Flight 705 : From Memphis to the FedEx HQ

I was watching Discovery TV last night. They had this wild piece about an aborted aircraft hijacking from 1994. Here are the details, according to Wikipedia:

FedEx Flight 705 was the scene of an attempted hijacking of a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 on April 7, 1994. Auburn Calloway, a FedEx employee, was due to be fired for lying on his résumé about his previous flying experience with the United States Navy. He boarded the San José, California-bound aircraft, which was loaded with electronic equipment bound for Silicon Valley, intending to murder the flight crew with hammers, and then use the aircraft for a kamikaze attack on FedEx Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. His reason for using hammers was so that the injuries inflicted would resemble those occurring in a plane crash — Calloway wanted to disguise the attack as an accident so that his family would benefit from his work's $2.5 million life insurance policy. As a last resort, he was also armed with a speargun, smuggled on board in a guitar case. Calloway attempted to disable the Cockpit Data Recorder to cover his tracks. Unbeknownst to Calloway, the 2 man flight crew that was supposed to fly that flight was replaced by a new 3 man crew, consisting of Pilot Dave Sanders, Co-Pilot James Tucker, and Flight Engineer Andy Peterson. Calloway, a former Navy pilot and a martial arts expert, decided to attack just minutes after take-off. He brutally wounded the flight crew with hammers, and fractured the skull of Co-Pilot James Tucker. A lengthy struggle ensued with the flight engineer and pilot. Co-Pilot James Tucker, also an ex-Navy pilot, managed to control the plane as the 3 men struggled in the cockpit.

By means of extreme aerial maneuvers the flight crew eventually succeeded in restraining Calloway, though all three crew members were critically injured and none would ever fly commercially again. Loaded with fuel and too heavy to land, Pilot Dave Sanders landed the jet safely at Memphis International Airport despite the dire circumstances. As the police gained access to the plane, by escape slide and ladder, the cockpit interior was covered with blood.

Auburn Calloway plead temporary insanity but was sentenced to life without parole on August 15, 1995 for attempted murder and attempted air piracy, which he is serving at the United States Penitentiary, Atwater federal prison in Atwater, California.

As of 2006, N306FE, the DC-10-30 involved, is still flying for FedEx.[1]

On May 26, 1994, the Airline Pilots Association awarded Pilot Dave Sanders, Co-Pilot James Tucker, and Flight Engineer Andy Peterson the Gold Medal award for heroism, the highest award a civilian pilot can receive. Because of their injuries, none of the crew has been certified as medically fit to fly commercially.

This incident was also featured on television, in National Geographic's Air Crash Investigation — Suicide Attack [2].


Tim said…
I remember coming across a recording of the Air Traffic Control conversation with that flight, but I can't seem to find it now. The pilots sounded surprisingly calm, but asked for security.

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