Passenger with no flying experience lands small plane after onboard emergency

Pilot suffered medical emergency, causing passenger to land plane in West Palm Beach

A man with no flying experience was forced to land the small plane he was on Tuesday in West Palm Beach.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A passenger with no flying experience landed a small plane Tuesday afternoon in West Palm Beach after the pilot suffered a medical emergency.

And he did it with the help of one very skilled air traffic controller.

Robert Morgan said he was outside the tower, reading a book on a break, when he heard there was an unexperienced passenger flying a Cessna.

Morgan is a flight instructor, with 1,200 hours of flight under his belt and 20 years of experience in tower control, so he knew he was the man for the job.

Morgan immediately got in the passenger’s ear, trying to help him get down safely.

Morgan says he had never flown the specific Cessna model, so he used a picture of the cockpit to guide the novice back down.

When he asked the passenger what he was seeing, the passenger said he was just passing the shoreline near Boca Raton.

Within moments, what seemed like a nightmare was now a thing of the past.

“I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just knew I had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land,” Morgan said. “Before I knew it, he was like, ‘I’m on the ground. How do I turn this thing off?’”

Morgan and the passenger met on the tarmac and hugged it out.

Officials haven’t released the name of the passenger or the pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.