Do you love Connecticut’s history, people, and places as much as we do? If so, please consider making a modest contribution that will support our efforts to bring new Connecticut stories to you! Every contribution of $5, $10, and $20 (or more!) will help grow and sustain ConnecticutHistory.org.  CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Parachutist Snagged in Midair – Today in History: September 13
1954 ad for Pioneer Parachutes

1954 ad for Pioneer Parachutes from Flight Magazine


On September 13, 1966, Charles (Chuck) Alexander became the first human to be captured by an aircraft in flight. A test parachutist for the Pioneer Parachute Company of Manchester, Connecticut, the 27-year-old was grabbed out of the air by a plane flying 120 miles an hour. The test demonstrated a method to rescue fighter pilots bailing out over the jungles in Vietnam. The technique was also being considered for the recovery of manned Gemini and Apollo space capsules. More than 100 military observers and news reporters watched the air-to-air demonstration at the Sussex County Airport in Georgetown, Delaware. Jumping at an altitude of 8,500 feet from a single-engine Cessna, Alexander fell 1,100 feet a minute as his parachute was snagged by the hook of a C-122 transport plane.

Sign Up For Email Updates

Oops! We could not locate your form.