In 1972 Jean Boulet set the world record for the highest altitude reached in a helicopter, 40,280ft. During descent his engines failed, and he landed the helicopter without power, setting another record in the process for the highest unpowered helicopter landing.
In 2003, the mayor of Chicago illegally bulldozed the runway of a downtown airport in the middle of the night to create a park. This stranded 16 planes on the ground and required an inbound flight to be diverted. The FAA fined the city $33k – the maximum allowed at the time.
After becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart started her own fashion line. Unconventional materials such as parachute silk and textile from airplane wings were used in some designs, and she gave a nod to her love of aviation with buttons shaped like propellers.
If you are seated at the back of a Boeing 747, the walk to your seat from the front of the plane is longer than the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight.
The first airplane dogfight was between two American mercenaries on opposing sides in the Mexican Revolution. Both men had orders to kill, but neither pilot wanted to harm the other, so they exchanged multiple volleys of pistol fire, intentionally missing before exhausting their ammunition.
In 1808 two Frenchmen held a duel in the skies by both riding their own hot air balloon and shooting at each other’s balloon.
While in a spin, a pilot ejected from his plane only to watch his unmanned F-106 recover from the spin and land safely in a field. It landed that way because of the weight reduction after ejection.
In 1994, the pilot of an Aeroflot Airbus A310 allowed his son to sit at the controls during a flight. The boy inadvertently turned off the autopilot controls, sending the plane into hillside and killing all 75 aboard.
In 1936 a patent for a “flying saucer” called Aerodina Lenticulara was applied for. The same inventor is also credited by some with the world first jet in 1910. In 1905, he also built a missile-aeroplane for the Romanian Army.