Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Tale of Two Pilots - An Axis Pilot Who Rescued a B-17 Over the Skies of Germany, Part 1

Restored B-17 Bomber
Creative Commons via 
Author Airwolfhound
World War II is full of many miraculous acts of bravery and survival, but the encounter of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown over the skies of Germany in 1943 is one of the most profound. This is their story.

The German Pilot:

Franz Stigler was born and raised in Bavaria, southern Germany. His father, a former WWI pilot, instilled a love of flying in his sons. At the age of twelve, Franz soloed in a home-built glider. Because he didn't weigh enough, the plane crashed, and Franz sustained minor injuries. Several months later, with a sandbag tied around his waist, he successfully launched and landed the rebuilt glider. By the time Franz was seventeen, he knew he wanted to fly every day for the rest of his life. The German government provided his training, and Lufthansa, Europe's largest airline, hired him when he was only eighteen years old.

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