A passenger on a Lufthansa Boeing 747 helps land a plane when the plane’s first officer falls ill.
No one ever expects to hear “Is there a pilot on the plane?” asked by a flight attendant mid-flight, and even more incredibly no one expects to hear someone call back that they are a pilot and can land an airplane.
The scene that seemed like it was pulled straight from a movie actually occurred on a Lufthansa flight LH403, a Boeing 747 which landed safely in Dublin at 5:30 am. The passenger who came in for the assist was an off-duty pilot for North American Airlines. After hearing that the flight was being diverted, and learning that the first officer was incapacitated with a severe migraine, the German passenger offered to help land the plane.
The unfortunate co-pilot was hospitalized upon landing and the flight continued after a six-hour delay to allow a replacement crew to fly in. The plane finally landed in Frankfurt at 4 pm local time.
A Lufthansa spokeswoman said in a statement:
“In such circumstances it’s absolutely normal procedure for the pilot, the flight captain, to continue to operate the aircraft. Also, where necessary, the cabin crew are fully trained and can be called upon to read checklists back to the pilot. The procedures are in place for such an eventuality. But the effort of the off-duty pilot were certainly appreciated.”
The spokeswoman also stated that the man who assisted in landing the plane safely was fully licensed to operate and fly the 747 jet.
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