Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Shortly after the Paris incident where the Major got stuck in the mud, he recruited me one night to fly with him to get in some time and to check- out an airplane. The Major, my original pilot and I got a B-17 and took off from St. Trond, Belgium. We flew to Ostend, Belgium, Denmark and to the coast of Norway. It was a wonderful flight. We had a spring night; the weather was beautiful and the stars were out. After about four hours, we headed back to the field and came into the landing pattern. I was sitting in the nose in the bombardierís seat. The Major had the landing lights on. The lights were illuminating the ground and everything in front of us. We were coming in beautifully when suddenly there was a patch of fog hanging over the runway. We went into the fog. The next thing I knew, we touched down, but we werenít on the runway at all. We were on the right hand side in the grass! We hit the ground and skidded along for a time and then bounced. The Major threw the throttles to full power to regain speed. We took off and made a good landing this time. The next day, we decided to go see where we had landed or tried to land. We knew that we had missed the runway. Within a few yards of where our wheel tracks ended, was a ditch, six or eight feet deep and about twenty feet wide. The conclusion: if we had continued on and hadnít bounced back into the air; at just the right moment, the wheels would have gone into that ditch. The plane would have flipped tail over nose and killed every one of us. Thatís just one of those things that happen so quickly and would be so deadly! The Angel was still on our shoulders. That was a close one.