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Passenger successfully lands plane after pilot became ‘incoherent’


A passenger with no flying experience landed a private plane at Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport in the US after radioing in that the pilot is incapacitated on 11 May.

‘My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane,’ the passenger of a Cessna aircraft told air traffic control Tuesday afternoon.

According to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot had a medical issue while two passengers were on board.

The FAA commented that the pilot began feeling ill about an hour into the flight and slumped against the controls. The plane then took a nosedive and a sharp turn, forcing the one passenger to take over and stabilise the plane.

He then called Fort Pierce Tower at Treasure Coast International Airport to let them know that the pilot was incapacitated and that he had no flying experience.

Unable to tell air traffic control his location, the passenger was asked to gradually descend to allow time for air traffic control to locate the plane.

The plane was identified as being approximately 32 km from Boca Raton Airport, and he was requested to change to Palm Beach International Airport for assistance.

The air traffic controller at Palm Beach promptly called a certified flight instructor with experience piloting a Cessna aircraft to offer clear, short directions on how to fly.

The team at the Palm Beach control tower stopped all departures from the airport and incoming aircraft were put into holding patterns due to the emergency.

‘We’ve never had anything like that…I felt like I was in a movie,” said flight instructor, Robert Morgan. ‘Everybody wanted to participate and came out of the offices to assist in any kind of way.’

Morgan walked the passenger through the flight settings and thoroughly explained how to land and then made sure that the passenger had the runway in sight.

The passenger was then guided through a long, stable final approach and the plane successfully landed at 4:37 pm with first responders there to see the pilot. Neither of the passengers suffered from any injuries.

Picture: Screenshot


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