Saturday, September 30, 2023

Passenger Without Flight Experience Lands Plane From the Bahamas When Pilot Became Ill

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Passenger Darren Harrison, without flight experience, piloted a single-engine plane that left the Bahamas on Tuesday, springing into action after his pilot became “incoherent.”

The pilot of the plane was reportedly not feeling well and was slumped over the controls of the CESSNA208 when Harrison gained control and prevented the plane from heading into a nosedive.

Robert Morgan in the aqua t-shirt (on the left) stands with Darren Harrison, the passenger turned pilot.

According to reports, Harrison who had just left the Bahamas from a fishing trip, had to climb over three rows of seats into the cockpit, to remove the incapacitated pilot out of the seat and put on a pair of headphones and make contact with air traffic control.

“I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane,” he said in a call to air traffic control at Fort Pierce tower.

Robert Morgan, a certified flight instructor helped to guide Harrison to Palm Beach Airport.

“I just said, ‘You look great, you’re a little fast, what I want you to do is grab the throttle. Just pull that back a little bit cause we need you be slowed down,’” Morgan recalled.

Morgan offered short instructions on how to fly the plane and ensuring that the passenger understood each instruction, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

As Harrison was preparing to land the plane, it disappeared from the radar but Morgan described to him what the runway was going to look like as the plane descended, how to keep the nose off the ground until the main gear touchdown and how to brake and adjust levers.

“It must’ve been no more than 10 seconds. And I kept trying to talk to him and he said, ‘I’m on the ground, what do you want me to do now?'” Morgan said.

“My heart just kind of sank just thinking, ‘Thank God.'”

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