A passenger with no flying experience landed a plane at a Florida airport after the pilot became incapacitated
The pilot on his single-engine Cessna 208 had "gone incoherent," the passenger was telling air traffic controllers Tuesday afternoon, according to audio from LiveATC.net. It was, he stressed, a "serious situation."
Air Traffic Controller Robert Morgan, a certified flight instructor, was on a break when the call came in from the plane, headed out from the Bahamas.
"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 told CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday.
"I said, 'Oh boy.'"Morgan learned the passenger on the line had never flown a plane -- but had been around aviation and seen other pilots fly.
"He was really calm," Morgan said. "He said, 'I don't know how to fly. I don't know how to stop this thing if I do get on the runway.'"
Morgan had never flown this model Cessna. He pulled up a picture of the instrument panel's layout and started guiding his new student step-by-step.
The landing rated 10-out-of-10, in Morgan's view."I felt like I was going to cry then, because I had so much adrenaline built up," Morgan said. "I was really happy that it worked out and that nobody got hurt."
Other pilots were stunned, as another air traffic controller relayed across the airwaves what had just unfolded, other audio captured by LiveATC.net indicates.
After the Cessna's landing, Morgan met his new student, who gave him a big hug and said thank you.
"It was an emotional moment. He said that he just wanted to get home to his pregnant wife," Morgan said. "And that felt even better." "In my eyes, he was the hero," Morgan said. "I was just doing my job."
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