03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Fear Of Flying: Top Ten Most Mysterious Airplane Incidents


Are you somebody who hates to fly? I am. As a result I tend to get overly interested in the stories and news reports that flood the airwaves after something bad happens involving planes. Particularly bad things that can't be explained. The most recent addition to this list is last week's report of Northwest Airlines Flight 188 plane, which overshot its destination by 150 miles (ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILES). This story, which is scary but thankfully not tragic, comes on the heels of a year that seems strangely packed with reports of crashing planes. As a result, I thought it might be good therapy (face your fear!) to compile a short post listing some of the more mysterious, and famous plane incidents whose details tend to plague me shortly before take off (side note: for whatever reason, despite having been in NYC during 9/11, terrorism has never factored into my pre-flight panic).

Turns out, not so much. After penning this post I may never fly again. Also, be warned: searching "plane crash" on YouTube can lead you down a rather frightening rabbit hole that, in my case, eventually resulted in my watching a video taken on a plane while it was crashing. Lesson learned! Ignorance is bliss and facing your fear of flying on YouTube is not one of the smarter ideas I've had, unless you perhaps are someone who has stocks in Greyhound, and then it may be one of the smarter, yet-to-be exploited, advertising campaigns out there.

Back to last week. The pilots of Flight 188 have since testified that they were distracted by their laptops and didn't realize they had overshot their mark. As someone who spends much of her life on the Internets this is somehow a less frightening scenario than the idea that both pilots had fallen asleep (or merely grown bored), which was what many people originally assumed. I tend to rest, somewhat assured, that the laptop-engaged pilots would have eventually seen reports of their wayward plane on Twitter before, say, being shot down by the four National Guard jets that were put on standby. A number of these other scenarios, however, did not have such happy endings, or clear cut explanations, and it tends to be these stories I recall on my way to the airport.

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