World War 2 fighter pilot James Howard won the medal of honor for single-handedly taking on more than 30 German fighter planes all by himself to protect a group of American bomber planes.- Source
27. 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. - Source
28. Lockheed U2 pilots were given cyanide suicide pills. After a pilot almost accidentally ingested a suicide pill instead of candy during a flight, the suicide pills were put into boxes to avoid confusion. - Source
29. 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. - Source
30. 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.- Source
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. - Source
32. 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. - Source
33. 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.- Source
34. 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. - Source
35. 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.
In 1943, American pilot Alan Magee survived a fall from 20,000 feet without a parachute. He fell from his damaged B-17 Flying Fortress and smashed through the glass roof of the St. Nazaire railroad station. He survived and lived to the age of 82.- Source
37. In World War 2, a British pilot named Sergeant Sydney Cohen made an emergency landing on the Italian island of Lampedusa, only to have the island surrender to him.- Source
38. In 1968, a Japanese pilot named Kohei Asoh landed Japan Airlines Flight 2 near Coyote Point in the shallow waters of San Francisco Bay, two and a half miles short of the runway due to heavy fog and other factors. When asked about it, he replied “As you Americans say, I f*cked up.”- Source
39. 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.- Source
40. Chuck Yeager (first man to officially break the sound barrier) as a fighter pilot in World War 2 downed 5 enemy aircraft in a single mission. Two of these kills were scored without firing a single shot.