MacGyver is on vacation looking for an old fishing hole and manages to get lost. He stops at the Sparrow Ridge Airport, an out-of-the-way little place with a diner and the Nielson flying school. The flying instructor, Dave Redding, and the owner, Kelly Nielson are waiting nervously nervous at the counter while Terry Andrews, a visitor, plays pinball. MacGyver arrives and goes in past a burly bearded man. MacGyver is unaware that the man is holding a gun.
MacGyver asks for directions and Andrews tells him the place is closed. Kelly gives him directions and MacGyver notices that Dave has a cut on his face. MacGyver asks for some coffee and Kelly explains that her father owned the flying school. As MacGyver drinks his coffee, he notices that Kelly has written “Help” inside his cup. The bearded man, Buddy, comes in and tells him to finish the coffee, and points his gun. He reveals the message to Andrews, who introduces the cook Tennyson and tells MacGyver to empty out his pockets. Kelly says the men arrived two hours ago and when Buddy tries to hit on her, Tennyson tries to intervene. Andrews calls Buddy off for the moment and says they’ll be gone in just over three hours. When Buddy tries to hit on Kelly again, Dave tells him to stop but quickly backs down and Tennyson tries to help. MacGyver tries to calm things down.
A truck pulls up outside and Andrews gets everyone out. Andrews’ men Turk and Elias get out and Andrews notes they’re 40 minutes late. Turk notices Kelly but Elias calls him over to help unload an armored storage van that they have in the back. Andrews explains that each of his men has a specialty and the entire plan was carried out with perfect timing. However, the security man inside refuses to get out. Andrews figures he has no key and they prepare to blow the door open. MacGyver suggests an alternative: he’ll make a thermite torch to cut open the door so they don’t lose the money and the security guard isn’t killed. Andrews agrees and MacGyver improvises a thermite torch out of magnesium pipes from a bicycle and iron rust. He burns out the lock and opens the door, but Buddy shoots the guard anyway.
Buddy forces MacGyver and Dave to bury the body out back. As they dig, MacGyver notices a fire truck parked inside the garage as well as a helicopter. Dave’s a former MedEvac pilot but says he doesn’t fly any more and can’t help. He explains he was shot down and held prisoner for 13 months, and was digging his own grave just before he was rescued. MacGyver refuses to pass judgment and Dave notices that he and Kelly are the only ones who didn’t pass judgment on him.
Turk ushers them back in when they’re done, and Andrews and the others are counting their 8 million. When Turk fondles Kelly she slaps him and Buddy challenges her. MacGyver tries to calm things down again but Buddy goes for his gun and Andrews is forced to order the man to back down for the moment. They get a radio call from their charter and they force Kelly to respond. The pilot is having an electrical problem in the trim control switch and Kelly says they can’t fix it, but Andrews doesn’t believe her and tells her to call the pilot in. MacGyver says he can jury rig a fix and Andrews sends him to get the parts with Kelly and Turk to watch over them. Once they’re gone, Buddy says he’ll be taking care of MacGyver.
Out in the work shed, Kelly whispers to MacGyver that he doesn’t need parts to fix the switch. She doesn’t know how to fly the helicopter and says it isn’t Dave’s fault he can’t fly any more. MacGyver knocks Turk out with a spare part and then puts together an explosive out of starter fluid and fertilizer. He sends Kelly back to get Al and Dave out when he gives the “signal.” She goes back claiming to get a beer for Turk. MacGyver sets off the first explosive and Andrews, Buddy, and Elias come out to investigate. Kelly gets Al and Dave to the fire truck and they drive out. Buddy goes after them on his motorcycle but MacGyver uses the fire hose to knock him off his motorcycle with water. Andrews and Elias close in on them as they go down the runway and Buddy gets up and joins in the pursuit. The water tank is empty and MacGyver tosses out more explosives. He takes out Andrews’ car but Buddy gets ahead of them and shoots out their tire. They crash into a ditch and Buddy takes Kelly hostage to force MacGyver to put out the explosives.
Back at the airport, the charter pilot lands and Andrews takes Dave out to look at the trim control switch. Buddy locks MacGyver and Kelly in the freezer while Tennyson makes a meal for them. Andrews holds the pilot at gunpoint and Buddy and Elias bring Tennyson out. Inside the freezer, MacGyver breaks off a meat hook and uses it to unscrew the inside of the lock. Kelly explains that Dave used to work for her father, who died in Vietnam. Outside, Dave and the pilot, Walt, have no choice but to do the repairs.
MacGyver gets the inside lock off and then makes a roll of cardboard and sticks it inside the mechanism. As he works, Kelly says that she was married but got divorced and never had kids. MacGyver then pulls a metal support down and uses it as a channel to flow melted ice from a light bulb onto the cardboard. The lock breaks and they get out, only to discover Andrews broke the radio.
Dave and Walt are completing repairs and MacGyver spots the RC airplane hanging from the ceiling. He takes it outside along with a bottle of olive oil, tapes an explosive pack to the airplane, and soaks the pack in olive oil. MacGyver then sends the airplane into the air toward Andrews and his men as they prepare to dispatch Dave, Tennyson, and Walt. They see the RC plane and go to investigate, and Kelly gets the hostages to safety. MacGyver lands the RC plane next to the real plane. It explodes and the men figure it’s a trap. However, Andrews points out they can’t leave without taking care of MacGyver. Buddy, Turk, and Elias fan out to search for MacGyver and the others.
MacGyver takes out Turk while Dave, Kelly, Walt, and Tennyson hide in the work shed. Buddy starts to look in but gets called over to find the missing Turk. Dave realizes that MacGyver can’t do it on his own and says he can’t fly the helicopter. Kelly says he won’t, not that he can’t. Dave runs for the helicopter while MacGyver takes out Elias. Andrews tells Buddy to warm up the plane. MacGyver gets to the helicopter and tells Dave he needs his help to capture Andrews and Buddy. When Dave can’t bring himself to do anything, MacGyver runs after the plane as it taxis down the runway. He jams the aileron and Buddy tries to dump him off. Andrews tries to shoot MacGyver while Dave starts up the helicopter and heads for runway. Andrews slips off the plane and Dave knocks him over with the helicopter’s landing strut. He then lands the helicopter in front of the plane and MacGyver knocks out Buddy when he gets out. Tennyson takes the gun and gets Buddy away while Dave and Kelly embrace. Dave goes to help the others and Kelly thanks MacGyver for his help.