Ivan Mikhailovich Chisov (Russian: Иван Михайлович Чисов) was a Soviet Airforce lieutenant who is notable for surviving a fall of approximately 7,000 meters (23,000 feet). Some references give the spelling of his last name as Chissov (Russian: Чиссов).
Lieutenant Chisov was a navigator on a Soviet Airforce Ilyushin Il-4 bomber. In January 1942, German fighters attacked his bomber, forcing him to bail out. Nicholas Zhugan, a crewman on Chisov's flight, later said that Chisov leapt from the plane at an altitude of approximately 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) though other references list Chisov's fall at 6,700 meters (Zhugan himself waited until the plane was at about 500 meters before also bailing out).
With the battle still raging around him, Lt. Chisov intentionally did not open his parachute, since he feared that he would just be an easy target for an angry German while he was dangling from his parachute harness. He planned on dropping below the level of the battle, then open his chute, once he was out of sight of the German fighters. However, due to the thin atmosphere at that altitude, he lost consciousness on the way down and was unable to pull the rip cord.
He hit the edge of a snowy ravine at an estimated speed of somewhere between 120 and 150 miles per hour (190 and 240 km/h), then slid, rolled, and plowed his way down to the bottom. The aerial battle had been watched by cavalry under the command of General Belov. When Chisov was seen falling to the ground, cavalrymen rushed to the site, and were surprised to find Chisov alive, still wearing his unopened parachute. Chisov regained consciousness a short time later.
Chisov suffered severe injuries, including spinal injuries and a broken pelvis. He was operated on by surgeon Y. Gudynsky, and for a month his condition was considered critical. Despite his injuries, he was able to fly again three months later. He requested to continue flying combat missions, but was instead sent to become a navigational trainer.
Chisov flew over 70 combat missions during the course of his career.
After the war, he graduated from the Military-Political Academy. After his departure from the reserve, he became a propagandist for the Central House of the Soviet Army.
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- Alan Magee, American, World War II airman who survived a 22,000-foot (6,700 m) fall from his damaged B-17 in 1943
- Vesna Vulović, Serbian flight attendant who survived the mid-air breakup of her aircraft in 1972
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