American game show host Bob Barker was trained as a Navy fighter pilot in World War 2, but wasn't sent to a fleet squadron in time to fight. He once said: "I was all ready to go, and when the enemy heard that I was headed for the Pacific, they surrendered. That was the end of World War II."
2. In 1994, a disgruntled FedEx employee named Auburn Calloway tried to hijack and crash a FedEx cargo flight, using hammers and a spear gun. Despite serious injuries during the attack, the pilot flew the DC-10 upside down at times in an attempt to pin the hijacker to the ceiling of the plane to stop him. The pilot performed maneuvers well beyond all known capabilities of the aircraft and landed it safely.
3. Ken Taylor and George Welch were two of the US pilots who were able to take off during the attack on Pearl Harbor and down 7 enemy aircrafts. They were denied the Medal of Honor because their commanding officer said they had “taken off without orders.”
4. In 2005, a pilot of Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 was concerned about the weather. He jokingly referenced the movie ‘Airplane!’, saying “I picked a bad day to stop sniffin’ glue,” shortly before his plane crashed.
5. While test flying the first American jet plane, test pilot Jack Woolams wore a gorilla mask, a Durby hat, and a cigar just to mess with the other pilots he buzzed. The pilots were convinced they were crazy for seeing an airplane without propeller with a monkey at the controls.
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James Stewart is the highest-ranking actor in military history (Brigadier General). He was World War 2 and Vietnam War veteran and a licensed commercial pilot. In 1996, he was due to have the battery in his pacemaker changed, but opted not to, preferring to let things happen naturally.
7. During the Berlin Blockade of 1948, a pilot named Gail Halvorsen who was doing supply drops for the civilians became known as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” as well as “The Chocolate Uncle”, “The Gum Drop Kid” and “The Chocolate Flier” after he started dropping candy and chocolate from his plane and wiggling his wings so people knew it was him.
8. In 2014, an airline pilot ordered 30 pizzas for his passengers, after finding out they would be delayed 2 hours for weather. The pizzas were delivered within 30 minutes by Domino’s and were cleared by security and sent directly to the plane in an official airport vehicle.
9. In 1960, a Russian terrorist named Alex Hildebrandt tried to hijack Trans Australia flight 408, armed with a bomb. Co-pilot Tom R. Bennett punched him in the face and ripped the wires off the bomb, saving 49 lives.
10. The O'Hare Airport is named after an American fighter pilot named Edward O'Hare who was the lone defender during an attack on his carrier. He was killed leading the first night defense against a Kamikaze attack. Two years earlier, his own father was murdered for being the only man willing to testify against Al Capone.
11Dana Vahle and Zoey Tur
The two rival TV helicopter pilots, both men (Dana-Vahle, formerly Dirk, and Zoey Tur, formerly Bob), who duked it out for OJ Simpson police chase footage have since both had sex change operations and become female friends.
12. Famous aviator Charles Lindbergh served in World War 2 as a fighter pilot, despite still being a civilian. His wingman was known as "Fishkiller Miller" after he missed a target and accidentally killed thousands of nearby fish instead.
13. On 9/11, some jet fighters took to the air without live ammunition, knowing that to prevent the hijackers from striking their intended targets, the pilots might have to intercept and crash their fighters into the hijacked planes, ejecting at the last moment.
14. A test pilot named Thomas W. Attridge Jr. accidentally shot his own aircraft down while testing the F-11 Tiger. After firing a short burst at 13,000 feet, he accelerated into a dive and leveled off to fire another burst at 7,000 feet, where he was struck by the bullets he'd fired earlier.
15. In 1970, a fighter jet landed itself on a cornfield in Montana after the pilot ejected from it following an unrecoverable spin. His act of ejection changed the center of gravity of the plane, allowing it to recover. It went back into service after minor repair work.
16Lt. Thomas C. Lupo
During the World War 2 naval battle of Leyte Gulf, an American pilot named Lt. Thomas C. Lupo made repeated attack runs against one of the largest battleships in history, Japan's IJN Yamato. After running out of ammunition, the pilot continued attacking, throwing a Coke bottle and other loose cockpit articles at the ship’s bridge.
17. Hazel Ying Lee who was a Chinese-American World War 2 pilot, had two forced landings. One landing took place in a Kansas wheat field. A farmer, pitchfork in hand, chased her around the plane while shouting to his neighbors that the Japanese had invaded the Kansas.
18. Without notice or warning to Boeing executives, test pilot Tex Johnson did a barrel roll with his Boeing 707 over Lake Washington in Seattle, at an air show that had a lot of potential customers in attendance. When asked by his boss “What the hell were you doing?” Johnson responded “Selling airplanes.” He was not terminated.
19. The most isolated human being ever was Alfred Worden, command module pilot of Apollo 15, who in lunar orbit was at a maximum distance of 2,235 miles (3,597 km) from his fellow astronauts on the surface. While on the other side of the Moon, no communication with Earth or his comrades was possible.
20. During the Korean War, Air Force pilot James Robinson Risner successfully “pushed” his wingman’s incapacitated jet fighter into friendly territory using the nose of his own jet, a maneuver that had never been attempted in history.
In World War 2, German field marshal Erwin Rommel would often personally pilot a reconnaissance aircraft over the battle to view the situation. Although Rommel did not have a pilot's license, his skill with machinery made him a competent pilot, and none of the Luftwaffe officers had the nerve to stop him.
22. In 1943, a Luftwaffe pilot named Franz Stigler refused to destroy a damaged B-17 Flying Fortress. The German pilot named Charlie Brown escorted the B-17 to the English Channel and then saluted the American pilot and returned home. 40 years later they were reunited and developed a deep friendship that lasted until their deaths.
23. In 1916, a German fighter pilot named Manfred von Richthofen was considered a below average pilot who crashed during his first flight at the controls. Upon his death two years, and 80 aerial kills later, the British buried The Red Baron with full military honors out of respect for his skill as an aviator.
24. German World War 2 pilots in North Africa would fix bottles of Coca Cola to the underside of their wings so that the drink would cool at high altitude and be ready to drink after landing.
25. During the World War 2, a Soviet pilot named T. Kuznetsov, survived the crash of his Ilyushin Il-2 when shot down returning from a reconnaissance mission. Kuznetsov escaped from the wreck and hid nearby. To his surprise, a German Bf 109 fighter landed near the crash site and the pilot began to investigate the wrecked Il-2, possibly to assist Kuznetsov, or to look for souvenirs. Thinking quickly, Kuznetsov ran to the German fighter and used it to fly home, barely avoiding being shot down by Soviet fighters in the process.