Airplane II: The Sequel (also known as Flying High II: The Sequel) is an American comedy sequel to the 1980 film Airplane! First released on December 10, 1982, the film was written and directed by Ken Finkleman and stars Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Chad Everett, William Shatner, Rip Torn, and Sonny Bono. It is the second of the Airplane! Films.
Some of Airplane!'s original cast members play different characters in the sequel, the most noticeable being Stephen Stucker's "Jacobs" character (in the original, he was known as "Johnny Hinshaw"). In addition, Frank Ashmore, who played flight navigator Victor Basta in the original, has a small role as a Houston air traffic controller while Craig Berenson, who was played by Paul Carey (the airline employee sent to pick up Rex Kramer) in the original, has a role as a passenger who shaves in the shuttle's restroom as it descends.
A Lunar Shuttle known as Mayflower One, which looks very close to the Space Shuttle, is being rushed to launch. The head of the ground crew, The Sarge (played by Chuck Connors, and a spoof of Airport's Joe Patroni), does not like what's going on, but defers to the airline's management. On-board is computer officer Elaine (Hagerty), who was a flight attendant in the first movie. Elaine has long-since left Ted Striker (Hays) and is now engaged to one of the flight crew, Simon Kurtz (Everett).
Peter Graves, the captain in the original film, returns as Captain Clarence Oveur. On the flight crew with Oveur and Kurtz are First Officer Dunn (James A. Watson, Jr.) and Navigator Dave Unger (Kent McCord).
We initially learn that Striker has been committed to an insane asylum, having been declared mentally incompetent in a lawsuit brought after the lunar shuttle crashes during a test flight (with Ted as the test pilot). But there is also a suggestion, later, that the lawsuit was used to silence him because he knew as its test-pilot that there were problems with the Lunar Shuttle which made it unsafe. Now Striker is ever more haunted by his actions in "The War", specifically the events referred to as those taking place over "Macho Grande" where he lost his entire squadron. This time around, however, Striker's psychosis is made to appear more related to post-traumatic stress disorder than a fear of flying. Some evidence for this is presented in the story when Striker reads of the upcoming Lunar Shuttle launch: he quickly decides to escape the asylum, and gets a ticket for the flight. Since all the tickets are already purchased, Ted is forced to get one from a scalper.
Mayflower One suffers a short circuit and the computer, ROK, develops a mind of its own, sending the ship toward the Sun. Unger and Dunn try to deactivate the computer room, but end up getting blown out of an airlock. Oveur also tries to stop the computer, but gets gassed to death, all thanks to ROK's self-defense mechanism. Again, Striker gets called upon to control the craft, but first he has to figure out how to make the computer relinquish control.
That is when Steven McCroskey, the air traffic controller (Lloyd Bridges), comes into play. He reveals that a passenger named Joe Seluchi (Bono) had boarded the plane with a bomb, intending to commit suicide so that his wife could collect on insurance money (the policy, it turns out, was for car insurance, and therefore worthless). He was originally supposed to fly to Des Moines, Iowa to get treatment for impotence at a facility that a number of the air traffic controllers are familiar with. However Seluchi boarded the Lunar Shuttle instead. Striker manages to wrestle the bomb from him and uses it to blow up the computer and head for the Moon as originally intended. Kurtz abandons Elaine and leaves in the only escape pod before they take control in an instance of "premature ejection".
On the way to the Moon, control of the flight is shifted to a lunar base, commanded by Cmdr. Buck Murdoch (Shatner). He has a high level of contempt for Striker because of Macho Grande, but agrees to help anyway. They manage to land the craft on the moon. Ted and Elaine fall back in love and get married at the end.
After the wedding, Seluchi looks into the cockpit and asks for his briefcase back.