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Downed in the wilderness, he lost both legs but kept on flying

In Russia, every schoolchild knows the name of Aleksey Maresyev. The legendary WWII fighter pilot’s heroic story was retold in a 1948 book, “The story of a real man”. After his plane was shot down by Nazi fire, he survived in the Russian wilderness for 18 days with broken legs and found his way to safety. Despite losing both legs in hospital, he still convinced doctors and military commanders that he should continue to fly. His example helped many who might otherwise have given up, some handicapped pilots say it inspired them to survive and continue with their careers.