Passenger With No Flying Experience Incredibly Landed Plane In Florida After Pilot Suffered Medical Emergency

Passenger With No Flying Experience Incredibly Landed Plane In Florida After Pilot Suffered Medical Emergency

By Aaron Miller-

A passenger with no flying experience incredibly  landed a small plane in Florida after the pilot became “incoherent” following a medical emergency.

The unidentified passenger has been praised for his magnificent intervention, given he had no prior flying experience.

In live audio from a call made to air traffic control at Fort Pierce Tower, the unidentified passenger can be heard warning: “I’ve got a serious situation here.”

“My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane, but I’m maintaining at 9100,” the man said.

When asked by the tower for his position, he replied: “I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea.”

The dispatcher told the passenger to “maintain wings level” and “try to just follow the coast, either north or south” while they worked to locate the plane.

“Push forward on the controls and descend at a very low rate,” he added.

The passenger did not even know how to turn on the screens in the cockpit: “I can’t even get my nav screen to turn on,” he told the tower.

“It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?”

The controller – who was also a flight instructor – then walked the passenger through how to land the plane and the single-engine Cessna 208 touched down safely at the Palm Beach International Airport.

As it landed, other aircraft listened in to the broadcasts from the tower, unable to believe what had just happened.

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

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.

“Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate,” the air traffic controller can be heard telling the fledgling pilot in LiveATC audio.

“Try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We’re trying to locate you.”
Morgan made the key decision to guide the aircraft to the area’s biggest airport, helping the passenger-turned-pilot position his aircraft 8 miles out from Palm Beach International, “just so he could just have a really big target to aim at.”

“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.

“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” the tower operator can be heard telling an American Airlines pilot waiting to take off for Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Did you say the passengers landed the airplane?” the American Airlines pilot asked. “Oh, my God. Great job,” he said.
The condition of the original Cessna pilot, who had a “possible medical issue,” was not immediately known, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
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.”

There are still questions as to why there was no co-pilot to take over from the pilot suffering a mediacal emergency.

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