Slate has been running a series about the rash of airline hijackings in the 60s and 70s. I think today's hijacker takes the cake:
Binh didn’t reveal his intentions to the Pan Am crew until they were over the South China Sea. He passed a stewardess a note: “You are going to fly me to Hanoi and this airplane will be destroyed when we get there.” When the flight’s captain, Eugene Vaughn, refused to comply, Binh wrote a second note, which he spattered with his own blood. “This indicates how serious I am about being taken to Hanoi,” it read.
Vaughn went to the main cabin to meet Binh, a meek-looking young man who stood less than 5 feet tall. Binh showed off a foil-wrapped package that he said contained a bomb. Vaughn correctly guessed that the Binh was bluffing. (The ominous package actually contained lemons.)
Vaughn knew that one of his passengers, a retired San Francisco police officer, had come on board with a .357 Magnum. He discreetly told the ex-cop to be prepared to end Binh’s life.
Under the pretext of making a refueling stop, Vaughn landed at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut airport. Once the plane was at rest on the tarmac, Vaughn walked back to speak with the hijacker again. Binh was highly agitated, going on and on about how he would detonate his bomb unless the plane took off at once.
“I can’t understand you too well,” said Vaughn. “Let me come closer.”
Binh leaned his head forward as Vaughn knelt down. Before Binh could repeat his demand, the captain grabbed him by the throat and thrust him to the floor. “Kill this son of a bitch!” Vaughn yelled as he pinned down the struggling Binh.
The ex-cop came racing back with his weapon drawn and shot Binh five times at close range. Vaughn then heaved the hijacker’s 116-pound corpse out of the Boeing 747’s rear exit, so that all the world could see it splayed out on the tarmac. “I threw him through a door and he went about 15 feet out,” Vaughn would later recall. “I got a good football hold on him and he went just like a football.”