Bio / Text:
Francis David Colin BROWN
681 Squadron pilot
Free Fall Over India, isbn 0473108526
From the Aviation Safety Network link:
The Spitfire was on a photo-recce sortie, Lashio-Loiwing-Mandalay, when on the return leg to base an extensive weather front was encountered.
With the front stretching for many miles on each side and to about 20,000 feet above, and with mountainous terrain below, the pilot had no choice but to push on through.
Entering cloud at 23,000 feet the Spitfire soon began to suffer the effect of carburettor icing and, after about twenty minutes of unpleasant flying, severe turbulence was experienced causing the gyroscopic blind flying instruments to fail. The pilot interpreted his primary flight instruments as indicating that the plane was in a spin. He applied the appropriate recovery movements to the controls whereupon he was crushed down in the seat by high 'G' force and was unable to keep his hands on the control column.
At this point the pilot lost consciousness, and upon recovering found himself out of the Spitfire, falling free below the cloud base, and about 3,000 feet from the ground. Some 300 feet below him he could see the fuselage of his plane, minus wings, tailplane, and motor, spinning down.
The pilot deployed his parachute and landed safely. On arriving at a hospital the following day he was found to be suffering from "intense conjunctival haemorrhaging in both eyes", a spinal injury, and extensive bruising.
Warrant Officer F.D.C. Brown RNZAF was returned to New Zealand to recover from his injuries and did not fly operationally again.