Passenger with No Flying Experience Lands Plane after Pilot Becomes Incapacitated
A passenger without any flying experience managed to land a private plane safely at an airport in Florida after the pilot became incapacitated.
The unidentified man used the cockpit to make an urgent plea after he realized that the pilot was too ill to handle the controls. He got a response from air traffic controllers in Fort Pierce, who then guided him to a safe landing at Palm Beach International Airport.
“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the man told the controller on Tuesday, according to audio from LiveATC.net. “My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
Controllers focused on keeping the man calm, asking if he knew the position of the single-engine Cessna 280 and what the specific situation was with the pilot.
“He is incoherent, he is out,” the passenger responded, also saying that he has no idea about the position of the plane.
“I can see the coast of Florida in front of me,” he said.
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.
Robert Morgan, a certified flight instructor, took over at that point, guiding the passenger down to a safe landing.