The Plane That Flew Itself

Many pilots say that the DC-3 had a knack for anticipating pilot errors and compensating for those mistakes. In fact, some insist it could fly itself. In 1957, a U.S. Air Force DC-3 ran out of gas over Missouri. Everyone bailed out and made it to the ground safely. The DC-3 glided over the horizon and made a perfect, unassisted landing in a cornfield. Then, in 1959, pilot John Stevens was flying a planeload of monkeys from Pakistan to Morocco in a DC-3. He ran into a storm and several crates broke loose, giving the monkeys the run of the airplane. The pilot, concentrating on his flying, didn't notice the carnival going on behind him. When the monkeys invaded the cockpit, it was too late for him to do anything. Buttons, switches, and levers were all fair game for the playful primates. Stevens never admitted that the monkeys helped land the plane, but he said he'd rather fly through a monsoon than with a cockpit full of monkeys again.