"The pilot is incoherent … and I have no idea how to fly."
Cue the "Mission Impossible" theme because a guy with absolutely no flight experience just landed a small plane after the pilot was incapacitated earlier this week.
The man was coming home from vacation in the Bahamas when the pilot flying a Cessna 208 told his two passengers he wasn't feeling well and passed out against the controls, according to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) press release. The plane went into a nose dive and a sharp turn, but the passenger stabilized controls and radioed for help. TikTok account FlightSimStuff, which creates animated flight videos using simulators, posted the full audio recording online.
“I’ve got a serious situation here," the passenger told air traffic controllers. "The pilot is incoherent … and I have no idea how to fly the airplane. I see the coast of Florida in front of me.”
According to the FAA, flight instructor and experienced air traffic controller Robert Morgan gave the passenger short, clear directions on how to use landing gear and keep the nose of the plane just above the ground during touch down.
Nerves of Steel
Video of the moment and details from the press release illustrate just how scary this must've been for both passengers — especially the one flying it.
Local Florida reporter Ari Hait tweeted the 30-second clip below that shows the plane descending toward the runway, a little wobbly but otherwise okay. Morgan says other air traffic controllers and co-workers came to help and listen. He said he felt like he was in a movie.
This is brand new video (courtesy of Jeff Chandler) of a passenger landing a plane today at PBIA.
His pilot had passed out, and the passenger with zero flight experience was forced to land the plane.
— Ari Hait (@wpbf_ari) May 11, 2022
According to a Miami Herald report published yesterday, we don't know the status of the pilot's health, and the passenger is taking time off work to stay "low key."
Rest — and kudos — are in order.
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