10 Aircraft That Mysteriously Disappeared in Flight

It’s been a year since the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 (MH 370) has mysteriously disappeared while in flight, and the search continues as of today. Many questions are still left unanswered, and all we can do is wait for something to turn up to find the answers.

In line with this, we have compiled a list of 10 aircraft that have disappeared in flight for unknown reasons. Some of these were recovered though not in whole, while some are still not determined where they are or what really happened to them.


10. NR 16020 (1937)

10 Mysterious Aircraft Disappearance (1)(Photo from: pbs.org)

Known as Amelia Earhart’s plane, it is said to be one of the most popular and biggest search in aviation history. On board a Lockheed Electra 10E, Earhart was attempting to do a round-the-world flight when it disappeared. A piece of wreckage that belong to this plane was confirmed to have been found in 1991. According to reports, the plane might have had suffered fuel starvation. With Earhart on the plane when it disappeared was Fred Noonan, an American flight navigator and aviation pioneer.


9. Flight 19 (1945)

A military training flight consisting of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, the disappearance of this fleet made the Bermuda Triangle notoriously popular.  With the disappearance of all five aircraft and 14 airmen without a traced stirred the myth of the Bermuda Triangle. No wreckage was ever found but experts presume that the incident was caused by fuel starvation after navigational error.


8. Star Tiger, G-AHNP (1948)

10 Mysterious Aircraft Disappearance (3)(Avro Tudor Super Trader, aircraft similar to the one that disappeared. Photo from: wikipedia.com)

Adding fuel to the flame that is the myth of the Bermuda Triangle, the Star Tiger is a passenger aircraft owned and operated by the British South American Airways (BSAA) that disappeared without a trace over the Atlantic Ocean. The disappearance of this aircraft, along with another BSAA Avro Tudor called Star Ariel, remains unsolved at present. 

7. NC16002 (1948)

A Douglas DST airliner, this aircraft disappeared toward the end of its flight on the night of December 8, 1948 somewhere off the east coast of Florida. This passenger flight carried 29 passengers and 3 crew members. Up to this day, the cause of its disappearance is still not determined

6. SN: 52-534 (1956)

10 Mysterious Aircraft Disappearance (5)(A B-47E Stratojet similar to the missing aircraft. Photo from: wikipedia.com)

A Boeing Stratojet that was on a military mission disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea in March 10, 1956. The aircraft was unarmed, but it was carrying two capsules of nuclear weapon material in carrying cases, which has made nuclear detonation not possible. Despite thorough search, the aircraft or any debris from it was not found. The crash site was never located.

5. CS-THB (1958)

A PBM-5 passenger aircraft Portuguese topography company Aero-Topográfica went missing without a trace during its flight from Lisbon, Portugal to Funchal, Madeira. The last radio transmission from the aircraft was, “I am forced to land immediately.” The aircraft or its passengers were still not found.


4. Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 (1962)

10 Mysterious Aircraft Disappearance (7)(A Lockheed Constellation aircraft similar to the one missing. Photo from: wikipedia.com)

This aircraft was transporting 93 US and 3 South Vietnamese soldiers from California to Saigon. After refueling in Guam, it was en route to Clark Air Base in the Philippines when it went missing. All 107 passengers went missing. Until today, it is the worst aviation accident involving a Lockheed Constellation series. Many presume that it exploded mid-air after a crew of a Liberian tanker claimed seeing a flash in the sky like a fireball when Flight 739 went missing.


3. Pakistan International Airlines Flight 404 (1989)

A Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft that went missing after takeoff in August 25, 1989. It was a domestic flight from Gilgit to Islamad in Pakistan. According to reports, one of the pilots made a routine radio call, which was the last communication with the aircraft. It is believed to have crashed in the Himalayas but no debris or wreckage have been found to date.


2. N844AA (2003)

In May 25, 2003, a Boeing 747-223 registered as N844AA was stolen at Quatro de Fevereiro Airport in Luanda, Angola. A flight engineer named Ben Charles Padilla was said to have boarded the plane allegedly with another man who is a hired mechanic from the Republic of Congo. The incident began when the said aircraft began taxiing without communication to the control tower. It entered the runway without clearance and took off heading southwest over the Atlantic Ocean. The tracking transponder on the plane was turned off. After its takeoff, neither of the plane nor the two men were found. This incident initiated a worldwide search by the FBI and CIA.


1. MH370 (2014)

10 Mysterious Aircraft Disappearance (10)(Photo from: ibtimes.com)

A year ago on this day, MH370 disappeared without a trace on its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Search and rescue efforts were prompted immediately in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand. Extended search efforts still yielded nothing until today. It was known as the deadliest aviation incident in the history of the Malaysian Airlines with 239 presumed fatalities until the incident of MH17 over the Ukraine-Russia border that had 298 fatalities. 


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