During the Korean war, pilot James Risner chased a Russian MiG pilot back to his base in China and while flying between hangars and avoiding anti-aircraft fire, he shot it down into parked fighters.
The pilot who successfully ditched Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009 was an expert on airline safety, an NTSB accident investigator, published a paper on airline crew psychology in a crisis, and had his pilot’s certificate in gliders.
In 1956, for a bet, while drunk, Thomas Fitzpatrick stole a small plane from New Jersey and then landed it perfectly on a narrow Manhattan street in front of the bar he had been drinking at. Then, two years later, he did it again after a man didn’t believe he had done it the first time.
Russian pilot Semyon Bychkov served both in the Soviet Air Forces and the Luftwaffe and was stripped of all Soviet awards posthumously.
Colin McGregor, brother of Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor, is a British RAF pilot and goes by the call-sign “Obi Two”.
Beate Uhse-Rotermund was a stuntwoman and Luftwaffe pilot in WWII, ferrying around planes and jet fighters. After the war she started a mail order business sending out pamphlets teaching young girls about the rhythm method, which became the world’s first sex shop and later a €280 million business.
In WW2, the right wing of Wellington bomber was set afire by a Germans. The pilot James Allan Ward took a canvas cover, crawled onto the wing in mid-flight and put the fire out. His plane landed safely back in Great Britain.
Airline pilots in the 1930s and 40s would navigate by listening to a stream of automated “A” and “N” Morse codes when visibility was poor. They would turn the aircraft to the right when hearing an “N” stream, to the left on an “A” stream and fly straight ahead while hearing a steady tone.
A sleeping pilot awoke to see Venus in the night sky, mistook it for an oncoming plane and dove the plane down. Unsecured passengers were thrown against the ceiling.