Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is one of the most famous missing aircraft cases in recent history. However, other planes had mysteriously disappeared long before this infamous flight went wrong. Here are ten lesser-known plane crashes throughout history that are still missing.
Related: The 10 scariest facts about airplanes
10 Campbell’s Airship
One of the oldest plane crashes dates back to the early days of flight, long before actual airplanes were invented. This particular plane, called the Campbell Airship, was actually an airship and was built by a man named Peter Campbell in the 1880s.
Unfortunately, as with many early flight attempts, this particular aircraft was not a success. On July 16, 1889, a professor named Edward D. Hogan piloted the aircraft on a demonstration flight from New York City.
But that was the last seen of him. After leaving New York, the aircraft was last seen heading for the North Atlantic. Although the wreckage was never found, it is believed to have crashed near Atlantic City in New Jersey around 5:30 p.m. due to mechanical failure.
With such a large aircraft, you’d think it would be easy to find. However, the pilot and the wreckage of the aircraft disappeared and were never seen again.
9 Cecil Grace’s plane
Just seven years after the Wright brothers successfully built an airplane and flew it in 1903, a man named Cecil Grace, one of the first aviators, decided to enter the Baron de Forest competition. This contest promised to give £2,000 to whoever could make the longest flight from England to the rest of continental Europe. Several airmen had already tried to win the award without success, but Cecil Grace decided to throw his hat into the ring.
He took off from England on December 22, 1910, but quickly realized that the strong wind was going to be a problem. Not wanting to get into trouble, Cecil Grace landed her flight on the coast of France, had lunch, and prepared to return to England.
However, after checking that he had left for the 40-minute journey back to England, no one heard a word from him. At first, there were hopeful reports that the pilot had landed somewhere, but on March 14, 1911, his cap and glasses were washed up near Ostend, Belgium.
Little is known about what happened to the pilot, although his body was reportedly found later. As for the plane itself, we may never know where it resides.
8 Albert Jewell’s plane
Albert Jewell was born in 1886 in the United States and was an aviator in the early 20th century. Jewell earned a pilot’s license from the Aero Club of America in 1913. This was just six months before he made his last fated flight.
In 1913, the New York Times organized an event called the American Aerial Derby, which was an airplane race held to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Orville Wright’s first flight. The race would cover a 60-mile (96 km) loop beginning and ending on Staten Island.
As a young aviator, the idea of this competition was very appealing to Albert, and he signed up to fly. He entered the competition flying a Moisant-Blériot monoplane and took off from Stanton Island with high hopes.
However, it appears that his plane flew into the sea during the flight. The last person to see it was the captain of a fishing boat, who saw it flying somewhere on the southern part of Long Island. This was the last time anyone saw the poor pilot, and neither Albert nor the wreckage of his plane was ever recovered.
7 Amelia Earheart’s Lockheed Electra 10E
In 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, set out from Oakland, California, in a Lockheed Electra 10E. They had the goal of flying around the world on a groundbreaking journey.
The first part of the flight went well, and the pair landed in New Guinea less than a month later. They had already flown 22,000 miles and only needed to fly another 7,000 to return to Oakland.
Unfortunately, getting home didn’t seem to be on the table for Earhart and her co-driver. The two took off from Lae and headed for a small island in the Pacific Ocean, where they planned to refuel before returning to the US. However, they never made it. The couple disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, and after an extensive search by air and sea, they were finally pronounced dead on January 5, 1939.
Although no one knows what happened to these young airmen, the current theory is that they ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean. Other theories have emerged, including one that says the plane crashed near Nikumaroro Island and Earhart was stranded on the island. In 2022, researchers hoped to confirm that a piece of metal from the wreckage found in 1991 was, in fact, part of his plane through advanced imaging technology.
However, regardless of what happened, the crash of his plane was never definitively found, and the disappearance remains a mystery to this day.
6 flight 19
Flight 19 was a group of torpedo boats that departed on a United States Navy training flight on December 5, 1945. There were a total of 14 airmen who participated in the flight, and for whatever reason, all members of the crew lost contact with their base while flying over the Bermuda Triangle.
After realizing their airmen were missing, the US Navy launched a rescue mission and sent a Mariner seaplane to search for them. This, however, also disappeared and was never heard from again.
Although the wreckage and crew were never found, there have been a few false alarms. From 1986 to 2015, several wrecked aircraft were found, but all of them were attributed to different accidents. Perhaps more research will help uncover the remains of the missing wreckage some day in the future.
The Patrie was a French airship that resembled a dirigible. He was built to be a military airship for the French Army. Although the airship enjoyed several flights, in 1907, the plane suffered a disaster.
The dirigible, which was moored in Souhesmes, France, broke loose from its moorings during a storm in November 1907. Hundreds of soldiers rushed to hold the ship, but their efforts were in vain: the ship floated away out of sight. .
However, that was not the last time the ship was seen. Sightings were reported over the next few days in the English Channel and lastly in Belfast. Eventually, however, she drifted away over the Atlantic Ocean, where she was never seen again.
Despite search efforts made to recover the aircraft, the aircraft was permanently lost after its final sighting. Even today, the ship has not been recovered and it is assumed that she was lost somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
4 Canadian Pacific Air Lines Douglas DC-4
The Vancouver Douglas DC-4 was an aircraft operated by Canadian Pacific Air Lines. On July 21, 1951, the aircraft took off from Vancouver International Airport on Flight 3505 with an initial layover at Anchorage Airport.
Everything seemed fine and the flight was scheduled for the first part of the trip. However, as the plane neared Alaska, heavy rain and ice began to accumulate. Still, the plane did not issue distress signals and everything seemed fine.
However, when the plane had still not touched down in Alaska two hours after its arrival, the US and Canadian Air Forces began a search. However, the search was unsuccessful and ultimately had to be called off. Neither the passengers nor the plane have ever been found, and experts believe the wreckage was destroyed in the crash.
3 Gustav Hamel shipwreck
Gustav Hamel was a British aviator who flew airplanes during the early days of flight. However, it seems that his passion got him into much more trouble than he expected.
On May 23, 1914, the young aviator was flying over the English Channel in a Morane-Saulnier monoplane. The plane was a new addition to the pilot’s collection and he planned to use it to compete in the Air Derby later that day.
Tragically, Gustav would never make it to the derby. He was seen flying over Calais, France on what was supposed to be a twenty five minute flight. However, strong winds picked up and blew Gustav off course.
When the young pilot did not turn up in England at the expected time, a search party was lost. However, after just 48 hours of searching, the pilot was pronounced dead. Although a body believed to be that of the pilot later turned up, the wreckage of the plane was never found.
2 Disappearance of Trans Tasman Flight
There have been many plane disappearances due to pilots trying to push limits, break records or win competitions. One of those fateful flights is that of Lieutenant John Moncrieff and Captain George Hood.
The two aviators were determined to make the first flight across Tasmania from Australia to land in New Zealand, and in 1928 they set out to do so. On January 10 of that year, the two airmen left Sydney at around two in the morning.
Over the next 12 hours, the two men sent out radio signals from their plane. However, despite the enthusiastic fans waiting for them in New Zealand, the plane never landed. Eventually, a search party was launched to search for the missing airmen. However, their efforts were unsuccessful and neither the airmen nor their plane have been located.
1 Dragonfly ZK-AFB demise
On February 12, 1962, a pilot named Brian Chadwick and a group of four Australian passengers took off from Christchurch, New Zealand, for Milford Sound.
Even though the weather looked a bit choppy, the pilot decided that he could get to the sound without any problem. However, it seems he couldn’t have been more wrong.
The plane, which was scheduled to arrive shortly after 12:30 p.m. in Milford Sound, never turned up and was reported missing by airport control at Milford Sound. What followed was the largest air search in New Zealand history, involving 34 aircraft flying for over 400 hours in total.
However, despite this massive search, the plane was never found. Today, there are still some eccentrics who have continued the search for the missing plane, although neither it nor much evidence has ever been found.
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