There are dicey situations in life and then there’s being in an airplane when the pilot falls unconscious and there’s not a co-pilot to take control of the plane to land the bird.
Florida air traffic controller Robert Morgan was working the tower at Palm Beach International Airport Tuesday when he received a message that they had a real bad situation in the sky.
Morgan, according to WPBF 25 News, was on a break when a coworker yelled, “There’s a passenger flying a plane that’s not a pilot and the pilot is incapacitated so they said you need to help them try and land the plane.” That passenger, Darren Harrison, was reportedly heading home from a fishing trip in the Bahamas.
It turns out Morgan is also a flight instructor who has put in over a thousand hours of flying.
Yeah, but has he ever instructed a student on how to land a plane when the student has never been in a cockpit especially when Morgan had never actually flown a Cessna Grand Caravan like the one that was in the air with an unconscious pilot?
🛬 "I've got a serious situation here," the passenger said from the cockpit. "My pilot's gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane…" Watch the landing at PBIA after the traffic controller then guided the passenger to a safety. https://t.co/gLxS88axix pic.twitter.com/Y2UA6QQC4e
— WPBF 25 News (@WPBF25News) May 10, 2022
Harrison sent Morgan a photo of the controls and he went to work getting the plane on the ground.
According to the air traffic controller, there were three key things that went into landing the plane:
“I knew the plane was flying like any other plane, I just knew I had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land,” Morgan told the TV station.
This guy deserves some sort of massive honor. Are you kidding me? Keep the guy in the cockpit calm? Give him like a lifetime VIP card at Applebee’s or something like that.
And give the Harrison a lifetime supply of Busch Light and Fireball. Hell, turn him into a 2 a.m. infomercial king. Imagine coming home from the bar and you turn on rookie pilot guy talking about his new flight academy where he takes rookies and turns them into flying aces.
“You’re damn right I landed that plane with the help of Robert Morgan. And now we have our own flight academy where YOU CAN BE A TOP GUN!”
“We’ll teach your ass how to fly from the comfort of our couch and YOU’LL be in the air learning via hands-on techniques.”
“That’s right, we’re sending you up in a plane and then our pilots will be incapacitated and YOU’LL be forced to fly the plane.”
And because it’s 2 a.m. and you are absolutely cranked up from a night of chasin’ skirts at the bar, your adrenaline is pumping and you want to feel the rush of getting up to 10,000 feet and the pilot passes out.
YOU want that adrenaline rush of living on the edge and this infomercial has opened your eyes to a bigger rush than running from cops on your quad.
$99.99 later, you’ve signed up for your first class. Saturday you’re going up in the sky.
As for the pilot in the real-life story, he’s alive and reportedly stabilized.
Listen: Passenger Forced To Land Plane At Palm Beach Airport After Pilot Falls Unconscious pic.twitter.com/8Mqik9apW2
— Adil INC ( Being Human) (@Adil_INC_) May 11, 2022
🛫 NEW VIDEO: Watch the intense moments as a passenger lands a plane after the pilot was "incoherent." Hear how the air traffic controller describes what it was like to talk him through it: https://t.co/W5I7NneRZM pic.twitter.com/GuR0Ws0ntL
— WPBF 25 News (@WPBF25News) May 11, 2022