Photo: thegreatgonzo / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

Pilots Share The Creepiest Things They've Seen On The Job

From Cesnas to 747s, the pilots behind these planes have spent a lot of time in the air and seen a myriad of strange things. When you’re flying the last thing you want to experience is something out of the ordinary, not only is it unsettling but it could spell the end for you and your passengers. These creepy pilot stories all have a different flavor, but they each involve something happening in the air that wasn’t on the flight plan. 

Pilots from all over took to Reddit to share their strange stories of UFOs, strange messages, noisy corpses, and unnatural weather that are sure to make you think twice about stepping onto an airplane ever again. 

Photo: thegreatgonzo / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

  • A Cryptic Message Flashed On Their Screen

    From Redditor /u/TRex_N_Truex:

    Airline pilot here. I was loading an approach on our FMS flying into Ohare one afternoon. The fixes on the screen were no where in the ballpark what was written on our charts. I read the fixes off the and there is a criptic message built in that read something like DONTT YOUUU WISHH YOOUU KNEWW WHATT THISS MEANS and I showed the captain. We both had no idea what we were looking at so I reloaded the approach. All of the normal fixes for the runway appeared and I couldn't duplicate what we saw earlier. It was like a virus was inside the FMS. Anyways this story isn't about alien shit so I expect to get no votes for it.

  • They Heard A Girl's Final Words

    From Redditor /u/r361k:

    Career airline pilot in the United States. Creepiest thing that has ever happened to me 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. We were flying out of Sanford, FL (SFB) and the weather was pretty shitty for anyone not IFR rated or someone who is allowed to fly by sole reference to the instruments/inside of clouds.

    It was night time 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 ended up crashing and killing herself that night. Theres an ATC clip of it I'll try and post on here of it. You can hear Daytona or maybe New Smyrna trying to talk to her and then nothing.

  • They Saw St. Elmo's Fire

    From Redditor /u/Spin737:

    The plane I flew, the SAAB 340, was a 34-seat turboprop commuter. While every other plane maker was using Pratt and Whitney engines, SAAB decided to use GE helicopter engines - the same engines that power the Blackhawk. These engines had a 'feature' called a 'rollback.' If you were flying in slushy conditions a little below freezing, say -2C, they had a habit of occasionally shutting down. It was just for a second, and they would immediately relight, but it would make a loud bang and flash, give a little kick, and light up some indications in the cockpit... More interesting was the static and St. Elmo's Fire.

    The plane got a little odd around all that electricity in thunderstorms. First, you have to have a radar to fly an airliner near thunderstorms. Ours worked pretty good, that is until you got it covered with ice, and there's lots of ice in thunderstorms…

    The static on the windshield was pretty cool. It looks like a plasma ball that we've all seen. Not too crazy. People call that St. Elmo's Fire, but it's not. I've had real St. Elmo's fire on the SAAB once that was kinda spooky. We were maybe ten minutes from landing and we had been dodging storms all night. We were coming into the clear near the airport and had one last cloud to go through. As we entered the last cloud, the nose of the airplane lit up like Rudolph's nose, but it was a hard magenta like you see in the Northern Lights sometimes. It looked like we had a magenta spotlight shining out of our nose. It lit the cloud up in front of us quite a bit. And then it was gone. I never saw that before and didn't see it again.

  • They Flew A Dead Body That Moaned

    From Redditor /u/BigZombieKing:

    Flew at a shoddy company in the boonies of Saskatchwan a while back. Flew a dead body in a body bag by myself at night in a Chieftain (PA31-350). Dead guy groaned and jerked pretty hard about 10 minutes into the flight. Had it herc strapped down, so I don't know how much it would have moved if not restrained. just kinda muttered under my breath and looked over my shoulder for the rest of the 25 min flight. Pretty sure it was gasses inside the corpse, brought out by the pressure change from ground to 3000' agl. 

  • They Saw A Mysterious Gray Orb

    From Redditor /u/ElMachoGrande:

    [His Father] was approaching a small airfield where he was going to land. 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 see a grey sphere just hanging there, a few hundred meters off the ground. Now markings, no visible features, no activity on the ground below it. He moved closer to see it better, when it suddenly takes off straight up. He tries 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 it's rate of climb by far.

    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. The tower saw it climb as well, and, while I don't remember any numbers, the rate of climb was akin to a modern jet fighter.

    As it had no features, it was difficult to estimate size, but he guessed at 10-15 meters diameter.

    Neither he nor I would call it an UFO (unless you mean it in the strictest sense, as it clearly was unidentified, flying and an object), but he has no idea what it was.

  • This Pilot Saw What They Thought Was Lightning On A Clear Night

    From Redditor /u/SupersonicJaymz:

    It was confusing. Flying low level at night on NVGs, it was a clear night so no chance of lightning. The sky kept flashing really bright though. No movement in it, so it wasn't a meteorite shower or anything. Took almost an hour to figure out that it was fireworks in the distance. And by distance I mean like 30 km away.