Passenger Helps Land 747 After Co-Pilot Falls Ill
Luckily, the Good Samaritan was licensed to fly jumbo jets
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2012 3:27 PM CST
File photo of a Lufthansa Boeing 747.   (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

(Newser) – A Lufthansa 747 made a smooth landing at Dublin's airport this week, an event made notable because one of the passengers was helping in the cockpit. As the Irish Independent explains, when the co-pilot fell ill with a crushing migraine, the main pilot got permission to divert to Dublin. At that point, one of the passengers on the flight from Newark to Frankfurt came forward to lend a hand—it helped that he is licensed to fly jumbo jets with another airline.

"In such a situation, the pilot could have secured the assistance of one of the cabin crew, but in this case there was a licensed pilot on board," says a Lufthansa spokesman. "This is a viable procedure in such a very rare situation." The plane got a new crew after landing and was back in the air later in the morning. The Good Samaritan has not been identified.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
TonyS.
Nov 22, 2012 1:26 PM CST
Ah yes.... it wouldn't be the internet if there wasn't someone using a rambling and incoherent diatribe to shoe-horn American politics into a completely unrelated topic. I would imagine the air crew or Air Traffic Control cross-referenced the passenger list with the database of all pilots qualified to fly multi-engined aircraft, or failing that, civil or military pilots in general. A fully-loaded 747 carries hundreds of people, statistically there was a good chance there was another pilot on board. One of the flight crew is quietly dispatched to the seat, and Bob's your uncle. If that turned up no hits then, as mentioned, they'd have one of the other flight crew fill in as presumably they've got some minimal instruction. Kind of a cool story, hardly a nail-biter. I wonder what the mechanism would be with computers and telecommunication. In the old days I guess they would communicate with their company or ATC via radio and the registry books would be checked manually. Lufthansa rolled out wireless in-flight internet so the air crew could probably access the pilot database through their company mid-flight themselves.
HMunster
Nov 22, 2012 7:58 AM CST
That must have been a comforting announcement for the passengers to hear: "Umm... By any chance is there a passenger on board who knows how to land a Jumbo Jet?..."
HANKHILL
Nov 22, 2012 7:50 AM CST
nice job good sam! god bless!