2. Ivan Chisov’s Dilemma
World War II saw multiple airmen survive falls from thousands of feet without a parachute. As seen above, British airman Nicholas Alkemade survived a fall without a parachute from 18,000 feet. American airman Alan Magee topped that and managed to escape the clutches of the Grim Reaper despite a 22,000-foot fall without a parachute. However, Soviet airman Ivan Mikhailovich Chisov (1916 – 1986) exceeded both records with his miraculous survival of a 23,000-foot fall without a parachute.
It happened in January 1942, when an Ilyushin Il-4 bomber in which Lieutenant Colonel Chisov served as a navigator was jumped by Luftwaffe fighters. The bomber was wrecked and spun out of control, so Chisov exited at a height of 23,000 feet. He had a parachute, but he was worried that if the nearby German fighters spotted him as he drifted slowly to the ground beneath its open canvas, they would pounce upon and shoot him. Neither side paid much attention to chivalry on the Eastern Front.