Pilots reveal the 7 most bizarre things they've ever seen while flying

Louis Dor
Thursday 05 May 2016 16:00
Picture: iStock/Avid Creative, Inc.

This week, pilots were asked by Reddit to recount the weirdest things they'd seen from the cockpit.

It's almost impossible to verify whether these stories are true, having come from a variety of reddit accounts who all claim to be pilots, but we can only hope, as some of these stories are absolutely extraordinary...

1. The International Space Station

A tale as told by u/Tugboatdriver:

We were cruising along at altitude, 43,000 feet, and the sun was setting behind us. All of the sudden we see this bright glowing dot come up on the horizon directly in front of us, and starts moving incredibly fast.

We call center asking if they had any traffic for us, because it seriously looked like a collision course. They said there's no traffic in front of us, so we explain this bright light that's racing towards us, and a plane behind us confirms that they see it too. So the center says 'hang on a second'.

A couple of minutes later it comes back with 'what you're seeing is the space station'.

Picture: NASA via Getty Images

2. The scene from "Fenton!"

u/lendergle tells of when he was approaching a small airstrip in Pennsylvania, when he phoned the fixed-base operator (or office) for a report on the situation on the ground.

The ground staff replied with the conditions and the following information:

Watch out for a black dog on the runway. He's just chasing a herd of deer.

A few minutes later, when approaching the airstrip u/lendergle saw:

A small black dot running around chasing a bunch of larger brown dots. I entered the pattern and then turned onto final approach ready to go-around if there were any animal obstacles. The deer were gone, and the dog was sitting on the "numbers" at the end of the runway.

Good dog.

3. A US navy submarine

We're pretty jealous of this lifestyle if we're honest - u/vivaplextaneous flew a glider in Hawaii over a mountain ridge.

Beyond the ridge there was a cove, which harboured a simply massive object in the water.

I thought it was a whale at first. Then realized it was much much bigger than a whale. It was a US Navy submarine.

It is the most gigantic vehicle I have ever seen in my life, it actually kind of humbled me to see it. It's hard to really imagine how monstrous they are until you get an overhead view.

Given that the US Navy has the second strongest air force in the world, after the US Air Force, it was probably quite a bold move to fly over it.

4. A combine harvester running over a car

Yes, you read that correctly.

According to u/xAlecto, as he flew in a glider over a small village and noticed a combine harvester chewing up a car, "with several people running around in panic patterns."

"Definitely funny."

We'll agree.

5. A bird

At "well over 10,000ft", a pigeon is a pretty amazing thing to spot, as u/rocky7786 did.

6. A pink lake

When flying from Melbourne to Perth u/aleks93 spotted a pink lake.

The lake is pink at certain times because of the green algae Dunaliella salina, halobacterium Halobacteria cutirubrum, and possibly due to a high concentration of brine prawn.

When the water becomes more salty than seawater, and temperature and light conditions are right, the algae accumulates the beta carotene pigment, resulting in the pinkish hue.


We'd be pretty amazed too.

7. No idea.

The last of our tales is a little hard to explain and is a little worrying.

u/quantum_man says he was flying over Colorado through a particularly cloudy patch.

Suddenly, these strange lights start flashing and changing the colors of the clouds. I hear the roar of an engine but ACAS confirmed that I was the only flying aircraft in that space of air. This was around 6pm and till this day I have no idea what caused it.

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