Author Topic: Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies  (Read 3264 times)

Offline AirScorp

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Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies
« on: April 14, 2009, 12:19:51 AM »
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-04-13-passenger-lands-plane_N.htm?csp=34
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By Chris Umpierre, The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. A tragedy thankfully didn't turn into a disaster Sunday when a passenger successfully landed a small airplane at Southwest Florida International Airport after the pilot had a seizure 20 minutes after takeoff.

The pilot died before the plane landed.

The Beechcraft King Air two-engine turboprop plane, with five people on board, was flying from Marco Island to Jackson, Miss., when the pilot was stricken for unknown reasons.

Neither the pilot's nor the passenger's names were released by authorities.

Although the passenger who eventually landed the plane was a licensed pilot, he
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wasn't certified to fly a high-performance turboprop aircraft and had never flown a King Air plane, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

A Fort Myers air traffic controller, whose name also wasn't released, talked the man through the landing by calling a friend in Connecticut who was familiar with King Airs.

"We've had situations where passengers land airplanes before, but this is the first time I actually heard a controller actually tell the passenger to push this button and turn this knob," said Steve Wallace, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers in Miami. "It's a heck of an Easter story."

Wallace was working in the Miami air traffic control center when his air controllers couldn't reach the plane's pilot at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Miami center deals with planes at high altitude 10,000 or more feet in South Florida.

"We tried a couple times and didn't hear anything," Wallace said. "Then all of a sudden, we hear a passenger say, 'This is November 55 Niner Delta Whisky and my pilot is passed out. We need help now.'"

Despite dealing with 15 other planes in the air at the time, the Miami air traffic control center helped the man disengage autopilot, turn the plane around and descend to Fort Myers.

Fort Myers air traffic controllers then helped him land the plane thanks to an assist from a Connecticut pilot. The man in Connecticut pulled out a King Air manual and read off a checklist for landing, which the Fort Myers air traffic controller then relayed to the passenger-turned-pilot.

"The passenger was a certified pilot, but not in this plane, so he needed this help," said Alex Caldwell, spokeswoman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. "It's not the like driving a Ford Focus and an F-150. There's a big difference with planes."

Wallace said the passenger deserves all the credit for the safe landing.

"I was watching him on the radar and he was able to hold the airplane level, make the turn and land on his first shot," Wallace said.

"When he landed, our heroes over here got a nice applause and a pat on the back. It's not often controllers fly plane by proxy."

The plane, which was built in 1982, is owned by White Equipment Leasing in Archibald, La. according to Federal Aviation Administration records. The owner couldn't be reached for comment.

"This could have had a truly horrible outcome," Caldwell said. "It's a real Easter miracle."

Copyright 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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Offline TheSoccerMom

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Re: Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 02:20:45 AM »
 ::bow::

Wow, what a good outcome for what could have been a real bad outcome.  It's sad about the pilot of course,

but this guy did a great job of asking for help.    |:)\

 |:)\
Don't make me come back there!!!!

Offline cotejy

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Re: Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2009, 08:13:51 PM »
Quote
This is November 55 Niner Delta Whisky and my pilot is passed out. We need help now.
  ::bow:: ::bow:: ::bow::

This dude did a wonderfull job! Most of the time, I fly with my wife and I did some "unofficial" teaching to her. Just in case something bad happend to me during flight, she will at least know the basic on how to do an approach. She never actually did a landing but she can do a decent approach. I made her a personnal simplified check list:

1- fly straight and level
2- use the radio and ask for help

Offline Mike

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Re: Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2009, 09:45:40 PM »
Quote
This is November 55 Niner Delta Whisky and my pilot is passed out. We need help now.
  ::bow:: ::bow:: ::bow::

This dude did a wonderfull job! Most of the time, I fly with my wife and I did some "unofficial" teaching to her. Just in case something bad happend to me during flight, she will at least know the basic on how to do an approach. She never actually did a landing but she can do a decent approach. I made her a personnal simplified check list:

1- fly straight and level
2- use the radio and ask for help

That's a very good practice! I try to teach as many people as much as I can!


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Offline AirScorp

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Re: Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2009, 03:11:07 PM »
Hmmm.... This one looks like the ATC audio from this story...

http://www.news-press.com/assets/mp3/A4132719413.MP3
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Offline cotejy

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Re: Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2009, 07:45:16 PM »
here is the first part of the audio. From emergency beeing declared until passing to approach control.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aetmIch34M4

Is it just me or the passenger had to repeat 10 times that the plane passed 10k and still climbing before the controler finally understood.