Passenger with ‘no idea how to fly airplane’ lands safely after pilot gets sick

In what sounds like a scene from a fever-dream, a passenger was forced to land a plane with despite having zero flying experience after the pilot became ill.

The incident took place at Palm Beach International Airport over the weekend, and only became apparent when air traffic control tried to contact the pilot.

The plucky, but panicking passenger on the 14-seater Cessna Caravan plane radioed with 70 miles of the journey to go: “I’ve got a serious situation here.

“My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the plane.”

Having been asked to identify the plane's location, he replied that he had “no idea”, but could “see the coast of Florida in front of me, and I have no idea.”

He was then instructed: “Maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound.

“We’re trying to locate you.”

The air traffic controller instructed the man on how to descend, and it was located around 25 miles north of Palm Beach, Boca Raton.

He was then coached on how to actually land the plane, which was described as “safe and steady”.

A conversation between air traffic controllers at the airport then broke out over the radio.

One said: “You just witnessed a couple passengers land that plane.

The shocked reply came: “Did you say the passengers landed the plane?”

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“That’s correct,” the controlled replied.

“Oh, my gosh. Great job,” said the final person.

John Nance, an aviation expert told the New York Post: “This is the first time I’ve ever heard of one of these planes being landed by somebody that has no aeronautical experience.

“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.”

No details on the heroic passenger or the ill pilot have been released, but an investigation is now underway.

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