An air traffic controller printed out a picture of a plane’s cockpit controls to help a passenger with no flight experience land the plane in Florida so he could visit his pregnant wife.
Robert Morgan, who has worked as an air traffic controller for 20 years, was on his break Tuesday afternoon reading a book outside after switching shifts with a colleague, when he received an emergency call that a passenger with no flight experience was trying to land a commercial flight safely after the pilot suffered a medical emergency and fell unconscious.
Morgan had never flown the Cessna 208 Caravan plane before, WBPF reports, but is an FAA-certified flight instructor with around 1,200 hours of flying time under his belt.
He quickly decided to print out a layout of the cockpit, which he used to guide the passenger through the steps of flying and landing the plane as he struggled with the navigation system.
But soon, the flight from Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbor, the Bahamas, landed at its destination at the Palm Beach International Airport in Florida.
‘I just feel like it was probably meant to happen,’ Morgan told the news station. ‘I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land.
‘Before I knew it, he was like, ”I’m on the ground. How do I turn this thing off?”
Once he landed, Morgan said, he ran out to meet the passenger – who has not yet been identified – and the two hugged on the tarmac.
‘It felt really good to help somebody, and he told me that he was going to go home tonight to see his pregnant wife.’
Air traffic control recordings have revealed just how tense the situation was as the unnamed passenger with no flying experience tried to safely landed the Cessna light aircraft – a feat that one JetBlue pilot said was ‘nothing short of a miracle.’
In the audio, obtained by DailyMail.com, the passenger could be heard telling air traffic control in Fort Pierce, while flying over the Florida coastline around 70 miles north of his destination.
‘My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.’
An air traffic control agent then replied: ‘Roger. What’s your position?’
The audibly shocked air traffic controller in Fort Pierce then told the passenger that he would try and locate the plane when the emergency call came through over his radio.
‘Maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound,’ the controller said.
‘We’re trying to locate you.’
For the next four minutes, audio showed the passenger remained remarkably calm as he tried to work out what to do and wait for the air traffic controller to find his aircraft.
‘Have you guys located me yet?’ he asked after a while.
‘I can’t even get my nav screen to turn on. It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?’
The man was eventually found flying off the coast of Boca Raton, and Morgan, at the Palm Beach airport, eventually managed to talk him down as he guided him on how to land the plane. air traffic control at Palm Beach airport managed to talk him down, guiding him how to land the plane.
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