5 of History’s Unsolved Aviation Mysteries

amelia earhart - plane

1. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been missing since March 8, 2014. It has been weeks and we still don’t know if the plane landed, was hijacked or crashed on an island with a giant black smoke monster. Perhaps I shouldn’t joke, but theories on what happened to the Boeing 777 passenger jet suggest the plane could still be out there. (Let’s hope that it is and the passengers are alive and safe.)

2. Arguably, the most intriguing disappearance of a plane is Amelia Earhart’s story. On July 2, 1937, Ameila’s twin-engine monoplane Electra vanished. The ace pilot and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were over the Pacific ocean with 7,000 miles left to go on her voyage to fly around the world. While trying to make a fuel stop on Howland Island, the plane disappeared. A multimillion dollar search effort was made to find Amelia and Fred, but nothing was ever found of pair or the plane.

3. The birth of the Bermuda Triangle’s notoriety began with the disappearance of five Navy bombers. On December 5, 1945, a 13 man crew vanished during training mission. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, compasses began to malfunction and the instructor leading the pack became lost. That is the last clue as to what happened. To add to the mystery, a search aircraft sent to look for the missing men also disappeared after entering the same area. Nothing was every found from any of the bombers or the search plane.

4. Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 took off March 16th, 1962. The flight left Guam with more 90 personnel headed for the Philippines. The plane never arrived at its destination. No distress calls were made and nothing suggested there were any problems. Crews searched for 8 days and several other attempts to find wreckage were made, but nothing was ever found. The only possible clue – a Liberian tanker ship’s crew said they saw an “intensely luminous light” in the sky around the same time of the flight.

5. In 2003, an American Airlines Boeing 727 was stolen. The plane took off from Quatro de Fevereiro Airport in Angola without clearance or contacting towers. Since then, there has been no trace of the aircraft or an aircraft mechanic, flight engineer and cargo pilot, Ben Charles Padilla. Officials noted that the plane didn’t have a logo and was outfitted to carry diesel fuel which make it ideal for transporting drugs and/or guns. However, Padilla’s family insist he was not involved in any illegal activities. The FBI and the CIA still have no clue what happened or where the plane is at.


  1. Eric says

    Missed one: Charles Nungesser’s disappearance (with Coli) on his flight across the Atlantic before Linbergh.

  2. David Young says

    There is nothing unusual about the Bermuda Triangle whatsoever.

    The rate of disappearances of shipping and planes is not statistically higher than other comparable stretches of water, Lloyds of London, who insure ships worldwide, and the local coastguard do not see anything out of the ordinary when comparing sinkings or crashes there with those happening elsewhere. The triangle does not even appear on a list of the ten most dangerous places to take a boat.

    It’s just a publishing craze that hasn’t died down yet, as urban myths are generally hard to stop once they get started. As the saying goes: ‘A lie can be half way round the world before truth has got its boots on.’

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