakertown, PA

#66 Feb 4, 2013
I was at Lee Junior High watching the airplane in a left bank. It literally exploded and two balls of fire plummeted to earth hitting in a field across from where Lee Rd intersects with 441. I remember it vividly. I later became a military pilot! Who knows the real cause--none of us were in the cockpit. It might have had a mechanical problem that McCoy saw and was trying to get, over open land. That area in 1957 was nothing more than cow pastures, armadillos, rattlesnakes, and palmettoes!
Charles Jones

Albany, GA

#67 Jun 3, 2013
On that day, I was marching in the Boone High School Band on our high school football field. We were practicing for a half-time show no doubt. I saw McCoy's B-47 fly over, make a turn and suddenly burst into explosive flames. Until the explosion, it did not appear that the plane was in trouble. The turn seemed right and good. We (the band) watched as the plane fell from the air and out of our sight, only to later hear the news of where the wreckage fell. I believe McCoy was a hero, making the best of a bad situation. I believe the story of an engine failure described above fits the scene very well. He saved many lives doing his last minute best.
Col Gunz

Silver Spring, MD

#68 Oct 31, 2013
Chuck wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with you. The Slantinel just couldn't help it. Gotta trash the dead pilot to sell more ads. The Air Force never really knew what happened and they couldn't ask the crew. I saw the plane as a kid on the playground at Lake Silver. It appears that he did get it out over the dairy property and died doing it.
I later flew fighters for the Navy. I don't know much about newpspapers but I do know that pilots don't make the errors in judgement that he is accused of. The excessive speed that the Slantinel talks about can occur for a number of other reasons, some of which can be from a pilot trying to correct for a plane malfunction.
The paper does a great disservice to the community and families of the deceased in repeating speculative propaganda that was produced to continue hiding the design problems of the craft.
Then again.....smearing good guys does sell ads, doesn't it?
Pilots do indeed make catastrophic errors similar to this. I doubt the flight credentials of anyone who says otherwise.
Eric Linquist

New Smyrna Beach, FL

#69 Nov 1, 2013
Here's what everyone should know about the world-class piloting skills of Colonel Michal N. W. McCoy. After World War II broke, Colonel McCoy joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and served as a ferry pilot and instructor. He trained Canadian pilots in the old Hudson Bomber until 1942 at which time he transferred as a captain to the U.S. Army Air Corps. At this time, McCoy arguably had logged more flight hours than any pilot in the world. In June of 1945 while serving with the 315th Bomb Wing on Guam, Colonel McCoy flew 22 missions in B29 "Stratofortresses" " over Japan.

After the war. Colonel McCoy made the first successful Japan-to-Washington, D.C, nonstop flight in the 'Fluffy Fuzz,' a B-29. In 1950 he pioneered a 42-hour B-50 flight from the United States to Hawaii and back non-stop, proving the feasibility of an around the world flight in a bomber. He was project officer on the first around the world non-stop flight successfully completed by a B-50 bomber, the Lucky Lady I.

Colonel McCoy enjoyed the distinction of being the dean of Strategic Air Command’s B-47 "Stratojet"
commanders. When the United States Air Force made its decision to equip SAC with the B-47, it was
Colonel McCoy who took delivery of the first "combat type" B-47. He was commander of the first B-47 wing, the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida. Within two years he had formed, trained to combat-readiness, and led his original B-47 wing, the 306th, on the first successful rotation of a SAC jet bomber force to Fairford, England from MacDill. He and his team broke all existing speed
records on the trip over and when they returned, broke them again. On their initial rotation Colonel McCoy solidified SAC's position as a Global Force utilizing jet aircraft.

To assure that the B-47 would assume a truly intercontinental stature, he was instrumental in pioneering and developing the present system of aerial refueling now in use throughout the Air Force. His list of personal decorations included Legion of Merit. Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal.

Humans are fallible, yes, but this is not the resume of a show-off or of a pilot prone to making in-flight errors during air shows in which he routinely participated. Given the track records of corporate cover-ups, cronyism and corruption, it's hard not to suspect the dubious defects record that led to an inordinate share of B-47 crashes back in the day.

While the B-47's reliability and serviceability were regarded as good overall, there was a major problem with poor avionics reliability, normal in this environment given the vacuum tube technology at the time, and the need to place some equipment outside the pressurized crew compartment. Much work was done to improve avionics reliability, but they remained problematic throughout the B-47's operational life.

Starting in 1950, several models of the B-47 included a fuel tank inerting system, in which dry ice was sublimed into carbon dioxide vapor while the fuel pumps operated or while the in-flight refueling system was in use. The carbon dioxide was then pumped into the fuel tanks and the rest of the fuel system, ensuring that the amount of oxygen in the fuel system was low, reducing the probability of an explosion. Ten carbon dioxide tanks and heaters were involved. The system was implemented largely to reduce risks from static electricity discharges occurring during in-flight refueling.

Strategic Air Command B-47 Stratojet bombers, the world's first swept-wing bomber, had initial mission profiles that included the loft bombing of nuclear weapons. As the training for this imposes repeated high stress on the aircraft, the airframe lifetime would have been severely limited by metal fatigue, and this maneuver was later eliminated.

I will post B-47 crash info next.
Randy Tetzner

San Luis, AZ

#71 Mar 20, 2014
My dad Roger was a B-47 pilot was a member of the B-47 thousand hour club before he went to B-52's. He only said it was like a sports car. His class mate Leonard Theis died in a mid-air collision of B-47's in 1963. I am surprised he never mentioned the danger of this aircraft.
Don J Chiarella Msgt Ret

Winter Garden, FL

#72 Jul 16, 2014
The B-47 was a dangerous underpowered aircraft of its' time. It took long RW's to takeoff and land on. I was stationed at 55 SRW at Forbes AFB from 1958-66 and witnessed two RB-47 crashes during my tenure there. During this "Cold War" period, many other of our RB-47 were lost due to crashes, never reported to the civillian population. I flew in many during training flights and deployments, was always on the edge of my seat!(Was seated in what was known as "The 4th Mans seat", the seat no one ever ejected out of.) I was a young USAF S/SGT at the time Servicing a new APN-102 "Doppler Radar" Navigational System installed on the RB-47's.
In conclusion, it was a time when the B-47 was our transition from the slower B-36 Bomber to a newer Modern Swept Wing faster and higher flying Medium Bomber. I was proud to serve in SAC then but had many nightmares of B-47 crashes during my tenure.

Winter Park, FL

#73 Dec 19, 2014
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."
Well put Captain.

Melbourne, FL

#74 Feb 15, 2015
Bev wrote:
I was also a student at Robert E. Lee Jr. High School at the time of the Col. McCoy crash. We were in Geography class in the portables along the athletic field when there was a hugh roaring sound. Our teacher( Ms Tucker?) yelled for all of us to "get out of the building". I think she thought it was a tornado. When we got outside there were many, many students and teachers that had also evacuated their buildings and were lining the play field. When we looked up the hugh plane was right there on top of us. It almost looked like the plane was going to land on the field but at the last moment Col. McCoy pulled the nose up and he skipped over the field and houses to the west. Then we saw a hugh explosion and smoke. At the time I thought it hit Lake Silver Elem. School were my brother was a student and was very upset until my mother came to my school with my brother. We then drove out to the crash site by the canning company on 17-92. I remember there was debries all over the road with one of the engines in the middle of the road and out in the cow pasture across the street. The police made us turn around at that point.
I really think Col. McCoy saved our lives because it was very apparent that he pulled the nose of the plane up when he saw all of us kids on that play field. He is my hero.
Your thoughts are correct.
Elsa-Marie Kitching

Melksham, UK

#75 Nov 14, 2015
My Father, Ulf Burberry was stationed at RAF Wittering when this appalling crash happened - killing our lovely Station Commander with whom my family was close friends. Group Captain Woodroffe
was a highly decorated, much respected pilot and to lose such a man in such circumstances was,
to state the very least - tragic. I have never, ever forgotten the feelings expressed and how
Wittering , including the village wherein John Woodroofe now lies at peace also went into
My thoughts and condolences are first and foremost for the families. My father was guided
in his career by some fantastic men . Consequently he too became a Group Captain OBE and
went on to command RAF Benson when the Queen's Flight was there.
Well done Lynda - I do hope my little not cheers you. And your father, has for company
my father who passed away in 1997, aged 74. On Christmas Day, heart attack whilst sitting
waiting for The Queen's Speech.
Elsa-Marie (nee) Burberry Kitching.
Don Evans

Fort Myers, FL

#76 Feb 15, 2016
The team of pilots under McCoy's command had the greatest respect for him. Who were some of these men? Colonel Pat Flemming who was the number four Naval ace in WW2....yes Navy he transferred to the Air Force to fly the B-47. Pat unfortunately was the first man to die in a B-52 accident. Colonel Don Hillman, WW2 fighter ace, and a man that did spy missions over Soviet Russia in a B-47years prior to the U-2. Major Duchendorf, father of John Denver and a man that set speed records later in the B-58. My father Colonel Richard Evans who took over the B-47 Operations when Mike McCoy died. Evans set the 35 hour record in a B47.

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