Plane Crashes and Dead Pilots by John Cali

Lockheed L-1011 by Torsten Maiwald

Even though it was many years ago, I clearly remember the night of December 29, 1972. That was the night Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades.

Of the 176 people aboard the Lockheed L-1011, 101 died, including Captain Robert Loft, First Officer Albert Stockstill, and Second Officer Donald Repo. It was pretty remarkable so many survived such a horrendous crash.

I remember the crash so clearly because I was a commercial pilot at the time. What happened to Eastern 401 has to be every pilot’s worst nightmare.

There was a fascinating aftermath to this sad event. Captain Loft and Second Officer Repo started appearing to other Eastern Airlines employees and on other L-1011 flights—after they died. Supposedly, Captain Loft even showed up in bed next to his widow one night.

The story goes Loft and Repo reappeared because they wanted to keep other pilots from making the same mistakes they had made that fateful night.

These sorts of stories can get exaggerated far beyond what really happened. But this video seems to be a fairly objective report of the dead pilots’ reappearances.


The Eastern crash was in 1972. Today seeing the pilots’ ghosts would not seem so unusual, at least to those of us interested in spirituality. Nonetheless, I still find it a fascinating story. Please share your thoughts and comments with us.

What other subjects would you like us to talk about in these posts? Please email me.

About John Cali

John Cali is a writer, blogger, and channel for a group of spirit guides. His next book is Real Answers to Life’s Pesky Questions: Conversations With Spirit, Book 1. John lives in northwestern Wyoming. Sign up for his newsletter here.

6 Responses

  1. Sarah D

    Brilliant post, John.

    I remember this story very well as I have always had a fascination with flying and aircraft, especially the larger commercial liners. I have read a lot of books and cockpit transcripts relating to air crashes and the Eastern 401 was one of them. The story about Repo and Loft appearing on planes which used parts from the devastated jetliner is intriguing and fascinating and I have no doubt in its validity. Its so Noble for the airmen to try and protect their fellow travellers and crewmen from disaster as I’m sure I read. Just like our loved ones in spirit are always with us and watching and guiding from their dimensions.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Sarah.

      Like you, I do not doubt the appearances of the captain and second officer. From my own experience I know the bond that exists among pilots. So it makes perfect sense they would come back from “beyond the grave” to help living pilots. As my spirit guides are fond of saying, our loved ones never leave us.

  2. Terry Parker

    Bitter sweet story but one close to my heart John. I’ve got quite a few ‘dead’ pilot friends from 35 years of flying but I am always heartened when I hear from them loud and clear in my dreams. The message is pretty much always the same – There is no sadness just bliss, get on with life and enjoy the flying. I also feel them occasionally on the flight deck with me from time to time.

    The great John Gillespie Magee poem applies perfectly to living and dead pilots alike, especially the first two lines:

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

    Thanks for the blog John. All the best


    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Terry — I knew it would be close to your heart. I didn’t fly as many years as you have (and you’re still doing it). But I too have pilot friends who died in plane crashes. Like you, I love flying, whether as pilot or passenger. Once it gets “in your blood” you’re hooked. I know you understand that far better than most.

      I love the poem! Thanks so much for sharing it.

      Namaste, dear friend,

  3. Laurel A Woodson

    Hello, John –

    Alas, the video will not open — after initial image, that small screen goes black . . . .
    hmmmmm, too bad I cannot see it.


    • John Cali

      Hi Laurel,

      That’s strange. I have no problem with it, and no one else has reported a problem. You might check your browser to see if it’s blocking the video. That can happen.

      For example, I use Firefox with the No-Script plugin. For many sites (those I trust, that is) I have to temporarily disable NoScript to view the sites. So something like that could be happening with you.

      Hope that helps.

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