This ain't Top Gun. On June 23, 1951, US Navy Commander George Chamberlain Duncan was the pilot for trials of the Grumman F9F-5 Panther fighter jet off the Virginia Capes in the Atlantic Ocean. Following one successful landing on the USS Midway aircraft carrier, Duncan went out for another spin. This time it didn't go so well, as evidenced by the astonishing video above. From This Day In Aviation:
Just short of the flight deck, the Panther dropped below the correct approach. Duncan tried to pull up, but the fighter struck the ramp and broke in half. The aircraft exploded in flames. The forward section slid down the deck. Duncan, though burned, was quickly rescued.
He was back flying in six months and lived another 44 years, according to Duncan's 1995 obituary in the Washington Post.