Passenger Lands Plane After Pilot Becomes Incapacitated

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A plane passenger and air traffic controller are being hailed heroes, after they successfully landed an aircraft with no experience after the pilot suffered a medical emergency. Passenger Darren Harrison told air traffic controllers around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon that he was flying the plane, because the pilot was incapacitated.

Air traffic controller Robert Morgan, who is also a certified flight instructor, started telling Harrison step-by-step what to do. He guided the plane to the Palm Beach International Airport. Together, they got the plane to touch down on the runway safely. Morgan says they hugged it out on the tarmac. He says, “He just gave me a big hug and said ‘Thank you so much.’ I said, ‘Man, I’m just glad that you’re okay.’ And it was an emotional moment. And he said he just wanted to get home to his pregnant wife. That felt even better.”

The plane they landed was a small Cessna aircraft that could hold a maximum of 14 people. There’s no word how many people were on board at the time. The condition of the pilot has also not been released.

Our question of the night: would you be able to land a plane under pressure?

This episode’s panel features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB News Edge contributor Ashley Anderson
WCCB TV’s Zach Aldridge