On what was meant to be a routine flight from Bermuda to Florida, Darren found himself with a bit of a problem, his pilot had just become unconscious. But Darren didn’t lose his cool, he simply got on the radio and made the following statement to ground control
““I’ve got a serious situation here about the pilot, he has gone… incoherent and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
How he didn’t just start screaming and saying “OH MY GOD” is beyond me, I have been more panicked trying to merge lanes on Hoddle St after a Collingwood game at the MCG, but his cool head served him well.
Having already dropped 800 metres in a minute, the controller on the line first had Darren focus on telling him where they were.
“I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida in front of me, and I have no idea.” Darren said.
After more metres of dropping and much contact between different aircraft controllers, the plane, a Turboprop, was located.
An air traffic controller at Palm Beach International, Robert Morgan, who seconds earlier was happily reading a book, took over giving out instructions to the plane.
He did this by using a printout of the control panel and directing Darren on what his next moves were.
Together they navigated the aircraft to Palm Beach Airport as the runway is a little over 3km long, and after 40 nervous minutes they were ready to land.
And land they did. A landing so textbook it makes me think what some of the pilots of a few domestic flights I’ve taken were doing.
Once on the ground Darren only had one more question
“OK, how do I stop this thing?”
Which we are not sure if he meant the engine or his elevated heart rate, but either way a happy* outcome.
*Except for the fact that his car was not at that airport
You can see the footage of the landing here: