And I'd always thought it was a spoof of the Airport movies. Of course, the writers did have warped minds, and saw this classic movie, replete with so many unfunny-yet- ripe-for-the-funny lines, as a perfect structure for the brilliant comedy it ultimately became.
If you've ever wondered where Jim Abrahams and David Zucker came up with those hilarious jokes in Airplane!, the answer isn't strictly their warped minds. Many of the scenes set up for the gags were directly cribbed from 1957's Zero Hour! It's a movie about an ex fighter pilot named Stryker, who... well, see for yourself.