Top 6 Spooky Aviation Legends and Scary Stories

It’s that time of year for witches, ghosts, goblins, and all things that go bump in the night! So, what better time to lower the lights, curl up with a pumpkin spice latte, and enjoy these Top 6 Spooky Aviation Legends and Scary Stories?

1. Weird Message on the Data Screen

A pilot reports getting this strange message on his data screen instead of the normal approach coordinates during a landing. “The coordinates on the screen were nothing like what was written on our charts. I read the display, and instead of map coordinates and approach info, there was a cryptic message built in that read something like DON'T YOUUU WISHH YOOUU KNEWW WHATT THIS MEANS, and I showed it to the captain. We both had no idea what we were looking at, so I reloaded the approach. All of the normal data for the runway appeared, and I couldn't duplicate what we saw earlier.”

2. The Ghosts of Flight 401

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 plunged into the Everglades in 1972. The tragedy claimed 101 lives, including those of Captain Robert  'Bob' Loft and Flight Engineer Donald 'Don' Repo. The rear of the aircraft was relatively undamaged, and many parts of 401’s airframe were salvaged and reused. In the aircraft where the parts of 401 were used - especially in the galleys of other aircraft - crew who knew Loft and Repo claimed to have seen the ghosts, heard their voices, or otherwise “felt” their presence in the cabin.

3. The Eerie Voice

A “career pilot” in the US says that the creepiest thing that has ever happened to him “was back when I was an instructor in Florida, and I was giving one of my students his first ever actual IMC flights in an SR20. It was nighttime, and we were coming back from shooting an approach into Orlando Executive Airport when, over the emergency/guard frequency of 121.5, we heard someone eerily say 'hello' again and again. I tried to talk to the voice but got no response. Turns out that it was a girl who had stolen a plane from a local flight school she was training at and wasn't allowed to be flying it, and she ended up crashing and killing herself that night.”

4. The Moaning Dead Man – Cargo pilots often have to fly dead bodies. This one had a particularly creepy experience. “I Flew a dead body in a body bag by myself at night in a Chieftain (PA31-350). The dead guy groaned and jerked pretty hard about 10 minutes into the flight. I had it strapped down, so I don't know how much it would have moved if not restrained. I just kinda muttered under my breath and looked over my shoulder for the rest of the 25 min flight. Pretty sure it was just gasses inside the corpse, brought out by the pressure change from ground to 3000 feet up, but it sure was freaky…”

5. The Unexplained Gray Orb

A pilot’s son relates this spooky tale that his father had told him. “He was flying a Turbo Trush and was just beginning his approach. The tower called him and said that they had a strange radar echo by the end of the runway and asked him if he could check it out. As he approached, he saw a grey sphere just hanging there, a few hundred meters off the ground. No markings, no visible features, and no activity on the ground below it. He moved closer to see it better when it suddenly took off straight up. He tried to give chase. The Turbo Thrush is a nimble aircraft, and with little fuel and no payload, it will climb fast, really fast, but he couldn't match its rate of climb. He was completely sure it wasn't a balloon (he's done a lot of balloon hunting at air shows), it was too big, the movement wasn't like a balloon (it went against the wind), and it climbed way too fast.

6. The Mysterious Missing Wind

A flight trainer reports this bizarre story of disappearing wind on what was a blustery day. “I'm on final approach on my last run of the day, with full flaps doing the ABSOLUTE minimum speed for approach in a Cessna, not taking into consideration that the air is super turbulent. For those who don't know, when it's bumpy, you should be going a little faster on approach than usual. Anyways I'm quite close to the ground, maybe 300-400 feet, and I can HEAR the wind blowing over the sound of the engine. Suddenly, no wind. Just gone, vanished! I had just lost 15-20kts of almost direct headwind on final approach with absolutely no airspeed to spare. The controls became totally useless, like a limp computer joystick. Thankfully I had my hand on the throttle like my instructor taught me. For whatever instinctual reason (good instructor probably), I gently pushed the throttle all the way and slightly lowered the nose, and must have landed safely, but it was all a blur, and I really do not remember taking the actions that I did.”

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We hope these stories of terror in the skies have been fun. Here is another  “scary good” Halloween treat to enjoy all year long!

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