Travel News

Passenger: “I Have No Idea How to Fly the Airplane” When Pilot Had Medical Emergency

Written by Charlie

A passenger had to take over the controls when his pilot had a medical emergency. He said he had no idea what to do but was guided by tower controllers.

Talk about a stressful situation! On Tuesday, May 10, there was a possible medical emergency for a pilot a small private plane. This necessitated the passenger aboard to bring the craft down – even though he had no idea what he was doing.

Passenger Lands Plane With No Idea How to Fly

It was just the passenger and the pilot of the Cessna 208 as they were over the water flying in from the Bahamas. According to the logs and audio, the passenger said “I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.” The controller responded to ask the position of the aircraft and the passenger replied, “I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea.”

One of the flight controllers in the tower was a flight instructor and, according to the news report, “printed out a layout of the cockpit and used it to guide the passenger through the steps of flying and landing the plane.”

The recordings also showed that the passenger didn’t even knew how to turn on the navigation screen. There was a JetBlue pilot who was holding while the passenger landed the plane and he said that he couldn’t believe that the passenger was able to land the plane, having to recover from the dive and then stabilize it before landing. He said, “The level of difficulty that this person had to deal with in terms of having zero flight time to fly and land a single-engine turbine aircraft is absolutely incredible.”

After landing, the pilot was taken to a local hospital. I am not sure whether this incident will make the unidentified passenger want to take lessons or never want to after this experience. Kudos to him and the controllers for making a safe landing happen.

Check out WPBF for more details and videos.

Featured image is a stock photo of a Cessna 208 and not the actual aircraft involved in the incident.

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • That passenger did a pretty good job with that actually. I’ve seen student pilots taking flight lessons, and even licensed pilots do worse landings.