Pilot collapses and passenger with 'no idea how to fly' lands plane

A frantic passenger with 'no idea how to fly' was forced to take over the plane as the pilot had collapsed during the flight.

1 minute & 14 seconds read time

The passenger Darren Harrison from Lakeland, Florida, was caught in a sticky situation when his pilot had a medical emergency while he was flying over the ocean.

Harrison can be heard over radio communicating to air traffic controllers and informing them that "I've got a serious situation here" and the "pilot is incoherent, he's out". Immediately air traffic controllers can be heard asking Harrison if he knows where he is, and he responds with, "I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me, and I have no idea". The air traffic controller spoke very calmly to Harrison and instructed him to keep the wings of the plane level and to try to follow the coast while officials located the plane.

The passenger gave the air traffic controllers his cellphone number as communications via radio were fading out. Once located, Robert Morgan, a 20-year veteran air traffic controller, and flight instructor, guided Harrison back to Palm Beach International Airport, talking him through every step of the landing process using a photograph of the cockpit inside the model of the plane Harrison was flying. Harrison was able to make it back on the ground safely and actually impressed air traffic controllers with his near-perfect landing.

"I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and just tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land. It felt really good to help someone," Morgan said.

Pilot collapses and passenger with 'no idea how to fly' lands plane 01

Robert Morgan (left) and Darren Harrison (right).

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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