More than one professional in the field of aviation was impressed by the display of calm and courage as a passenger lands a plane in Florida!
One never knows what the day will bring, and one traveler-turned-pilot knows that especially well after he had to literally take control(s) and land a plane, having absolutely no previous flying experience!
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When the pilot of the Cessna Caravan 208 experienced a medical emergency and became unconscious, it was up to the two men flying on that aircraft to land it-not an easy thing to do by any account!
Primarily a utility plane, the Cessna 208 is a small plane, holding between 10 and 14 individuals. When the pilot of the privately-owned plane fell forward onto the control panel, the vessel was traveling at 180 miles per hour and at an altitude of 9,500 feet.
In 16 seconds, the plane nosedived and dropped over 3,000 feet. That's when passenger Darren Harrison moved into the pilot's seat and contacted air traffic control at Fort Pierce.
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For about four minutes, air traffic controllers there tried to locate the plane as Darren flew over the ocean with the Florida coast in sight and tried to determine his whereabouts. After what must have seemed like an eternity, radar located the Cessna off the coast of Boca Raton. And Darren connected with Bobby Morgan at Palm Beach International Airport.
Passenger Miraculously Lands Plane In Florida
Fortunately, Mr. Morgan, an air traffic controller and a flight instructor, was working an extra shift at PBIA on that day. He spoke with Darren and guided him through the process of landing the plane.
The control panel had gone black, presenting an additional challenge. But, Bobby advised Darren to pull back on the throttle, line the plane up with the runway, and slowly begin to descend. Amazingly, Darren was able to do just as instructed and execute a perfect landing!
The pilot was rushed to the hospital upon landing. Bobby and Darren took pictures, Darren grateful for the guidance and Bobby proud of his "best student ever."
John Nance, an aviation expert, commended Darren on his performance. "The person on the airplane who had no aeronautical experience listened very carefully and obviously followed instructions with great calm. That's what made the difference."
The pilot had surgery for a life-threatening condition, but he was later released from the hospital. The readiness on the part of those in the air traffic control towers, on the ground, and in the aircraft brought about a happy ending on that day. What a blessing that is!
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"So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Matthew 24:44
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h/t: NBC News
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