In 1938 Wrong Way Corrigan was denied permission to make a solo transatlantic flight because his plane was unsafe, but given the okay to fly to California. He took off, made a U-turn, and disappeared into the clouds. 28 hours later he landed in Ireland, claiming his compass had broken.
In 1983 a Mexican pilot crashed landed in a small town in Ireland and the whole town came together to build a temporary runway for him to take off again and continue his flight.
Hazel Ying Lee was the first Chinese-American pilot supporting the US Army during WW2. One time, her aircraft made an emergency landing on a farm. The farmer saw her, grabbed a pitchfork, and chased her around the plane, shouting to neighbors that the Japanese had invaded Kansas.
Commerical Flight Attendants and Pilots are 4x more likely to get cancer in their lifetime, because of the time they spend flying, with a thinner atmosphere and more solar particles. They recive 3x more radiation a year than a nuclear plant employee.
Aleksey Maresyev, a pilot who was shot down in Nazi territory, lost the use of his legs, crawled for eighteen days before returning to Soviet territory. His legs were then amputated. Nevertheless, within a year he was flying again on prosthetic legs.
Lydia Litvyak was the Jewish Soviet fighter ace. During WWII she claimed 14 kills, trained 45 pilots, and shot down an ace who wouldn’t believe a woman beat him until she described the fight. She went missing on a flight Just before she was to receive the award “Hero of the Soviet Union”.
Fuzzy dice hanging on a rear view mirror is a good luck charm with the origins based on WWII pilots keeping gambling trinkets in their air planes. A lot of car and sub culture trends is spawned from this, including hot rod flames, shark mouths, pin up girls, etc.
During WWII, J. Hunter Reinburg wanted to make ice cream for his men while stationed on a tropical island in the Pacific. He put the ingredients in a can mounted on the underside of his plane and would fly to 25,000 feet where the air temperature was -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
In 1970, a pilot engaging in mock combat in an F-106 lost control in a dive, ejected, and then the plane righted itself, continued to fly, landed softly in a snowy field, then was later recovered with minimal damage and returned to service.
The first pilots crossing the Atlantic, crash landed on bogland in the western tip of Ireland. During their flight they came into free fall twice above the ocean. They lost the hood of the ‘cockpit’ and went trough snow and rain at 3500 m altitude, soaking and freezing them completely.