Alan Bristow has died, and with him die mankind’s dreams of harpooning whales from helicopters.
In 1953, Mr. Bristow started a company called Air Whaling to support Aristotle Onassis‘ pirate Antarctic whaling fleet. During this time, he flew helicopters from whaling ships up to a hundred miles out over the ocean in search of whales. On one occasion he was forced to land on an iceberg to wait out a snowstorm. He built upon this success by inventing an airborne harpooning system that he patented and sold to the Netherlands Whaling Company, but this technology was quickly banned by the IWC.
While Aristotle Onassis went on to bang JFK’s wife, Alan Bristow moved on to other great inventions like waterbeds for cows.
And he almost died a lot. During his early years as a test pilot, he claims he survived six engine failures in a single day. In his teens, as a merchant marine, he survived many violent and bloody shipboard boxing matches. One boat he was in was torpedoed, and two others were completely sunk. Although an Englishman, he was awarded the Criox de Guerre by le France. And in 1979, he led a rescue mission to retrieve his company’s workers from post-revolutionary Iran.
He also has about the world’s worst wikipedia entry.
I’m not entirely sure what he died of, but here’s a message board featuring comments by many people who knew him…and many more who didn’t.