About 5-6 years before,I started reading a novel which started something like..a flight taking off..two different dishes served in the plane,out of which one is contaminated..half the passengers fall sick and so also both the pilots,who would have had the contaminated dish for breakfast,get poisoned.. It made an interesting reading..I had to leave the novel unfinished at the time..want to go ahead and finish it now..any ideas?

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    This is fiction (in the real world, the pilot and copilot are supposed to eat different meals, precisely to avoid this situation). But is it science fiction?
    – user56
    Jan 5, 2013 at 15:34
  • @Gilles..Cannot be sure if it really was sci-fi..but i'm sure both the pilots fall sick.. Jan 5, 2013 at 15:42
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    Isn't this the plot of the comedy movie Airplane!?
    – Mr Lister
    Jan 5, 2013 at 16:00
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    @MrLister yes it is, but that was based (pretty much shot-for-shot) on the 50s straight disaster movie Zero Hour!. However, that film doesn't seem to have been based on an original novel. Jan 5, 2013 at 16:05
  • Well..i don't know..for that small amount of reading,i didn't exactly feel it was a comedy..In fact,the atmosphere looked quite tensed..but yes..i just went though the plot u said @MrLister..it certainly seems similar.. Jan 5, 2013 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


The story is "Flight into Danger" by John Castle and Arthur Hailey. My grade 5 teacher read the story to us in 1977 and we were on the edges of our seats! It obviously influenced Airplane!

Here's the wikipedia entry:

Flight into Danger is a 1956 Canadian television film starring Corinne Conley, James Doohan (who became famous later as Scotty in Star Trek: The Original Series), Kate Reid, Zachary Scott and Philip Gilbert. The 60-minute teleplay was written by Arthur Hailey, produced and screened by CBC Television, and broadcast on August 20, 1956 in the General Motors Theatre strand. In 1957, it was adapted into the feature film Zero Hour! and, more famously, parodied in the 1980 comedy, Airplane!. Hailey and John Castle novelised the story as Flight Into Danger: Runway Zero-Eight (1958), which was dramatized in 1971 as a Movie of the Week, Terror in the Sky.

In the play, an ex-Spitfire pilot is forced to take the controls of a large passenger plane when the pilots fall victim to food poisoning. The original play was purchased for screening by the BBC in the United Kingdom and was a major factor in its producer Sydney Newman being brought across to work in the UK. There he made a significant impact on the British television drama industry.

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    It would be more correct to say that Zero Hour! was adapted into Airplane! -- the non-comedic portions of the dialog are almost identical.
    – Mark
    Mar 30, 2016 at 18:47

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