A passenger landed a twin-engine plane in Florida yesterday after the pilot died during flight. FAA officials say he died after takeoff from a Naples airport while the plane, which had six people on board, was on autopilot and climbing toward 10,000 feet. The passenger who took over is licensed for single-engine planes but isn't certified to fly the larger King Air craft.
An air traffic controller helped the passenger down by calling a friend in Connecticut who knows the King Air plane and relaying instructions. The plane landed safely at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers; it had been headed to Jackson, Miss.