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Video: 1975 Flashback With Clay Lacy, A DC-8, And The HUMAN FLY!

 Clay Lacy was a household name for me when I was a kid because Clay started flying DC-3's for United Airlines the same year that my dad Robert Clupper did, in 1952. I know my dad knew Clay back in the late 60's and into the 70's but I'm not sure how well... Clay was always doing some crazy/cool aviation related stuff that made for fun avgeek talk in our house. Things like flying an all purple P-51 in the races at Reno in the late 60's (and even winning the race in 1970), to racing a DC-7 in the California 1000, also in 1970. And then there was his task of flying a DC-8 with the stuntman known as the HUMAN FLY strapped on top of the fuselage!

Video screenshot of the HUMAN FLY strapped on to a DC-8 flown by Clay Lacy in 1975

 Three flights like this were made over several months time so the HUMAN FLY could accomplish being on the outside of an airplane at 300 mph. Why? Well, I guess why not? Anyway, this video, which was recently uploaded by the fine folks at Clay Lacy Aviation, gives the long-view story of the HUMAN FLY and his motivations. It's a pretty interesting story actually, and I'd say it's well worth you investing 23 minutes to watch it all. The views of the DC-8 in flight and Clay flying low to the ground are fabulous enough all on their own. And you gotta love a guy who retracts the gear and banks right immediately after takeoff in a DC-8! Btw, if you don't have time for the entire video, the turnaround at the end of the runway for takeoff starts at the 9:00 mark. I'll add that the use of a helicopter and then a chase plane means that there is some really great video of this stunt.

Video screenshot showing how low to the ground Clay flew the DC-8!

 So, the next time someone asks you if that story about a guy riding on the outside of a DC-8 at 300 mph was really true, you can tell 'em "yep, it is... and I've seen the video of it!" You might also enjoy seeing Caption Contest #18 from way back in 2009 that used a pic from this flight... the winning caption was very appropriate!

Video screesnhot of the 1975 low pass made at Mojave at 300mph with the HUMAN FLY

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Reader Comments (7)

Awesome!! I really miss that country! Never heard of the Fly. I'll have to look him up. ~J~

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohnCFord

My brother and I were actually there to see him fly at Mojave in 1975. The exciting thing about the stunt was watching he DC-8 fly by at such a low altitude. It would have been just as much fun to see the flight without the Human Fly on top.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Krentz

Peter Krentz- Wow - that's awesome that you guys were actually there to see this! And I can imagine that the low passes were the real attraction... especially since the Fly wouldn't be all that visible. What a great memory for you to have : )

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

Disco's Dead, The Human Fly lives !

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterD B Cooper

Awesome post. Check out Brent Musburger's crazy sideburns. Ah, the '70's. When it was possible to strap-on a DC-8 and go for a spin.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerence

Look at the flaps. They are set at maybe 25 degrees. I doubt a DC-8 could reach 300 MPh in that configuration. cool video and stunt though.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Great stuff Martt. Your dad, my dad, and Clay all started the same year...whew! In 1966, I received two autographs from Clay; pics of him in the cockpit of the lavender P-51. Lost those in a fire, just kills me!

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Bryan

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