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Stabilized video of the accident that almost killed Neil Armstrong

US Navy pilot, war veteran, aerospace engineer, astronaut and first man on the Moon Neil Armstrong was also an incredible test pilot, with 900 flights in experimental aircraft including the dangerous Lunar Landing Testing Vehicle. On May 6, 1968, he almost died flying one. This is the video of the crash.

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The film—stabilized here by redditor Theodore Funkenstein—shows the entire sequence of the accident, which happened just a bit over a year before the Apollo 11 launch. The controls on his LLTV started to go crazy at an altitude of 100 feet (30 meters) and the vehicle started to bank dangerously. Armstrong ejected and landed safely but, according to the post-accident investigation, he would have died had he ejected only half a second later.

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Every astronaut hated this damn thing—a vehicle used to simulate the Lunar Module that had a jet engine turned 90 degrees to imitate the Moon's reduced gravity. Armstrong was particularly good at flying it.

Illustration for article titled Stabilized video of the accident that almost killed Neil Armstrong

Here's the film without stabilization and a still photo of the crash site as Armstrong descended with his parachute.

Illustration for article titled Stabilized video of the accident that almost killed Neil Armstrong
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Armstrong—who was famous for having nerves of steel—survived not only because of luck but because this wasn't the first time that he went through a dangerous situation. He experienced several incidents during his naval pilot time in Korea and his career as a test pilot at NACA's High-Speed Flight Station, which later become NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and now is NASA's Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center.

But perhaps the worst incident—which almost ended with his life and the life of pilot David Scott—happened during the Gemini 8 mission, which showed that Armstrong had the right stuff to be the commander of the first mission that would land on the Moon.

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DISCUSSION

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Clark Oliver

And was so cool about it that after ejecting he went to his office to catch up on paperwork. He talked with several astronauts who had no idea he'd just brushed up against death because it was just another day at the office and he felt no need to mention it.