Talk-down aircraft landing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A talk-down landing may be attempted in the event of the death or incapacitation of an aircraft pilot. It involves a passenger or other unqualified person flying the aircraft to a landing with assistance from radioed instructions either from the ground or a nearby aircraft.

There is no record of a talk-down landing of a large commercial aircraft. There have, however, been incidents where qualified pilots travelling as passengers or flight attendants on commercial flights have taken the co-pilot's seat to assist the pilot.[1]

  • In August 2000, the pilot of a single-engine Piper Cherokee Six collapsed over the controls. A passenger, Henry Anhalt, took over the controls of the plane and managed to land the airplane safely with radio talk-down assistance from an airborne flight instructor. He, his wife, and their three sons landed safely, although the aircraft was damaged on landing.[2]
  • In an incident in April 2009, a passenger took over control of a twin-engine turboprop Beechcraft King Air after the pilot died, and managed to land the plane safely. The passenger was a pilot but had never flown a Beechcraft King Air before.[3]
  • On 27 May 2011, a woman landed an airplane of unidentified type, with talk-down assistance from another airborne pilot, after her husband, the pilot, had breathing difficulties.[4]
  • In April 2012, the pilot of a twin-engine Cessna 414 aircraft lost consciousness while flying in Wisconsin. His 80-year-old wife Helen Collins, who had only piloted a single-engine aircraft many years earlier, was able to contact air traffic control. Air traffic controllers and the pilot of a shadow aircraft then provided instruction, and she was able to crash-land the plane without serious injury. Her husband did not survive his medical emergency.[5]
  • In October 2013, the pilot of a Cessna 172 aircraft became unwell whilst flying from Skegness, Lincolnshire, England. His 77-year-old passenger, John Wildey, who had served in the Royal Air Force but not as a pilot, controlled the plane for over an hour and landed it safely at Humberside Airport under instruction from air traffic controllers, two flying instructors, and the crew of a Westland Sea King helicopter. The pilot was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.[6] A TV documentary entitled Mayday: The Passenger Who Landed a Plane was made about the incident, including interview footage with Wildey himself.[7][8]
  • On 31 August 2019, the instructor of a two-seater Cessna 152 aircraft (registration VH-TFR) lost consciousness whilst on a flying lesson from Jandakot Airport, Perth, Western Australia. The 29-year-old student, Max Sylvester, on his first flying lesson in a Cessna 152, landed the aircraft undamaged at Jandakot following practice approaches, assisted by ATC and an instructor via radio. The pilot was taken to hospital and was in stable condition.[9]
  • On 10 May 2022, the passenger of a private Cessna Caravan (N333LD) with no prior flying experience landed the airplane with directions from an air traffic controller at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida. [10] [11]


  1. ^ Bucktin, C. (3 June 2014). "Off-duty pilot lands plane and saves 160 passengers after captain suffers heart attack". Mirror Online. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Passenger lands plane safely". ABC News. 7 January 2006. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies". USA Today. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Passenger lands plan after pilot becomes ill". AOL News. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Wisconsin wife, 80, lands plane for dying pilot husband". ABC News. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  6. ^ Hui, Sylvia (9 October 2013). "Passenger lands small plane after pilot falls ill". The Associated Press. Archived from the original on 15 September 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  7. ^ Martin, Chris (27 March 2014), Mayday: The Passenger Who Landed a Plane (Documentary), Fi Glover, John Wildey, John Cameron, Arrow Media, retrieved 10 December 2023
  8. ^ mayday the passenger who landed a plane 720p hdtv x264, retrieved 10 December 2023
  9. ^ "Trainee pilot makes emergency landing at Jandakot Airport after instructor blacks out". ABC. 1 September 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Passenger Who Has "No Idea" Lands Plane After Pilot Falls Ill". AirlineRatings. 10 May 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Cessna 208 Caravan, N333LD: May 10, 2022 at Palm Beach International Airport (KPBI), Palm Beach County, Florida". Kathryn's Report. Retrieved 23 May 2022.