@brendankoerner

Date: February 25, 1971

Flight Info: A Western Airlines Boeing 737 with nonstop service from San Francisco to Seattle.

The Story: The 19-year-old Paterson was one of 67 Army recruits heading for basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash. Frightened by the prospect of what lay ahead, Paterson entered the cockpit as the plane soared over Medford, Ore., and declared that he had a bomb. He demanded passage to Cuba, but was informed that the jet didn’t have enough fuel for such a journey. The pilot talked him into settling for Vancouver, where Paterson was arrested by Royal Canadian Mounted Police upon arrival. None of the other passengers were informed of the hijacking while it was in progress, and most thought they had landed in Seattle until a swarm of Mounties came aboard.

The Upshot: Though he sought to be recognized as a conscientious objector by Canada, Paterson was quickly extradited to the U.S. and charged with air piracy on March 13, 1971. His fate beyond that is unknown.

Check out THE SKIES BELONG TO US