Brian Milton was an accomplished hang-glider pilot and founded the British National League in 1976, designing the competition format. His brush with death took place on 13 November 1978, when he had a disastrous accident in one of the very first motorised machines. He had planned to fly a powered hang glider across the English Channel to Paris, a feat that had never been done before, and was practicing in a prototype over Wiltshire, England. A BBC crew was filming the event and got a much bigger story than they had anticipated. At a height of 250 feet Brian hit dangerous wind shear conditions. The wings of the glider collapsed and he plummeted to the ground, unable to open his parachute in time. Miraculously, he lived to tell the tale, escaping with with severe bruising and some broken bones. On the BBC Nine O’Clock News that evening, newscaster Angela Ripon described Brian as “the luckiest man alive.”
Brian was interviewed about his flying adventures by CJ Grace on Radio CJ, and in the excerpt below, he talks about the 250-foot fall and its aftermath.
Duration 7 min. 40 sec.