(DailyExpertNews) — “I have no idea how to fly the plane.”
The pilot of his single-engine Cessna 208 had “become incoherent,” the passenger told air traffic controllers Tuesday afternoon, according to audio from LiveATC.net.
It was, he emphasized, a ‘serious situation’.
Air traffic controller Robert Morgan, a certified flight instructor, was on hiatus when the call came in from the plane departing from the Bahamas.
“I said, ‘Oh boy.'”
Morgan learned that the passenger on the line had never flown an airplane, but had been in aviation and seen other pilots fly.
“He was very calm,” Morgan said. “He said, ‘I don’t know how to fly. I don’t know how to stop this thing when I get to the runway.'”
Morgan had never flown this Cessna model. He pulled out a photo of the instrument panel layout and began to guide his new apprentice step by step.
Air traffic controller Robert Morgan, left, helped Darren Harrison, right, land the plane after the pilot became disjointed.
Thanks to Robert Morgan
“Try to keep the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push the controls forward and descend at a very slow pace,” the air traffic controller tells the young pilot in LiveATC audio.
“Try to follow the coast north or south. We’re trying to locate you.’
Morgan made the key decision to direct the plane to the area’s largest airport, helping the passenger-turned-pilot position his plane 8 miles from Palm Beach International, “so he could just have a really big target to hit on.” to target.”
Together, they got the Cessna to land on the runway, according to footage obtained by WPBF, a DailyExpertNews-affiliated company — something that, with normal flight instruction, takes about 20 hours to learn.
The landing scored 10 out of 10, according to Morgan.
“It felt like I was going to cry then because I had built up so much adrenaline,” Morgan said. “I was very happy that it worked and that no one was injured.”
Other pilots were stunned when another air traffic controller relayed what had just happened, according to other audio captured by LiveATC.net.
“You just saw some passengers land that plane,” the tower operator tells an American Airlines pilot waiting to take off for Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Did you say the passengers landed the plane?” the American Airlines pilot asked. ‘Oh my God. Great job,’ he said.
The condition of the original Cessna pilot, who had a “possible medical problem,” was not immediately known, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
After the Cessna landed, Morgan met his new apprentice, who gave him a big hug and thanked him.
“It was an emotional moment. He said he just wanted to go 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.”
Aaron Cooper, Ross Levitt and Laura James of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.