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We’ve all heard the expression ‘I’m so hungry I could eat a horse’, but have you ever been so hungry you ate an airplane?

Quick Notes

  • A man known as Monsieur Mangetout once ate an entire plane
  • It started when he was nine years old, and led to a startling career
  • He could consume countless inedible things without ever falling ill

Airplane food is notoriously bad, but I’ve never heard of any passenger so unsatisfied with the food that they began eating the airplane itself. Michel Lotito never ate a plane while he was on board one, because that would be insane, but then eating an entire plane at any time is still pretty wild. I’m not sure what to believe anymore.

What we can all believe, however, is that Michel Lotito definitely existed, and he definitely ate a plane. He ate a plane among many, many other seemingly indigestible items, and didn’t get ill once from it all. Anyone who has ever had food poisoning is furious with this guy right now.

Lotito’s unusual practice began when he was just nine years old. Legend has it the young Lotito was drinking from a bottle when it smashed inside his mouth. Instead of spitting the shards of glass away, he began to chomp on them, because of course he did.

A bottle a day keeps the doctor away…except it doesn’t

Gastroenterologists and doctors alike examined the young boy following this event. They ultimately found that, incredibly, no damage had occurred from Lotito’s glass-munching because he had developed a condition known as pica.

Pica is a condition that is categorized by a digestive system that is far more resilient than the average human being’s. It is often comprised of a much thicker stomach lining, more potent stomach acid, and thicker intestinal walls. All of these components combined mean that materials which are otherwise completely inedible suddenly become main course options.

Michel Lotito Eating a CupMichel Lotito Eating a Cup
Michel Lotito Eating a Cup Live on TV (Youtube:

From here, a wondrous and unusual career began for Lotito. He quickly became known by his entertainer title, Monsieur Mangetout, and began touring the world performing incredible feats for arguably concerned onlookers. Monsieur Mangetout literally translates to Mister Eat-All, which isn’t the most creative nickname, but it definitely fits the bill.

Throughout his astonishing career, the incredible Monsieur Mangetout consumed eighteen bicycles, seven television sets, two beds, fifteen supermarket carts, a coffin (thankfully no body within, but handles firmly attached), a pair of skis, and six chandeliers.

Eating an entire plane, piece by piece

His most stunning act came about in 1978 however, when Monsieur Mangetout challenged himself to complete an act completely inconceivable, even by his standards. This is the year that Lotito announced he would be eating a plane. You would think eighteen bicycles would have satiated his appetite, but apparently not.

Small Airplane
Small Airplane

It took him two years to complete the process, but in all fairness, no one said an entire Cessna 152 would be a single course meal. In 1980 it was announced Lotito had fully consumed all parts of the plane, astonishing the world. Even crazier than that, he experienced no negative side effects. He ate a plane, and felt fine the next day. Some of us can’t even handle milk.

He didn’t eat the items whole, like some form of bond villain

It is important to note that even Lotito took safety precautions when completing these extraordinary acts. He didn’t eat the items whole, like some form of bond villain. He ate them in pieces, and ensured his digestive system was sufficiently lubricated with mineral oil to make sure everything would pass through smoothly. Bike-wheel indigestion is the worst kind.

Lotito passed away in 2007 from entirely natural causes, with no link to the diet his career had permitted. There’s no doubt that his legacy lives on, however. It’s incredibly difficult to forget the man who ate an airplane. Almost as difficult as it is to eat an airplane in the first place.

A deeper dive – Related reading on the 101

From eating the wings of planes to riding on them, all kinds of things are possible in the modern world

It is completely possible to end world poverty, and no one has to eat metal to do it

You don’t have to have a pica digestive system to eat plastic, just breathe in and out!