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I just wanted to quickly share this story that came up in my news feed this morning. WPTV in Palm Beach reports about a passenger who landed a single-engine Cessna 208 plane after the pilot became unresponsive. NBC News also covered the story.

The air traffic control records show the passenger saying: “I’ve got a serious situation here.”

“My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane,” they say.

“Roger. What’s your position?” says the air traffic controller

“I have no idea,” the passenger says. “I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea.”

Thankfully the air traffic controller was able to talk the passenger through how to land the plane, and they were able to land the plane successfully at Palm Beach International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

My own experience flying

My dad has his pilot’s license, and so I have flown with him a couple of times, though it’s been several years. I have flown myself (with an instructor) only one time about 15 or 20 years ago. I remember it being a pleasant experience but I’m sure I would have been freaking out if the pilot had gone unresponsive!

Most recently, a few months ago two of my sons were taking the Aviation Merit Badge for Scouts and the counselor had an in with the local regional airport. He invited all of the Scouts to meet up there and everyone got a turn for a 15 or 20 minute flight. Because I had two boys there, I sat in the back with both of them.

(picture of my son – not the actual passenger who landed the plane we’re talking about 😀 )

Let me tell you I DEFINITELY would have not felt uncomfortable with either of my sons flying the plane if the pilot had passed out :-). I guess we could have hoped that there was a doctor on board if there was a medical emergency!

(SEE ALSO: What Are the Odds That a Doctor Is on Board Your Plane?)

Have you ever flown a plane? Leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments


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