Photo Of The Day

Pletch’s stolen aircraft is towed away after landing south of Bloomington.

Pletch’s stolen aircraft is towed away after landing south of Bloomington.

America’s First Highjacking

Earnest Pletch was mad on planes and mad on flying. In itself, that was scarcely uncommon in the America of the 1930s, a dozen years after Charles Lindbergh’s solo crossing of the Atlantic turned the United States into the epicentre of everything exciting in the aviation world. Yet Pletch was a pretty unusual case. He came from a well-off family, but had dropped out of school to find work in a travelling show. He was a serial husband and adulterer who was already, at the age of 29, planning to abandon his third wife. And he had actually been taking flying lessons.

Now – late on the afternoon of 27 October 1939 – Pletch was looking forward to going solo. He was not going to take the controls in the usual way, however. He was going to do so after shooting his pilot in the back of the head.

He may be long forgotten now, but Pletch came briefly to America’s attention that autumn after booking tuition in Missouri with a pilot by the name of Carl Bivens. Midway through the third of these sessions, while airborne at 5,000 feet and sitting in the rear seat of a tandem training plane equipped with dual controls, he pulled a revolver from a trouser pocket and, without giving any warning, sent two .32 calibre bullets through Bivens’s skull. Pletch then managed to land the plane, dumped the instructor’s body in a thicket, and took off again, heading north to his home state to… well, what he intended to do was never really clear.

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Photo of the Day

It started innocently enough: a one-off Facebook post about a pile of ship. Then, Huckberry reader Andy Mowrey noted that the ship carrying all of those ships was recently carried by another ship. Pandora’s Box (aka The Google) was opened, revealing a whole host of incestuous relationships between planes, trains, and automobiles. Herewith, a post cataloguing a few of our favorite finds.



Lucky to be alive:

This is unprecedented footage of a small airplane crash from inside the cockpit from two different views. Miraculously, everyone survived. The pilot will make a full recovery and the rest of us escaped with superficial injuries and feel very lucky to be alive . This trip was much anticipated and due to our excitement we had our Gopro cameras filming at various times. After flying up into the mountains for a morning hike in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness we were planning on flying to a small mountain town for dinner. Due to warming temperatures there was an increase in density altitude and we had a hard time getting adequate lift. After taking off we hit an air pocket that made us rapidly loose altitude, pushing us down into the trees.