Capactiance / Youtube
Some of you might actually remember this, as it was a pretty horrific crash from way back when. Let us say it’s not news as some of you love to point out for some reason. It’s just a really neat story we’d like to bring back. Not only was the crash pretty bad, the story of the pilot is even grander.
In 1988, an F/A-18 pilot Col. Jerry Cadick was flying at the El Toro Air Show. When performing a loop, he had too much energy, his nose was too high and he was too low to exit it. This resulted in the video you’ll see below.
His Hornet smashed into the ground, the abrupt stop subjecting his body to 73Gs. Still as of today, this is by far the highest record of anyone surviving such a force.
You can skip over this part as it’s pretty graphic. The impact actually tore his shoulder harness which made him bend in half. He hit the control stick with his face so hard that he broke most of it and left his eyeballs dangling halfway down his cheeks. In addition to that, his neck was broken in three places, he broke five ribs, both legs, one arm and one of his vertebra exploded.
Some of these alone are enough to kill a man. Cadick however, survived and believed he would fly again.
For many years after that, he had to put himself together both physically and mentally. As he put it, the doctors put him back really well, and the physical rehabilitation was hard but doable. It was the stripping of his wings and forced retirement from the Marines after 25 years of service that really did him in. He pulled through alright though.
Today, although many didn’t really believe it in their hearts, Cadick obtained a private flying license and started a company called Tactical Military Air Training Systems. He managed to combine the two things he love most in his life, and created one of the most fascinating aviation stories of all time.