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1Lt. 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.- Source


2. A Russian pilot named Pyotr Nesterov was both the first pilot to fly a loop in an airplane and the first to destroy an enemy aircraft in flight. He died during the latter attempt because planes did not have weapons and he had to ram it. - Source


3. 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.- Source


4. After both of the leaders of his squadron were shot down over Vietnam in 1967, American fighter pilot Merlyn Dethlefsen flew his damaged fighter back through enemy air defenses to scare off enemy fighters, then knocked out both missile sites defending the target, saving 70 of the 72 friendly aircrafts following him.- Source


5. During the late World War 2, the Nazis designed a plane named the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet. It flew so fast that it was untouchable by enemies, but it went so fast that its own pilots weren't capable of shooting enemy aircrafts before their plane flew past their adversaries. - Source


6Tex Johnson

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.- Source


7. 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.- Source


8. 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.”- Source


9. In 1959, a pilot named Lt Colonel William Rankin ejected from his plane directly into a violent thunder cloud. The storm winds kept him aloft for 40 minutes, pelting him with hailstones and so much rain that at times he had to hold his breath to keep from drowning in mid-air. He survived.- Source


10. 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."


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11Navy Phantom II

NASA pilots routinely intercepted and defeated U.S. Navy Phantom II's in mock dogfights, until complaints from the Navy put an end to the harassment. - Source


12. 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.- Source


13. 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.- Source


14. 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.- Source


15. 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.


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16James Robinson Risner

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.- Source


17. 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. - Source


18. 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.- Source


19. The movie "Behind Enemy Lines" told the story backward. The downed pilot named Scott O'Grady was rescued with full NATO cooperation and was in fact put into danger by a US general releasing information to the press. The pilot sued Fox over the movie and they settled out of court.- Source


20. 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.- Source


21Frederick Valentich

In 1978, an Australian pilot named Frederick Valentich and his plane disappeared during a supposed UFO encounter. His last communication was “Melbourne that strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again... (two seconds open microphone)... it is hovering and it's not an aircraft...”- Source


22. In May 1983, two Israeli Air Force aircrafts, an F-15 Eagle and an A-4 Skyhawk, collided in mid-air during a training exercise over the Negev region in Israel. Notably, the F-15 – with a crew of two – managed to land safely at a nearby airbase, despite having its right wing almost completely sheared off in the collision.- Source


23. 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.- Source


24. 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. - Source


25. 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.- Source

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