Here’s a story of remarkably skilled piloting. On Sept. 29, 1940, two Avro Anson training aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force took off from a base near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. During their flight, they collided. But rather than crashing or even just bouncing off each other, the two planes got stuck together.
Leading Aircraftman Leonard Fuller remained in the top plane while the three other crewmen from his plane and the one below him bailed out. LAC Fuller didn’t want his country to lose the expensive aircraft, so he decided to land them.
It was even crazier than it sounds. Fuller’s aircraft had lost its engine, but he did have control over its ailerons and flaps. The aircraft below him still had its engine, which had been conveniently left running. The Futility Closet describes this amazing stunt:
After the crew of the lower plane had bailed out, along with his own navigator, Fuller flew an additional five miles and made an emergency landing in a paddock, where he slid 200 yards to a safe stop. “I did everything we’ve been told to do in a forced landing,” he told air accident inspector Arthur Murphy. “Land as close as possible to habitation or a farmhouse and, if possible, land into the wind. I did all that. There’s the farmhouse, and I did a couple of circuits and landed into the wind. She was pretty heavy on the controls, though.”
Fuller thus saving his country £40,000 worth of equipment. His own plane was repaired and returned to service.