13 September, 1962: The 15-year-old boy on the tractor is Mick Sutterby. At the time of the photo he was warning Jim Meads, the photographer, that he and his children were in a restricted area at Hatfield Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, England. The Meads were there to take a family photo of their friend, the pilot, George Aird's as he landed. The boy, Sutterby, turned around as he heard the roar of Aird's English Electric Lightning F1 test fighter behind him. This was at the exact moment Meads, a professional photographer, took the photo.
The aircraft pitched up violently just as Aird was coming up to land. Aird lost control of the aircraft and ejected. Luckily, because the nose of the plane pitched up he had just enough time to eject. Aird landed on a greenhouse and fell through the roof, breaking both legs as he landed unconscious on the ground. The water from the sprinkler system for the tomatoes woke him. He’s reported to have said that his first thought was that he must be in heaven. Aird was back in the air as a RAF test pilot within six months. .
The photographs taken that day first went to the Ministry of Aviation. Once they were released three months later, Mead sold them to the Daily Mirror for £1,000 (an estimated £18,000 in present day) . The photo was featured as a centre page spread in the newspaper on the 9th October 1962, before being featured as a photo in newspapers around the World. .
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