In December 1972, an Eastern Airlines Tri-Star jetliner, Flight 401, crashed into Florida swamp. The pilot, Bob Loft, and the flight engineer, Don, were two of the 101 people who perished in the air crash. After the crash, the ghosts of Loft and Repo were seen on more than twenty occasions by crewmembers on other Eastern Tri-Stars flights, especially on those planes that had been fitted with parts salvaged from the Flight 401 wreckage. The apparitions of Loft and Repo were described as being extremely lifelike and not only were incidents reported by people who had known Loft and Repo, but their ghosts were also identified from photographs by people who had not known the men.
Sam: There's a long history of spirits and death omens on planes and ships, like phantom travelers.
Sam: Or remember flight 401?
Dean: Right. The one that crashed, the airline salvaged some of its parts, put it in other planes, then the spirit of the pilot and copilot haunted those flights.
While talking about the possibility that the downed plane was caused by phantom travelers, Sam brings up flight 401. This prompts Dean to remember that the crashed plane had an airline salvage some of its parts and put them in other planes, causing the spirit of the pilot and copilot to haunt those flights.
Flight 401 in Lore
Ghosts were reported most often on board N318EA, the L-1011 fitted with the crashed plane's oven. This plane was subsequently sold to Cathay Pacific and, as VR-HOI, stayed in service until 1996.
Tales of the ghosts report them as being non-threatening. Don Repo, especially, is said to have helped avert accidents by alerting crew to electrical faults, hydraulic faults and even a small fire. On one occasion, his ghost is reported to have repaired an oven before the plane's only on-board engineer had time to arrive in the galley - much to the alarm of the flight attendant who had watched Repo repair the broken appliance. She later identified Repo from a photograph.
Management at Eastern Airlines considered the stories nonsense and employees were warned that they could be dismissed if caught spreading the tales.