Top 10 Amazing Air Stunts that Saved Lives
From the moment Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully tested their first flying machine, the world has been fascinated by pioneer pilots who helped bring about the aviation age. While you have heard of pioneers and history-makers, you probably have not heard much about pilots who were just doing their job. Many pilots went well beyond their ordinary abilities and performed amazing feats in order to save doomed planes. These unsung heroes were pilots who did something more important than simply change history—they saved lives, in these cases, hundreds of innocent people. Here are ten cool cases that will forever stay in your mind.
10. Capt. Robert Schornstheimer
Number of Lives Saved: 89 passengers and 6 out of 7 crew members; only one fatality
On April 28, 1988 on a short plane ride from Hilo to Honolulu, passengers were terrified to witness the roof and wall of their cabin rip apart, leaving them exposed to the air, protected only by their seat belts. Since the plane was flying at 7,300 meters altitude, passengers were assaulted by 500 kph winds, meaning the cold, oxygen-deprived air itself was a threat. Because phone wires were cut, some attendants and passengers believed the pilot was dead.
The Queen Liliuokalani plane took off without incident. While over Maui, a part of the roof ruptured and the aircraft began to roll. Schornstheimer steered the plane to the closest airport, and oversaw an emergency landing. What makes his story even more amazing is that there was no disaster plan for this scenario. Captain Schornstheimer improvised everything. Sixty-five passengers were injured but only one crew member died. This captain’s fast-thinking mind and courage, even amid a crumbling plane, were inspiring to the plane’s survivors.
9. Capt. Chesley B. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger
Number of Lives Saved: 155 passengers and crew members
Sullenberger was in control of Airbus A320 or “Flight 1549” from New York LaGuardia to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte. Everything was fine until the captain reported to air traffic control that they hit a flock of birds, which knocked out their engines. The engines caught fire, and before long returning to the first airport or making it to a nearby airport were out of the question. There was only one place to go: into the Hudson River and it was a big risk.
He told the plane’s passengers to brace up and then, along with his co-pilot, orchestrated an emergency landing in the water. The captain was the last man to leave the plane, as he ensured all of the passengers were rescued before taking the maintenance logbook from the river-floating wreckage. Though it was, in the captain’s words, the “worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling”, he survived it and saved 155 people from a terrifying death landing.
8. Capt. Alfred C. Haynes
Number of Lives Saved: 185 surviving passengers out of 296
United Airlines Flight 232 took its last flight on July 19, 1989. It was set to go from Denver’s Stapleton International Airport to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. However, the DC-10 model crash-landed in Iowa after the failure of its tail-mounted engine, which later ruined flight controls. This story did not have a happy ending, since 111 of the 296 passengers died, but it is still considered a heroic achievement by historians and aviators who are amazed at the fact that anyone survived a landing that did not have conventional control working for it.
Before long, the engine failed and hydraulic systems followed, after being hit by shrapnel. The pilot and his crew managed to take limited control of the plane despite losing power over most of the controls. Using one engine at a time and making steering adjustments, the pilot and crew were able to adjust altitude, long enough to land at the Sioux Gateway Airport. They had no working flaps, slats or flares and could not slow down or lower the plane gradually. The plane broke apart, rolled, and went into flames. Because of the controlled crash by the late Haynes and his crew, and quick notification of emergency services, two thirds of the passengers survived a doomed flight.
7. Capt. Tadeusz Wrona
Number of Lives Saved: 231 passengers and crew members
On November 1, 2011 Captain Tadeusz Wrona had to perform a belly landing for the LOT Polish Airlines Flight 16 at Chopin Airport in Warsaw. The accident was said to result from a hydraulic leak that occurred after the plane’s take off. The leak was so bad that apparently all of the hydraulic fluid for the landing gears was lost. Although the pilot planned to continue on to the destination, the failing landing gear turned the situation dire. He circled the airport, hoping to use excess fuel and allowed emergency personnel to help assist the landing.
However, attempts to lower the gears were failing. The airport was shut down and evacuated. Despite the fact that all three landing gears failed, and the damage done to the plane was beyond repair, none of the passengers or crew died or were even injured. It took 90 seconds to fully evacuate the plane.
6. Capt. Karl van der Elst
Number of Lives Saved: All 231 passengers and 14 crew members
The KLM Flight 867 heading from Narita International Airport, Tokyo and encountered some complications when heading to the Anchorage International Airport in Alaska in December of 1989. The plane’s four engines failed while in flight, even though the 747-400 plane was fairly new. The belief is that the engines went down after the plane flew through volcanic ash. Backup battery electrical power was all the pilot had to guide the plane until the engines could be restarted. The plane rapidly glided downward nearly 14,000 feet, giving the pilot limited time to restart the engines.
The aircraft was damaged, running up a bill of $80 million, including the four bad engines. Reports are conflicted regarding the actions of the pilot, and whether or not he understood the reports he was given, or so claims a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, who said, “The information was the best we could provide with the resources and technology we got.” However, everyone survived and the plane was also returned to commercial flight.
5. Capt. Eric Moody
Number of Lives Saved: 248 passengers and 15 crew members
One can only imagine the feelings of passengers as Moody blatantly announced to his plane, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damndest to get them going again. I trust that you are not in too much distress.”
Flight 9 on British Airways on June 24, 1982 was making its way from London Heathrow to Auckland, when a cloud of volcanic ash from the nearby Mount Galunggung did a number on all four of the plane’s engines. At one point the only option seemed to be flying into the Indian Ocean. However, Moody came up with the idea of gliding the aircraft all the way to Jakarta, using the power of one restarting engine to reduce the rate of descent. This gave the plane enough time to clear the ash and to restart the engines.
4. Capt. Robert Piche
Number of Lives Saved: All 293 passengers and 13 crew members
Flight 236 of Air Transat was headed for Lisbon from Toronto. However, it completely lost power when flying over the Atlantic Ocean on August 24, 2001. The power loss was caused by a fuel leak, later said to be the fault of poor maintenance. Thankfully, Piche was an experienced glider pilot and used his smarts to land the plane in the Autonomous Region of the Azores, located in Portugal. The warning sign was of lower/higher than normal oil temperature and pressure. Piche wisely figured out these were false warnings of another problem and eventually figured out that there was a fuel emergency and arranged for a diversion landing at the Lajes Air Base.
What was amazing was that Piche was capable of landing the fuel-starved plane from 33,000 feet in the air. The engines flamed out and there was no electrical power. Even the emergency ram air turbine could not stop the aircraft from losing its main hydraulic power, threatening the flaps and brakes. Piche communicated with military air traffic controllers as the plane dropped at a rate of 2,000 feet a minute. If they did not time it right they would end up in the ocean. Piche oversaw a complex plan of 360-degree turns and curved turns to roughly land the plane at a speed of 200 knots. It bounced until it came to a full stop. The tires were deflated and most systems were down but everyone survived.
3. Capt. David Cronin
Number of Lives Saved: 337 survivors out of 346
United Airlines Flight 811 going from San Francisco to Sydney stopped in Honolulu, Hawaii and took off as usual on February 24, 1989. Suddenly, a cargo door failure occurred which caused decompression. The problem escalated and soon enough several rows of seats were blown out and the worst was feared. However, Captain David Cronin was on the job and the impossible happened: he landed the doomed plane.
Cronin maintained the plane and then extended the landing gear when finally reaching the airport. The flaps were damaged and only partly deployed. The landing speed came to approximately 200 knots. Still, Cronin halted the plane and managed to land on the runway back at the Honolulu airport. Within 45 seconds, all passengers and attendants exited. There were injuries and nine deaths, but Cronin’s plan managed to save 328 passengers along with 18 crew members. A major disaster, but one that could have been much worse without the experience factor of Cronin.
2. Unnamed Pilot aboard Flight 605
Number of Lives Saved: 374 passengers and 22 crew members
Flight CAL 605 involved the touchdown of a Boeing 747-400, which went 2,100 feet beyond the runway’s threshold at speeds exceeding 150 knots. The winds were certainly part of the problem, as Tropical Storm Ira was sending 20-knot crosswinds all over the runway. As the plane began touching down computer errors were reported, and eventually the brakes went out, leaving the plane to float.
The captain (whose name was not revealed) came up with the idea to turn the plane to the left to prevent it from falling off the end of the runaway. It slid into Victoria Harbor, sparing a collision. After emerging in shallow water, crew members helped passengers evacuate the plane. Out of 396 people, only 23 were injured. Everyone survived. While the pilot was criticized by some for his response to the storm, he and the crew did manage to prevent a collision and guided everyone out of harm’s way.
1. Capt. William Hagan
Number of Lives Saved: 379 out 389 total passengers and crew members
British Airways Flight 2069 was supposed to be heading from Gatwick, England to Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Kenya. However, this heroic story involves a lot more than just quick-thinking and emergency landing strategy. Captain Hagan and his crew were hijacked by a man named Paul Mukonyi on December 29, 2000. The hijacker stormed the cockpit and tried to execute a route change until Captain Hagan and First Officer Phil Watson began struggling with him.
The plane eventually stalled and then began descending. Captain Hagan spent much of his battle with the hijacker, while the first office Watson took over the flight, leveling the descending plane. They both received a Polaris Award, while the captain also took home a Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) People of the Year award. Sometimes it’s not just fancy flight work that saves the day—it’s courage and knowing a thing or two about wrasslin’.
14 Best Things to Do, Attractions, & Best Places to Live in Largo, Florida!
If you’re visiting Largo, we invite you to take a moment to enjoy the parks, cultural facilities and shops that call Largo home. Stop for dinner at one of the restaurants in our downtown corridor, browse the local antique shops, catch a show at the Central Park Performing Arts Center, stop by and visit the owls at McGough Nature Park or take a peaceful stroll through Largo Central Park.
The City hosts a wide variety of concerts, art shows and family events throughout the year right here in the heart of Pinellas County. And the beach is just minutes away. You’ll love it here.
Largo is a laid-back seaside city set on a peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico with a rich history rooted in citrus farming and an Old Florida feel. Located opposite Tampa in Pinella County, Largo is home to spectacular white sandy beaches, beautifully preserved historic structures dating back to the 19th century, inspiring botanical gardens, and world-class championship golf courses. Largo’s downtown development features great shops, quaint cafés, buzzing bars, and top restaurants, and a friendly, relaxed vibe.
1. Florida Botanical Gardens
The Florida Botanical Gardens is a 182-acre urban oasis with beautifully manicured gardens, interpretive nature trails, and a diverse variety of natural habitats. Located on Ulmerton Road, the sun-kissed acres arboretum features over 25 display gardens ranging from bromeliads and roses to herbs and hibiscus. The gardens are also home to over 150 species of birds and mammals, including gopher tortoises, bald eagles, and Sherman fox squirrels and offers a range of educational programs for children of all ages, nature walks, and special botanical garden-related events.
12520 Ulmerton Rd, Largo, FL 33774, Phone: 727-582-2100
2. Largo Central Park, Largo, Florida
Largo Central Park is a beautiful, 70-acre recreational area and urban park with a community center, several playgrounds for children, and a military court of honor. The park features grassy lawns, rolling gardens, water features and fountains, and a landmark clock tower, and eight picnic pavilions have tables and benches, and plenty of space for gatherings of all sizes. The Rainbow Rotary Playground is an accessible play area for disabled visitors, and the outdoor Fit Zone has a variety of workout stations for a great full-body workout.
101 Central Park Dr, Largo, FL 33771, Phone: 727-586-7415
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3. Heritage Village and Historic Museum, Largo, FL
© Heritage Village
Based in the Pinewood Cultural Park, the Heritage Village and Historic Museum is a living museum with indoor and outdoor exhibits that documents the history of Largo and the region. The museum features over 20 acres of land on which more than 30 historic structures are built, including several historic homes and schools, a railroad station, a church, and a greengrocer. Visitors can stroll through the historic village on a journey back in time, enjoy live re-enactments, and get a feel for life in the 19th century. The Pinellas County Historical Museum is home to a 3,500-volume library and a collection of artifacts and objects about the history of Pinellas County.
11909 125th St, Largo, FL 33774, Phone: 727-582-2123
4. George C. McGough Nature Park
The George C. McGough Nature Park, also known as ‘Turtle Park,’ for being home to a large population of turtles, is a beautiful urban oasis in the heart of Largo that offers a range of nature programs and outdoor activities. Set along the Intracoastal Waterway, the park has mangroves, shady oak hammocks, a butterfly garden, and picnic pavilions, and boardwalk with a turtle deck winds its way through the park for visitors to enjoy the scenery. Other facilities in the park include the Narrows Nature Center with several live animal exhibits, interpretive displays, and an array of hands-on activities for children, as well as a nature trail for hiking and mountain biking, birds of prey enclosures, a children’s playground, a canoe launch.
11901 146th St N, Largo, FL 33774, Phone: 727-518-3047
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5. Eagle Lake Park, Largo, Florida
© terry miaoulisEyeEm/stock.adobe.com
Eagle Lake Park is a 163-acre recreational area with beautiful landscapes of rolling grasslands, dense woodlands, tranquil lakes stocked with fish. The park offers a wealth of public facilities with a lemon-grove theme and recreational activities, including a paved 12-foot wide multi-use trail for walking and cycling and over 2,000 feet of boardwalks that wind through the park’s restored wetlands. Other facilities in the park include a dedicated dog park, a playground for children, six shady picnic shelters, modern restrooms, and three vending stations. The lake allows catch-and-release fishing from designated areas only.
1800 Keene Rd, Largo, FL 33771, Phone: 727-582-2100
6. Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, Largo, Florida
The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is a 45-mile multiuse rail trail used for walking, jogging, and cycling that stretches the length of Pinellas County from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg, passing through Largo. The paved trail follows the bed of the former Atlantic Coast Line, connecting communities through the county and offering green spaces for the public to enjoy outdoor recreational activities year-round.
Largo, FL 33771
7. Highland Family Aquatic Center, Largo, Florida
Located in the Highland Recreation Complex, the Highland Family Aquatic Center is a family-friendly recreation center and waterpark with a large multi-purpose swimming pool, a zero-depth section with play structures, and water sprays. The pool also has a double slide for visitors of all ages, a 214-foot corkscrew water slide, a three-story speed slide, and a variety of water toys. The center offers a range of activities, such as private and open swimming lessons, water aerobics, open swim sessions, sand and water volleyball, and special events throughout the year. Facilities at the park include sun loungers and umbrellas, hammocks, a snack bar, bathhouses, modern restrooms with a family changing area, and individual lockers.
400 Highland Ave, Largo, FL 33770, Phone: 727-518-3016
8. John R. Bonner Nature Park, Largo, Florida
© Kristina Blokhin/stock.adobe.com
John R. Bonner Nature Park is a small park on 143rd Street North overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway that has dense woodland of cool, shady hammock that attracts a diverse migratory population of songbirds. The park is a hotspot on the Great Florida Birding Trail due to its wealth of bird species such as hermit thrushes and hooded warblers and features a boardwalk with birding lookouts, shady picnic spots, a covered pavilion, several nature trails, and a playground for young children.
14444 143rd St N, Largo, FL 33774, Phone: 727-518-3047
9. Roosterfish Grill, Largo, Florida
© Roosterfish Grill
Located in the Teakwood Village, the Roosterfish Grill is a laid-back, waterfront restaurant with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating that has been serving a range of freshly prepared New American cuisine and fresh seafood for over 60 years. The restaurant specializes in fresh seafood, including locally caught fish, shellfish, and fresh oysters, along with grilled steaks and baby back ribs, burgers, handmade pasta dishes, fresh salads, and vegetarian options. The bar offers a range of libations from craft brews, casual wines, and a selection of sodas. The Roosterfish Grill is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
776 Missouri Ave N, Largo, FL 33770, Phone: 727-584-5888
10. Savory Restaurant, Largo, Florida
Savory Restaurant is a family-owned and operated restaurant that serves traditional homestyle Italian, Greek, and American food in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. Located on the Walsingham Commons, the restaurant is owned by the Lagoudakis family who has been serving delicious home-cooked food for over 45 years. Savory Restaurant was opened in 2006 and offers diners an innovative menu of freshly prepared from-scratch fare, exceptional service, and a warm and homey vibe. Signature dishes range from succulent steaks and grilled chops to handmade pasta and pizza and fresh salads, and the food is accompanied by a selection of casual wines, craft beers, and non-alcoholic beverages. Savory Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
12881 Walsingham Rd, Largo, FL 33774, Phone: 727-593-2030
11. Speggtacular, Largo, Florida
Speggtacular is a long-standing, family-owned and operated restaurant that is renowned for its hearty American breakfasts and brunches and stacks of mouth-watering pancakes, waffles, and crêpes. The relaxed diner specializes in egg dishes with a menu featuring scrambles, omelets, benedicts, corned beef hash and eggs, and steak and eggs. Lunch dishes range from gourmet and club sandwiches, fresh salads, burgers and wraps, tacos, fish and chips, and quesadillas. Speggtacular is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
7924 Ulmerton Rd, Largo, FL 33771, Phone: 727-270-7599
12. John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk
© John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk
John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk is a turn-of-the-century, quaint fishing village turned popular tourist attraction in Pinellas County. Situated along the waterfront of Johns Pass, more than 100 merchants are located in the Village, including an array of restaurants, unique retail shops, jet skiing, parasailing, boat rentals, shelling and dolphin watching tours, and a local fishing fleet. John’s Pass Village is considered to be an “outdoor shopping paradise” near Largo, Florida, featuring more than fifty shops. The beach is also just a short walk away from the boardwalk and there is plentiful parking available at John’s Pass Village. More day trips from Fort Lauderdale
12902 Village Blvd, Madeira Beach, FL 33708
13. Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Sky Zone Trampoline Park boasts the title of the first indoor trampoline park in the world and consider themselves to be the “inventors of fun fitness,” combining great workouts with “awesome and healthy fun.” The Ninja Warrior Course challenges guests to test their agility, strength, and speed against family and friends, while Ultimate Dodgeball brings a trampoline element to the classic game. The Freestyle Jump area of Sky Zone offers wall-to-wall trampoline fun for all ages, the Foam Zone allows guests to get huge air without fear with soft foam landings, and Skyslam puts a spin on basketball.
13000 66th St N, Largo, FL 33773, 727-900-5867
14. Escape FLA Escape Room
© Escape FLA Escape Room
The family-owned and operated Escape FLA Escape Room in Largo, Florida offers an immersive and fully interactive escape room experience for group gaming near St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Clearwater. Guests enter a room at Escape FLA and must work together using teamwork, resourcefulness, creativing, problem solving, and logic to find a way out in sixty minutes or less. The escape room features mysteries, gadgets, mind tricks, riddles, and more designed to impede the progress of players. Escape FLA is great for friends or family having a night out, team building events, birthday celebrations, or just wanting a distraction from daily life.
2480 E Bay Dr, Largo, FL 33771, 727-648-4625
Megawatt Star Rihanna Is Selling One of Her Glittering Beverly Hills Homes for $10.5M
According to Mansion Global, megastar Rihanna, whose given name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, is looking to offload one of her Beverly Hills, CA, homes for $10,495,000.
It seems the singer and beauty entrepreneur barely had time to unpack her makeup kit in this lovely home, which she added to her real estate portfolio in 2021 for $10 million.
She still retains ownership of a nearby mansion that she snapped up in 2020 for $13.7 million.
Here’s more on the four-bedroom, five-bath mansion she’s letting go.
Sitting behind gates on one of the most coveted streets in Beverly Hills, Rihanna’s pretty property is everything a Cali home should be. The 5,100-square-foot abode has solid bones (built in 1939), an attractive color palette, and a traditional interior design that should appeal to many.
There are weathered wood floors, cozy fireplaces in the living room, and vaulted ceilings. The steel-blue kitchen island offers seating for three, and there’s a sunny breakfast nook, too. The main bedroom has a mini living space plus windowed seats for curling up with a good book.
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Outside, stately trees, lush lawns, and a vegetable garden await, along with a pool and patio spaces. There’s even a half-basketball court for pickup games.
Rihanna’s talent knows few bounds as she’s branched out widely from her early days as a pop artist. The billionaire Barbadian is the founder of the makeup brand Fenty Beauty, and she’s the force behind the fashion house with the same name, which is under the luxury conglomerate LVMH.