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American Airlines pilot gives lifesaving advice mid flight (Youtube)

The engine on the Cessna Aircraft failed mid-flight on Friday right over a busy interstate. With the help of an American Airlines pilot over the radio, the plane was able to land safely. ( More...

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George Wilhelmsen 13
A student and instructor on board, and they needed help?
This was covered by my instructor (the late Don B) as part of my flight training. We even lined up several times after he chopped the power on me and said "You just lost your engine - where are you going to land?"

This just makes my head hurt. Yes the student should have been asking for guidance - from the instructor on board.

I'm glad the outcome was positive, but it sounds like the instructor needs to be re-trained to me.
John D 5
I was thinking the same thing.
Common Core pilots?
David Bristol 0
It's one thing to have your instructor reach over and pull the power. It's another to know that you just lost an engine and have no go around option if you didn't line up correctly. Getting some reassurance on the radio never hurts.
Michael Stansfield 13
"Put it down in front of them and they will see you and stop." Well... I would hope they would stop, but who knows with the people on the roads today!
Jefd Falkiner 17
I wonder if a Tesla on "Autopilot" would recognize a Cessna in front of it? :)
jptq63 3
It was on Alligator Alley...; generally agree about the CFI, but given recent weather, I wonder if the visibility on the road traffic was not great. I am trying to A) give a benefit of doubt B) regardless of training and such, I would not feel comfortable landing just on a roadway and any extra bit of eyes and encouragement giving an assist would just make my confidence higher.... No matter how much anyone may TRAIN for an emergency (any type), I sure hope no one ever actually has an emergency; rather prevent anything of the like before the flight.
SmittySmithsonite 1
Just don't try this in Massachusetts ... hahaha!
mary susan watkins 3
the point is, they made it down to the gronud safely and from the overhead pictures,the plane was in good shape and so were its occupants..they didnt hit any vehickes,luckily,and the plane was on a grassy median..i too wonder about the instructor on board, but kudos to the aa pilot for helping..
Janet Clark 2
Amazing story. Good looking out AA pilot and thanks cessna pilot for following good advice.
royalbfh 2
so if the voice on the 172 radio was the instructor then we should be worried. if the other pilot had not been on freq would the 172 just made a big flaming hole? probably not. pilots should always be a little worried of some type of emergency but to exclaim like that? student maybe. seemed odd in my opinion.
WhiteKnight77 2
Any calm voice can help a panicked person. BZ to the AA pilot for the help to get instructor and student to the ground.
rick SCOTT 2
So quick to criticize. SMH.
Paul Wisgerhof 4
I think I would find a new instructor. Oh, and I bet the FAA suspends the CFIs license.
Robert Cowling 1
Suspension? Well, he did kinda panic. I'm sure the student got a lesson though...
Robert Cowling 1
Unless it was a fuel issue, like 'ran out'.

FAA: 'So, you did a pre-flight check, right? And you didn't see that the plane was nearly empty?'
Mark Harris 3
So where was the "instructor" during all of this?
Mary Virginia Avery 2
My thought exactly…
Mike Webb 3
According to the caption on ABC's video, the rather shakey voice you hrar getting instructions from the American Airlines captain IS the flight instructor.
chugheset 2
Pilot: Should I put it down on the highway?
Sarcastic AA Pilot: No, you're much better in those tall trees over there...

Talk about a silly question.
Robert Oldershaw 7
Silly question? In hindsight, yes. But when confronted with an emergency, despite all the training, some freeze even when things seem so obvious and clear to others. Kudos to the AA pilot.
Robert Cowling 4
The AA pilot brought assurance to the panicked FI. I mean, you can train for that all day but until it happens to you, you never know what you are going to do. I'm a scuba diver, and had a pretty serious incident happen, and my training kicked in in a couple of seconds. Sure I panicked, who wouldn't, but I realized that wasn't going to fix anything. I calmly assessed the situation, and followed my training, and survived. I told my instructor when I saw him a few years later that I owed him my life, and he said that I owed him nothing. It was ME that saved myself. And he was right. It's something I will never forget. That incident was very potentially life changing, for sure...
Lee Withers 2
Not entirely silly, there may have been the question as to landing in that broad median or chance it with the cars
jptq63 1
No trees (for the most part) there, just alligators (mating season ending), snakes, and Everglades.
No way man, may have been some endangered species in the tree....
AWAAlum 1
I would have thought putting down on the nice flat green area - free of traffic - would have been a more attractive option rather than in front of a car on the highway itself. Yes? No?
Daniel Hostetler 7
If it's your only option...sure. Grass can hide obstructions and dangers such as ditches, holes or things like discarded metal or whatever which can be deadly and certainly not something you want to risk if you have better options. A nice wide paved highway with lighting and access to help is always the best choice in an emergency. Surprisingly, people tend to avoid a plane that lands in front of them and chances are someone has already called for help.
George Wilhelmsen 2
I agree.

While I am particular in how my plane is maintained (and thus in 1100 hours of flying time, I somehow have never run out of gas or had my engine quit in flight - and now I've jinxed myself...), I have a simple philosophy:
The prop is there to keep me cool. If you don't believe that, watch me start sweating when it stops at 5,000 feet.
Once the prop stops, the plane is a life support system to get me to the ground so I can walk away. I will aim for the flattest, most inexpensive place I can find, and put it in.

I don't care if the plane gets damaged or destroyed. I can always get a new plane. As long as I walk away, I'm good.

I've never had to test that as of yet, and with proper maintenance and training, I never will.
AWAAlum 1
I see what you're saying. And you'd be glad you weren't flying with me cos I THINK I'd rather gamble on there being no holes in the turf rather a driver being alert enough to act appropriately and not freeze.
WhiteKnight77 1
It isn't just holes, but trash that includes furniture, tire treads, and the like.
Robert Cowling 3
Green areas are also subject to being worse than an arrestor zone. Thoroughly soaked green areas could stop a speeding plane cold. Some form of solid surface is a lot more reliable. Usually. Roads do tend to have poles, and mailboxes, and curbs, and cars, and people, but if you can make it fit, you're better off on solid surfaces.

Actually the 'green area' issues are also why people were surprised Sully chose the river, but he really didn't have too much to choose from. He lucked out. The passengers lucked out. Landing a commercial plane on a highway would have been a real feat. Especially in New York, but many in the industry said he should have tried to make it to an airport. He did what he had to do. Same with this pilot.
George Wilhelmsen 1
Posts like this show posters don't know anything about airplanes.

If you are landing on questionable fields, you leave the GEAR UP (if you can).

That way, you minimize snags that can suddenly arrest your landing.

Otherwise, you bring it in and drop the speed as low as possible, and stall the airplane in. So your forward speed is minimal, which allows you to get through some dips and valleys.

If faced with a power loss and my choice of an open field or a road, I'd look for the one with the least hazards, and land there.

It's part of your pilot training. You get tested on this during training, and critiqued after the training on what you chose to do.

I'm also a certified open water diver. The two skills are NOT equivalent - scuba is much, much simpler.
Lee Withers 1
Most student pilots do not learn in aircraft we re-tracts and if I see through the weeds right this one doesn’t.. Please don’ take this personally.but I see a lot of comments on articles that the message goes off a tangent ignoring the real details.
George Wilhelmsen 1
Not at all. It was a response to the opinion of the non-pilot above.

I agree that most students can't afford to learn in a retract. The training is the same though - and good instructors explain this during the training program, since they cover off-field landings as part of your pilot training.
jptq63 1
Lots of green, but no solid ground except the highway and the rest area (~ mile marker 35 on Alligator Ally); i.e. this is the Everglades. They were flying in one of the concentrated practice areas; there is a grass strip (solid ground when not wet from rain) about 12 miles SE along the Miami canal where it intercepts the parallel canals from where they ended up.
George Pepe 1
Aww so sweet. (I meant that, no sarcasm intended.)
jptq63 1
Knowing the area a bit (and double checking with Google Earth), I wonder if he might have thought about trying to put down in the rest area (~ mile marker 35) vs. the roadway? Light poles would be obstructions near the roadway as well as the rest area here; rest of roadway is pretty much clear, straight and flat.
Scott Campbell 0
How do you know that's not the instructor - Arm chair boobs :)
vegaskukichyo 0
Thank God it wasn't a RyanAir pilot. They would have been doomed!
Jim Mitchell -2
American Airlines make so many oddball landings that you wouldn't want anybody but helping you to land
William Crowl 2
Aw Goose, sometimes you crack me up....
Robert Cowling 1
I don't think any one airline is better or worse than another, although I have had some 'interesting' RJ landings...
D. W. -7
You betcha! And in FL, likely with a gun in hand. Cowboys and idiots.


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