Passenger with no flying experience lands plane after pilot incapacitated
A passenger without any flying experience safely landed a plane at a Florida airport after the pilot became incapacitated.
The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating the incident, which happened on Tuesday afternoon. It was believed the pilot may have suffered a medical emergency.
In a statement, the FAA said two passengers were onboard the single-engine Cessna 208 when the pilot had a “possible medical issue”.
One passenger steered the private plane smoothly into Palm Beach international airport.
According to LiveATC.net audio, the passenger told air traffic control: “I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
Asked what the situation was with the pilot, the passenger said: “He is incoherent. He is out.”
The air traffic controller asked the passenger what his position was.
He replied: “I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea.”
“Try to follow the coast either north or southbound,” the controller said. “We’re trying to locate you.”
After four minutes, the passenger asked: “Have you guys located me? I can’t even get my nav screen to turn on. It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?”
Air traffic control located the plane, which was off Boca Raton.
The air traffic controller proceeded to guide the passenger through the descent, saying: “Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me, push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate.”
In video obtained by CNN, the plane can be seen landing slowly and smoothly.
In a separate recording, another air traffic controller can be heard telling pilots: “You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane.”
“Did you say the passengers landed the plane?” an American Airlines pilot asked. “Oh my God. Great job.”