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I found this to be completely gripping. How did I never hear this story before?

This is the computer-generated re-creation of April 4, 1994 Federal Express Flight. Three of the four on board were ex-Navy pilots.

A McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 cargo jet was scheduled to carry electronics from Memphis, Tennessee to San Jose, California but an attempted hijacking changed this plan.

An off-duty flight engineer onboard was recently divorced and struggling to make his alimony payments. He was hoping to cause the plane to crash, that would result in a $2.5M “job-related death” insurance payout to his ex-wife and children.

The incredible aeorobatics performed by the two co-pilots, taking separate turns at fighting the hijacker, both while suffering grievous injuries, having had their skulls shattered by hammer blows to the head is nothing short of astonishing. The plane was cast into several aggressive rolls by a pilots, in attempts to help their partner fight off the assailant.

Those in the melee were forced into the back galley by an initial a steep climb. Then, a series of steep banks and rolls threw the fighting men onto the ceiling of the cabin.

You have to watch, to see how it ended.

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Alexandra Bruce

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  • Janet Butler, I grew up in Memphis, but in 94 I was a sophmore in high school so I didn’t pay attention to the news very much. My godmother also worked for FedEx at the time and she is my mother’s best friend and I never heard of the story from her. Plus I also worked at FedEx myself from 03 – 13 and I have never even heard of this story until today. So it is possible to live some place and not know everything major that goes on.

  • I lived in Memphis when this happened too. My neighbor at the time was a FedEx pilot and on the labor board of the pilot’s union. He mentioned that had the original crew not been replaced, the original crew would have been a older man, near retirement age, and a small framed woman. They would have been easily overtaken by Calloway. I have a MP3 of the Jim Tucker interview with Tim and Bad Dog from Rock 103. If you want a copy, send me an email.

  • Wow i worked on fedex ramp for 10 years the old timers told me this story but they left out the parts of the pilots fighting so damn bravely and doing the roll on that plane. I am speechless i tip my hat to those guys I actualy loaded that plane many times too and had no idea it was that plane

  • As a 26 year employee of FedEx, this was one day I will never forget. Those men will always be heroes in my book. They saved so many lives that day not to mention the livihood of the folks that worked in Memphis if he had succeeded in his plan to crash into the FedEx Hub.

  • My office was at the Sprankel Building where the Flight Department, Jump Seats, Flight Control, Crew Scheduling, and Meteorology were housed. I was in the building, which was adjacent to the HUB, on that day. This DID NOT happen after 911, since 911 happened when I had retired and lived in Miami. It happened in or about 1994. I am not sure if pilots had already voted FOR a union to represent them. I think they had. This should not be turned into a political argument against guns. Guns are guaranteed by our Constitution’s 2nd Amendment and that should remain so. Federal Express was a great company to work in, except for, as in any corporation, the few bungling yuppies who believed they were gods from Mt. Olympus. Callaway must have been unbalanced to have gone wacko like that. Glad he is still locked up. I wonder though if in his mind there might not have been some Jihad fanaticism even then. There had already been an attempted bombing on the Twin Towers by a wacko terrorist. Interesting the derangement that can occur in people who should be mental health patients. The three heroes and pilots were to be commended and forever remembered with awe and deep thanks.

  • Facts: it was not kept secret by FedEx; it was all over the news in 1994.; the result of the trial a few years later was in the news; suspected target was FedEx centralized IT operations in the airport area; FedEx was named Federal Express at that time; FedEx has more than one union today in 2016

  • This is the VERY REASON SECURE COCKPIT DOORS should have become the industry
    standard… exceptions! This was what……7 years before 9-11?? Calloway was going to use Flight 705 as a missle on the hub in memphis in much the same way as the 9-11 hijackers used their hijacked aircrafts. I really can’t understand why this never happened…….especially afterwards when his intent came to light. This was a larger aircraft than any of the 9-11 aircraft hijacked(DC10-30 vs boeing 767/757). This size
    aircraft going memphis to say SanFran might be carrying a fuel uplift upwards of 89,300 for example and would be catastrophic going into the hub essentially fully loaded and fueled. Why secured cockpit doors and more security aimed at keeping
    everyone except pilots out of the cockpit were not immediately put in place…..i’ll never know. This was classic “writing on the wall” that i wish to God had been acted upon. We waited until thousands died to do what should’ve been done many years before.

  • I still have hard copy book that makes great reading. Even more so to fact I was Senior Ramp Mgr at STN. I USED JUMPSEAT OPTION TO TRAVEL THE WORLD FOR FREE. Glad I was not on that trip!! I remember that weirdo Callow transiting STN on one occasion.

  • I remember this as well. I was working in the FedEx European Headquarters in Belgium at that time. That news about this incident reached us as well.

  • Andy Peterson, my childhood friend, was the navigator on this flight. This incident happened prior to 9/11. Peterson was never able to fly again due to the injuries sustained in this incident. Peterson knew at an early age that he wanted to fly and it was very sad his career ended by this incident. Fed Ex has been good to Peterson after this incident.

  • I remember this well. Calloway had been a patient of a doctor I worked for and we were shocked when we heard what he had done. And the year 1994 was about when I remember it happening.

  • I lived in Memphis when this occurred. I attended church with one of the pilots. He suffered severe blows to the head and survived but his recovery was long, he never flew again, and had residual brain damage as a result. This was well before 9/11. It was around 1993-1994. So sad.

  • I worked FedEx corporate security in EWR. This was in 1994. There was no cover up. People could still jump seat but with tighter security aand pilots discretion. I salute these 3 pilots! Amazing skills!

  • I remember this event well as a college student working in the FedEx Memphis Hub on that day. All Managers huddled their teams together when the news broke on local and national media. We were told what happened and felt a sense of terror as many speculated the hijacker planned to crash it into the Hub Sorting Facility which would have killed thousands of us workers and done untold financial damage to FedEx.

  • All of these people that don’t remember this must not have lived in Memphis on that date, because it was all over the news as it was happening. I had many friends who were pilots for FedEx and I remember one mom at school who immediately called her husband, who was a FedEx pilot to be sure he wasn’t on that flight! And they did stop letting employees jumpseat because my sisters both worked there at the time and could no longer jumpseat. It was an amazing survival story and these pilots were truly heroes. And it was not kept quiet; it was all over the news.

  • Some of the comments above are inaccurate, My husband was hired by FedEx in 1995, just a few months after this terrible incident. We heard about it a lot in Memphis and it did not happen post 9/11. Even after this, employees were allowed to “jumpseat” on cargo aircraft but with much tighter screening and the pilots were given sole discretion on boarding. There were employees who were turned away at times on he tarmac, My husband was able to do this past 2000 when the IT division was spun off and was no longer considered part of the airline. Most in the company believe that the perpetrator intended on crashing the plane into a FedEx facility due to his grievances with the merger that brought him into the company. So, the men are considered heroes for saving many lives on the ground.

    As for the 3 heroes – one later founded the FedEx Pilots Association (still the only union in the company) and at least one was given a guaranteed income and went into retirement. I am pretty sure that the third went back to flying. I assure you that they were well taken care of.

  • First of all, the victims were indeed brave, in a fight for their lives, but I imagine anyone in their position would do the same thing. I wish they showed us their pictures… This poor Calloway soul, in a sense, was trying to do something good for his family by doing something bad. This NEVER works. Like terrorists killing innocent souls, the reason we despise these people is because they never go after the guilty people, they go for the easy target. Calloway should have thought it through and rented a small plane then flown it into an open space without killing anyone other than himself, but really, he should have gotten mental health help. Like these confused anti-gun agenda folks, it is the mentally unstable that kill people – guns are only a tool, and in the right hands, can help defend against the mental cases. Also, we MUST protect ourselves, our families, and our countrymen against those forces of evil – the corrupt in gov’t (DHS, the CIA, NSA, ..), but mainly t hose really rich billionaire bastards in the NWO Fourth Reich which is currently trying to take our guns (illegally, I might add, and un-Constitutional), so that they may continue to rob us blind, poison the Earth, and satisfy their demented lust for power. Do NOT be fooled! Never support an Anti-gun agenda, unless ALL GUNS (including law enforcement and the military) are banned: They are the only thing protecting us from a totalitarian police state, predicted by Orwell and others. And had these FEDX pilots had some kind of stun gun, this would have ended less violently. in fact, there is no reason why we should even have lethal weapons anymore – the cops sure shouldn’t! You cannot keep the peace by breaking the law killing unarmed black youth!! That’s how the coming Civil War might just get started!!

  • My son has been employed by FedEX for 20 years…..
    I asked him why no one heard about this. He of course had…..but he is disputing the
    date given (1994)…and he recollects it happened after 9-11…..
    Before this incident employees used to be able for a small zone fee to hop on board these transport cargo planes and travel to the destinations they plane was scheduled to go….after this… is no longer an availalbe option to the employees…..

    Horriffic……those pilots were real heros……in my book…God bless them….and
    the fact that the nutjob will spend the rest of his days in prison makes me
    smile…..If he was crazy before….he was be one tortured soul by now…..
    That’s justice.

  • As it landed, what popped into my head. Jerry: “You kept making the stops?”
    Kramer:” People kept ringing the bell”

  • I saw on Smithonian Channel this documentary about an employee of Fedex who insured his life and plan to kill the crew and crash the jet. The crew did a heroic fight and controlled the attacker. He hurt them so much by attacking with a hammer on their heads that they lost their flying capabilities.
    It might be on demand on cable channels.

  • Nope. Don’t remember hearing about this incident. What a horrible thing. What a brave thing. Who could guess that going to work on a normal day you’d be the target of an insane employee who would go nuts? The pilots certainly handled it with all the intelligence, skill and even empathy, in not killing the perp, possible. Petty amazing stuff.

  • I also do not recall ever hearing about this incident. Those three very brave men should be enjoying good pensions for life and a continuance of all their medical benefits. Lets hope that Federal Express treated them with all due respect and empathy. Flying gets in ones blood. Something about handling a plane and having a vast ocean of blue skies to fly it in. I am sure these men must miss this and hope they have found other ways to make their lives meaningful.

  • Interesting!
    When was this supposed to have happen? I don’t remember anything about it.

    Nice try but putting printing over the picture makes it TOO BUSY to watch and read! There is a better way.

    Heart felt feelings to ALL involved!

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