10 Unsolved Airplane Mysteries

An Artistic Disappearance
A Varig 707 (not pictured) took off from Tokyo in 1979 and was never seen again. VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

A Boeing 707 cargo plane containing 153 paintings by famed Brazilian-Japanese painter Manabu Mabe worth about $1.2 million, took off from Narita International Airport in Tokyo in January 1979. The plane, operated by Varig Airlines, was scheduled to stop in Los Angeles and continue on to Rio de Janeiro.

But it never got there. Instead, when the plane was north of Tokyo, about 30 minutes after takeoff, air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot. No trace of the plane, the cargo or its six-person crew has ever been found [sources: ASN, Hastings].