In 1983, an Air Canada plane ran out of fuel over Manitoba. Nicknamed the Gimli Glider, because the pilot managed to safely land it on an abandoned airstrip in Gimli, the story of this flight is a great introduction to unit conversions. It ran out of fuel because of a conversion error. Canada had recently switched to the metric system.
Teachers could tell the story, or have their classes watch the re-enactment of the situation on YouTube.