Back to Squawk list
  • 88

Air traffic controller guides passenger to safe landing at PBIA after pilot has medical emergency

Untrained passenger lands Cessna Caravan after pilot incapacitation over ocean, Bahamas->Florida. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Mike Mohle 26
Wish my first landing looked that good!
bentwing60 15
Many an ATC employee in my day had a PPL, CFI or even ATP after the controller strike debacle. These two made a successful team and I hope they saved the life of the 'other' pilot! BTB, nice landing.

Happy endings, why so few in the MSM?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

bentwing60 2
I Was involved Boron!
LHBfans 29
Cynical lot some of you. Just take a good story as a good story. The world is full enough of rubbish news.
Davif Smith 7
Precisely. Sadly I think cynicism is the default these days
Saw this on BBC News here in the UK yesterday. A heart-warming human interest story showing the good things that can happen with the human race.
bbabis 18
We don't know the whole story except the passenger was not a pilot. How much time riding with, talking to, and watching pilots can mean a lot. No matter what, great job by all and no flaps to boot. I hope the best for the pilot.
dee9bee 9
My opinion, the first controller was loading him up unnecessarily. Telling someone with presumably no flight experience to "squawk 7700 and ident" is a bit much. If the aircraft had a modern glass cockpit, heck, even I don't think I could I could do that 'on the fly'. (no Garmin experience, only Boeing)

Later, the Controller asks the would-be Pilot to "take down a phone number"...Really?
Paul Lupa 9
Asking the "Passenger-in-Control" to push the IDent is one thing, but asking him to change to another frequency is crazy. A small mistake and 'poof' he's gone for good.
Victor Engel 5
I thought the phone number thing was odd. On the other hand, that's something OTHER passengers could have helped with.
Jeff Steiner 4
Blancorilio said that they used the phone both to communicate and to locate the plane. I think he said they were concerned that the plane was going to get out of range of the radio freq (hence the desire first to switch channels). Once they connected by cell phone, they were able to use duplex and communicate much more effectively.

(With sincere apologies for the annoying unclickable links in FlightAware squawks...)
Probably to "phone home" after he landed in a field?
GraemeSmith 1
There are some things the controller just "has to do". Doesn't mean he thought it was a good idea either!
Logger1 6
Amazing is not the right word. I thought it looked like a pro landing that plane
Tyler Cippen 1
yah, facts
C B 6
Thank all that is good that he was able to keep a cool head and listen carefully to instructions. This is extremely important when dealing with emergencies because yelling, screaming and weeping solves nothing!

I love happy endings like this. BRAVO!!!!
DonDengler 8
There’s the answer for pilot shortage ! Pick the most intelligent pax and give him hands- on instructions.
Ken Hardy 4
Good job, staying calm and keeping the airspeed in the green is the first key, then following the instructions from the ground controller led to a successful landing
Joe Keifer 4
When my mom and dad were alive and my dad was flying his Beech A-36TC, my mom was always taking "pinch hitting" courses "just in case". Well done to the ATCS and pinch hitter involved in that safe landing!
Robert Mack 4
Back in (?) ‘81 or ‘82 (sorry, can’t quite remember the year) a St. Louis controller named Wayne Dimmick talked a lady down for a successful landing after her husband had suffered a heart attack. He flew contract for us from time to time - great pilot/super controller/fantastic family!
I was in one of the “Good Samaritan” search boats that happened to be a few miles away when the Coast Guard called for help. We looked for around 2 hours…nothing on the surface. Felt helpless and sad for the pilot.
Tim Dyck 6
I’m not sure which search you are referring to here but I have been on enough searches to know that even if you don’t find anything your work was essential. When your in that situation please don’t feel helpless, finding nothing means the aria you searched had nothing to find. If a plane is down finding nothing means the incident commander can eliminate the aria you searched and move resources along, the goal is to find were the plane went down and your efforts helped more then you can imagine. So to you and all involved in any search and rescue operation I say thank you for the time you spent and the work you put into it.
BTW we have a little boy missing in Northern Saskatchewan right now so if your not busy and can afford to come out his family and community would be more then happy to have you.
Tyler Cippen 4
Here is the link to the route
Tim Dyck 2
Thank You
Ric Wernicke 4
So...that scene in Airport 75 could have been real?
Tim Dyck 3
I was thinking of “Airplane” but Airport 75 was a great movie in it’s day. Have you ever seen Zero Hour from the 60s? I saw it on late night movies in the 70s and Airplane borrows a lot of it’s plot from that old movie.
alan75035 5
So did the pilot have the chicken or the fish?
James Simms 3
ATC radio work & flight path visualization.
Bob Mcintyre 3
If I were hiring pilots for a major airline, I would offer to hire and train him to airline standards. He obviously can stay calm, think, and execute during a stressful situation. There is a shortage of pilots and he would make a perfect candidate. Come on Delta, United, American, Southwest, Jet Blue, Spirit, UPS and Fed Ex, surely one if you can step up to the plate! Also think of the terrific PR you would benefit from by hiring this individual!
o 艹 3
It's good to be all right.
MSReed 3
This passenger did an incredible job. I've been in the right-hand seat of a Caravan, and it's intimidating. I stopped short of getting my license because of lack of faith in my judgment, but my mother had her license, and my dad made sure I could have landed a Twin Bonanza if I'd had to. I'm very grateful I never had the "opportunity."
When I first saw the video of the passenger landing the plane, the landing itself was a lot smoother than some of the student pilots I have seen land. Great job by all involved.
ADXbear 5
Wow, great job, I think there is more flying experience than were told about, or flight simulator at home..
To bad the airplane didn't have that new emergency landing system by Garmin.
dmanuel 7
For me, the jury is still out, until I hear the full transcript etc. His FlightAware data is pretty smooth, all things considered, did the CPC/CFI get the passenger to use the autopilot?
Most nonpilots would be concentrating on aviation, not navigation (comments in getting the Nav display on - why was it off).
No maneuvering practice, to get the feel, of the handling. No practice passes to the runway, a single descending 270 to a smooth landing. We have all heard the adage, if something is too good…..
Victor Engel 6
Seems like you'll also want a cell phone transcript, right?
Jose Suro 6
..."FlightAware data is pretty smooth..."

I looked at it and his vertical excursions were anything but. His turns looked pretty bad too. They are extremely lucky to be on the ground in one piece.

Everything aligned positively for them. Radar found them in time. Didn't lose comms. They had enough fuel. He was directed to the longest runway in the area. There was no crosswind - a stable wind on the nose. And a flight instructor / FAA controller just happened to be at that airport at the right time.
Victor Engel 5
On the other hand, reading the article as given, all parties were trying to figure out where he was. If you have no experience in finding bearings in the air, it totally makes sense to want to use the equipment on the plane to do it for you. That part doesn't at all seem odd to me.
dmanuel 3
Rather than spend time walking him through the MFD (hopefully this turbine aircraft was a TAA) power up, go to the transponder option. However, in today's ADBS-out requirement, ATC probably found him almost immediately.
Victor Engel 6
The probably found him almost immediately after they knew to start looking. Until that time, the passengers had to assess the situation, probably try to revive the pilot, figure out where to be to operate controls, such as the radio, maybe try to figure out on their own where they were, how to operate the radio, etc. Probably much of this activity happened before ATC was aware there was a situation.
dmanuel… if passenger has a YouTube channel, then you may be correct.
A E 2
Wow, just saw this...impeccable and courageous!!!!
Peter McGrath 2
"ATC: Can you tell me how many personnel are on the plane with you?
Passenger: I don’t know. Muffled"
Sounds like there's a LOT more to this story, but great job getting that aircraft on the ground safely! !
Victor Engel 1
Meh - I thought the wording was weird. Define personnel. Don't they normally ask how many souls on board?
WhiteKnight77 2
A good job by all involved to ensure that there were no fatalities.
“Can you see the autopilot button? Let’s push it and we’ll let Captain Garmin help us along…”
Chris Maguire 2
Plane owners insurance Co should shout him flying lessons .... just saved them an absolute fortune for value of plane & passengers' lives ....
Tim Dyck 3
They all made it down in one peice so I say that was a great job for all involved.
Joel Rugeno 2
Something is fishy here, nerves are on edge after the Red Bull Stunt. Let’s calm down and let the authorities check exactly what happened
Joe Keifer 1
Palm Beach is not "PBIA". It's "PBI".
Victor Engel 3
Take a close look at their URL:
Gary Andonian 1
🙂 that’s the airport’s website address..
The airport code is PBI
Victor Engel 1
The article never said PBIA was the airport code.
Where can I hear the full transcript of comms between tower and the right seat?
Justin Moore 2
Here you go. Great channel.
Could someone post a link to the flightaware data?
Ah, it's at the top.
Kinda takes the shine off one's airman certificate.
blueashflyer -6
landed long
bbabis 3
You didn't use the sarcasm font there, Cincinnati Kid.
James Simms 2
Hey, any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
Logger1 -1
Yup and dey too
Logger1 -2


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.