The Man Who Rode The Thunder
In this week’s OKTBS video all about the amazing world of clouds, I mentioned the story of Lt. Col. William Rankin, the only known person to survive a fall through a cumulonimbus thunderstorm cloud.
In 1959, after the engine of his F-8 fighter malfunctioned as he attempted to fly over a storm, Rankin was forced to eject directly into the heart of the thunderhead. His parachute ride from 47,000 feet (14,326 m) above Earth should have taken ten minutes, but instead it took him forty. The punishment he endured on the way down is almost beyond belief.
This video tells the story of the trip that made William Rankin the only human to have ever lived inside of a cloud. I hope he never had to pay for a beer for the rest of his life, because this man was one of the baddest asses to ever walk the Earth.