Pilot Gets Sick, Passenger Gets Landing Lesson

He landed safely despite lack of flying experience
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2013 1:37 AM CDT
Updated Oct 13, 2013 7:35 AM CDT
Pilot Gets Sick, Passenger Gets Landing Lesson
"Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?"   (Photo: Business Wire)

After the pilot of a small plane fell ill at the controls, two flight instructors were called in to the airport to give his only passenger a crash course in not crashing. The passenger—who had no flying experience—managed to bring the plane in for a safe, though somewhat bumpy, landing at England's Humberside Airport. "He made quite a good landing actually," one of the flight instructors tells the BBC. "He didn't know the layout of the airplane, he didn't have lights on so he was absolutely flying blind as well," he says. "I think he'd flown once before as a passenger but never flown an airplane before."

There were cheers in the control room as the passenger made a successful landing on his fourth attempt, says the instructor, who did his best to keep the man calm. "I think without any sort of talk-down he would have just gone into the ground and that would have been the end of it," he says. A pilot who witnessed the landing praised the "most amazing brave passenger who landed at Humberside at night with a blacked out cockpit and cross wind," the Lincolnshire Echo reports. "The boy done well, never landed a plane before and sounded calm as a cucumber on the radio," he said. Sadly, the BBC reports that the pilot died; the cause of death has not been given. (In another recent emergency landing, a plane was forced to come down ... on a California highway.)

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