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Unbelievable! How a passenger with 'no idea how to fly' lands plane safely

In this still image from video by WPTV shows emergency personnel surrounding a Cessna plane at Palm Beach International Airport Tuesday. (AP)

“I've got a serious situation here," the man said Tuesday. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane."

An air traffic controller in Fort Pierce responded, asking if he knew the position of the single-engine Cessna 280.

“I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me, and I have no idea," he said.

Twin controls enable a Cessna 280 to be steered from the passenger seat. Speaking very calmly, the controller told him to “maintain wings level and try to follow the coast, either north or southbound."

Minutes passed before controllers were able to locate the plane, which by then was heading north over Boca Raton. Then the man's voice seemed to fade, so the controller in Fort Pierce asked for his cellphone number to enable controllers at Palm Beach International Airport to communicate with him more clearly.

Air traffic controller Robert Morgan, a 20-year veteran, took over at that point, talking the passenger down to a safe landing.

“Kudos to the new pilot," one controller told him after the plane smoothly wheeled down the tarmac.

Morgan told WPBF that he felt like he was in the right place at the right time.

“I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and just tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land. It felt really good to help someone," Morgan said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Rick Breitenfeldt confirmed that the pilot and passenger were the only two people aboard. The agency is investigating, he said in an email. There was no immediate word on the condition of the pilot, and authorities didn't release their identities. 

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Dive Deeper:
Passenger with ‘no idea how to fly’ takes over plane from stricken pilot
A passenger with no flying experience radioed an urgent plea for help when the pilot of a small plane suddenly…
Passenger with ‘no idea how to fly this’ lands plane after pilot blacks out
Just after noon on Tuesday, a passenger flying in a single- engine Cessna about 32km east of Boca Raton, Florida,…
Passenger with 'no idea' how to fly a plane lands aircraft after pilot falls ill
It is believed to be the first time the feat has been successfully accomplished
Passenger with 'no idea how to fly' safely lands airplane after pilot falls ill
Air traffic controllers were able to guide the passenger around 100km along the Florida coast before he safely landed the…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Pilot down, passenger takes over with 'no idea how to fly'
A passenger with no flying experience radioed an urgent plea for help when the pilot of a small plane fell…
Watch: Passenger with no flying experience lands plane after pilot becomes incapacitated
A passenger on a private plane managed to land the aircraft at a Florida airport, despite having no flying experience,…
Get all your news in one place