WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/CNN) – What would you do? You’re on a small plane and your pilot has a medical emergency and is unable to fly the plane.
It happened Tuesday afternoon when a passenger, with no flying experience, safely landed a single-engine Cessna 208 when the pilot became incapacitated.
As the situation unfolded, the passenger can be heard telling air traffic control that he doesn’t know how to fly the plane, according to LiveATC.net
“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the unidentified passenger said in the audio. “My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
Then an air traffic controller began providing the passenger with instructions on landing the plane. That air traffic controller, Robert Morgan, just happened to be a flight instructor. He said he was on a break when he got the call that a passenger was flying the plane.
“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,” said Morgan.
In audio captured by LiveATC.net, Morgan can be heard guiding the man step by step.
“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,” Morgan could be heard telling the man.
“Try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We’re trying to locate you.”
They eventually touched down safely at Palm Beach International Airport.
In additional audio captured by LiveATC.net, another air traffic controller can be heard telling other planes what had unfolded.
“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” the tower operator can be heard telling an American Airlines pilot waiting to take off for Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Did you say the passengers landed the airplane?” the American Airlines pilot asked. “Oh, my God. Great job,” he said.
The FAA is investigating.
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