Admit it: At one time or another, you've thought, Man, being an airline pilot seems like a pretty easy job. And even they'll tell you that airliners pretty much fly themselves. For most of the trip, the pilot is there to make sure nothing goes wrong.
But sometimes, things do go wrong. Way wrong. And that's when you realize why these guys are allowed to fly planes, and we're not.
British Airways Flight 5390
In 1990, British Airways Flight 5390 had just taken off from London on its way to Spain. However, right as the flight attendants were about to wheel out the food cart, the windshield of the plane suddenly exploded. If you're wondering what happens to the pilot in that situation, here's a reconstruction:
It is incredibly difficult to fly a plane from this position.
That's pilot Tim Lancaster being sucked out of the plane -- the only thing keeping him from flying off into the distance and plummeting to his death was a flight attendant, who ran in and grabbed Lancaster by the belt.
This, by the way, is precisely the reason why planes have co-pilots. And here's where one Mr. Alastair Atchison stepped up to the goddamned plate.
It wasn't going to be easy. Aside from the flight attendant next to him clutching the pilot's legs with all of his strength, the sudden decompression also pulled the cockpit door into the cockpit, which blocked access to the throttle. When Atchison tried to get on the radio to declare an emergency, he couldn't hear the response due to all the chaos erupting around him.
"Will you lot stop bloody screaming! It's highly unprofessional."
It took several minutes to get emergency landing permission from an airport in Southampton, all the while with the pilot still outside the windshield from the knees up, being crushed against the plane at 500 miles per hour, suffering from frostbite and about to lose consciousness due to the thin air.