The pilot passes out, and a passenger takes the controls. It's a surprisingly common nightmare for many people, a heroic dream for a few, and a rarity in real life. Here is what happened in Florida.
Of course, us Fallowsites knew this was coming and what an absorbing piece it is. I've often wondered how I would do in a situation like this. What aviation nut hasn't? My 10-year-old Alaskan grandson spends hours watching take-offs and landings on his computer, and acquainting himself with different planes' instrument panels. When asked if he thought he could land a plane the way this guy did, he said: "If it was a 737 I could." Which brings up a question, Jim. how difficult was it for Sully to land his plane on the Hudson River? Another question: If the incapacitated Cirrus pilot passed out on the yoke and the plane was in a super-steep dive, how would the passenger have been able to get the pilot reclined back in his seat? What a story!
What an amazing story! And thanks to the author here for pointing out the technical issues behind the process, while also using the bicycle analogy to help us uninformed readers understand the process. Thanks for this!
In a news environment filled daily with grief, horror, and pain, it's nice to get a bit of good news for a change. Thanks, Mr. Fallows, for shining the spotlight on this wonderful piece of news.
Here's a video showing a recent landing at Billings, MT in my Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. The end of this clip gives you a good idea of what the final stages of a typical approach and landing look like.
I believe that in the final analysis it will come out that the pilot recovered enough to handle the landing.