In an incident of exceptional bravery caught on cam, a passenger who had no flying experience was able to land a plane safely after its pilot passed out due to falling ill mid-flight. Life imitated the most outrageous action films where a protagonist is made to take control of the life-and-death situation and emerges out of it victorious.
The incident was reported from Florida and occurred earlier on Tuesday this week. Viral video making rounds of social media shows the airplane landing smoothly, with the landing so safe that it may appear that it was a pilot with thousands of hours of flying experience who landed the plane.
According to reports, the aircraft had departed from Bahamas and was flying with a pilot and two passengers on board. About an hour into the flight, the pilot complained about not feeling so well. Before the co-passengers could take a stock of the matter, the pilot simply slouched down against the plane controls. Within moments the plane took a nosedive and one brave passenger decided to take control of the matter.
The man reached out to the air-traffic controller, who in turn guided them in flying the plane, and eventually the man was able to land the plane safely.
The Facts of the Matter
We have all seen popcorn-munching films where a character in plane somehow channels his inner Chuck Norris or Rajinikanth and ends up landing the plane safely without having any experience in flying. Recently, an unidentified passenger with no flying experience was able to land a plane safely after the pilot was incapacitated.
According to reports, the small single-engine airplane was flying from Marsh Harbour, Bahama on Tuesday this week and managed to land at the Palm Beach International Airport, thanks to the heroics of the unidentified passenger.
Pilot Slumps on Control
About an hour into the flight, all hell broke loose when the pilot complaint of not feeling too well. The man then fell against the plane controls, throwing the entire plane into a nose-dive. This was when one of the two passengers who were on board, decided to take control of the plane.
The unidentified passenger reached out to the Air-Traffic Controller and said, “I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane”. When the ATC asked him for his position, the man responded with – “I have no idea”, adding that he was struggling with understanding the navigation.
“You guys got any idea?” Passenger Reaches Out to ATC
The ATC asked him to “maintain wing levels” and follow the coast of Florida that was right in front of him. At one point during his exchange with the ATC, the man was heard saying, “I can’t even get my nav[igation] screen to turn on,” he said at one point. “It has all the information on it. You guys got any ideas on that?”.
“Had to keep him calm”: ATC
Mr. Robert Morgan, Palm Beach International Airport ATC, spoke to the media about the a marvelous feat of the man and was quoted saying, “I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just knew I had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land.”
An experienced ATC, Mr. Morgan had never flown the aircraft that was being flown by a passenger. Before things could turn awry, his co-worker printed out the images of the airplane’s cockpit so that the passenger could be guided well.
Passenger Lands the Plane, ATC Hugs him
“Before I knew it, he said, ‘I’m on the ground, how do I turn this thing off?’” Mr. Morgan was quoted saying. Visuals of the plane smoothly landing on the airfield are going viral on the internet.
🛫 NEW VIDEO: Watch the intense moments as a passenger lands a plane after the pilot was "incoherent." Hear how the air traffic controller describes what it was like to talk him through it: https://t.co/W5I7NneRZM pic.twitter.com/GuR0Ws0ntL
— WPBF 25 News (@WPBF25News) May 11, 2022
After the unidentified passenger landed the plane, ATC Robert Morgan ran to the tarmac and gave him a big hug. “It felt really good to help somebody, and he told me that he was going to go home tonight to see his pregnant wife,” the ATC said in an interview.