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Pre-WW2 Military and Naval Aviation Please use this forum to discuss Military and Naval Aviation before the Second World War.

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Old 19th January 2017, 13:12
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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June 3, 1929 Death of Ensign Henry Purviance Gow Jr

On June 3, 1929 Ensign Henry Purviance Gow Jr from "Seattle" (but actually Born 1906 in Iowa) was killed but his mechanic, seaman Harold George Neumann (January 13, 1909 to November 02, 1965), escaped death by jumping with a parachute, when a navy plane from North Island crashed near Nestor, California.

It was reported said the plane crashed as a result of a broken wing.

Gow was previously with VO—3B, USS Pennsylvania but she was being modernised at the time

Can anyone please identify the aircraft involved and provide the correct rank for Neumann ?

Many Thanks Paul
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Old 19th January 2017, 18:17
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: June 3, 1929 Death of Ensign Henry Purviance Gow Jr

The aircraft was O2U-2, A8115, of VS2B. Neumann was a Seaman second class. Incidentally, Neumann didn't jump; rather he was flung out at 8000' when the pilot pushed the stick forward while in a dive.
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Old 20th January 2017, 13:12
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: June 3, 1929 Death of Ensign Henry Purviance Gow Jr

George thanks for the aircraft information and the fact Neumann was thrown out
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Old 30th March 2017, 10:14
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: June 3, 1929 Death of Ensign Henry Purviance Gow Jr

Have an update to this from a letter by Harold George Neumann published in the Air Corps News Letter June 29 1929

It indicates Gow might have been hit by the wing or the he was knocked unconscious by the manoeuvre

HAROLD G NEUMANN U.S. NAVY, had a thrilling experience, to say the least,
when he jumped on June 3rd last (1929) from a Navy
Vought Corsair. After pulling the rip cord he made the unpleasant discovery ,
that one of the panels of the chute was torn out. Beyond a doubt seconds
must have seemed like hours to him during the course of his descent to the
ground. The story of his experience is as follows:

"We took off from North Island about nine a.m., made some practice landings
and then did a little stunting. We flew south almost as far as the
Mexican border and were a little more than ten thousand feet high when the
pilot nosed the plane over and dove almost full gun straight down. I believe
we had dropped about two thousand foot when I saw pieces of fabric, torn from the right wine, fly past. I turned and looked through the windshield at the
pilot. He seemed to fall or slide forward in his seat. The plane instantly
gave a sharp jolt and seemed to go into the beginning of an outside loop which
broke my safety belt and threw me clear at an altitude of about 8,OOO feet.
I seemed, to be floating along on my back. I had no sense of falling, although I must have been shooting down at tremendous speed. I pulled the
ring on the rip cord of my parachute, felt a jerk and knew that it had opened.
My heart sank, however, when I looked up at my 'chute, for almost a whole panel was torn out. It kept tearing all the time I was coming down and I began to think that I would sure splash when I landed. I looked about me and tried to see the plane or pilot, but all I could see was big pieces of fabric from the wings floating in the air around me. When I was about two hundred feet off the ground I saw a farmer in a field below me. I waved.to him 'and he waved back.
Then I just seemed to shoot downward and landed in soft ground beside a road. I landed about a mile from the plane which crashed a quarter of a mile from the Mexican border. I am sorry to say that the pilot was killed in the crash. I got nothing worse than a fractured finger and a slightly sprained ankle out of the experience."
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