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1. Pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick liked to show people what he could do. So much so that in a New York City barroom, on a drunken bet in 1956, Fitzpatrick claimed he could travel from Jersey to New York City in 15 minutes. With the bet made, Fitzpatrick stole a single-engine plane from the Teterboro School of Aeronautics in Jersey at 3 a.m., flew it without lights or radio, and landed on St. Nicholas Avenue in front of the bar where the bet was made. The New York Times called it “a fine landing” and a “feat of aeronautics.” Fitzpatrick was fined $100. Two years later, while again drinking in a bar, Fitzpatrick met a patron who called the story hogwash. So what would any good, drunken, betting man do? He did it again, stealing another plane from the same school. After he proved it again, he had a drink named after him: The Late Night Flight.
2. An Australian pilot reported a UFO hovering above him in mid-flight. He and his plane are still missing. ———
On a sunny day in October of 1978, plane enthusiast Frederick Valentich was casually cruising the skies in a Cessna 182L above Melbourne’s Bass Strait just below 5,000 feet when he spotted something hovering directly above him. He reported it to the control tower operator as a long object above him that was “not an aircraft.” He told the operator it shot off quickly away from him at an extremely fast speed then came back and hovered over him again. After a few minutes of describing the craft, an unusual noise described as 17 seconds of scraping metal could be heard by the operator before audio went dead. Valentich would never be heard from again. Efforts to recover the man or his craft proved useless. He nor any parts of his plane were ever found. Some believe an alien craft took him and his plane. Others say he became disoriented and crashed into the waters. That very same day, several other Australians reported an unusual looking object in the sky near where Valentich disappeared. Could this pilot have made contact with an alien? We may never know.
3. Two unidentified men commandeered an empty Boeing 737 in 2003 in Angola, taxied down the runway and took off without any kind of clearance. The plane headed west over the Atlantic with lights and transponder off. The men, nor the plane, were ever found – even after an exhaustive search by the FBI and CIA. It is believed by officials, however, that neither of the men were capable of piloting the aircraft.
4. A cargo plane carrying $1.2 million in paintings disappeared shortly after takeoff in January of 1979. The Brazilian Airlines plane and its crew were never seen again. Also, in a separate incident, Chinese national Zhou Haiyou stole nearly $120,000 from the passenger seated in front of him, Hu Jingang, while he was sleeping. After waking up, Hu discovered his money was missing and Zhou admitted it, but tried to strike a deal with him to not turn him in. Hu would have none of that and reported it to the plane’s crew. Zhou was sentenced to 18 months in jail.