Passenger with No Flying Experience Successfully Lands Plane
A passenger with no apparent flying experience managed to land a small plane in Florida on Tuesday after their pilot became “incoherent” following a medical emergency. Around 12:30 p.m. ET, the single-engine Cessna 208 landed safely at Palm Beach International Airport. According to FlightAware data, the jet had left Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, around an hour and a half before the miraculous landing. The anonymous passenger can be heard saying, "I've got a severe situation here," in audio from a call to air traffic control at Fort Pierce tower. When the call came in from the plane departing from the Bahamas, Air Traffic Controller Robert Morgan, a trained flying instructor, was on a break. "I rush over there and I walk in and the room is really busy ... and they're like, 'Hey, this pilot's incapacitated. The passengers are flying the plane. They have no flying experience," Morgan explained. "'Oh boy,' I exclaimed." [caption id="attachment_36254" align="alignnone" width="715"] The passenger was coming back from the Bahamas aboard a single-engine Cessna 208 Caravan, a model Morgan had never flown before.[/caption] Morgan discovered that the caller had never flown a plane but had been around aviation and had seen other pilots fly. He described him as "very peaceful." "I don't know how to fly, and if I do get on the runway, I don't know how to stop this thing," he remarked. Air Traffic Controller Robert Morgan has never flown a Cessna of this sort before. He drew out a diagram of the instrument panel's arrangement and began walking his new learner through each step. "My pilot has become illogical." "I don't know how to fly an airplane," they admitted. “Roger. What is your stance? " said one of the dispatchers. “I have no idea,” the passenger said. “I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea.” As crews attempted to locate the jet, the dispatcher can be heard advising the passenger to "keep wings level" and "just try to follow the shore, either north or southbound." Finally, the controller was able to guide the passenger through the landing procedures. In LiveATC audio, the air traffic controller can be heard urging the fledgling pilot, "Try to keep the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and fall at a very slow rate." "Try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We're trying to locate you." Morgan made the critical choice to direct the plane to the area's busiest airport, assisting the passenger-turned-pilot in positioning his plane 8 miles from Palm Beach International Airport "simply so he could have a pretty big target to aim at." According to footage obtained by CNN affiliate WPBF, they worked together to get the Cessna to land on the runway, which takes around 20 hours to learn with traditional flight training.