14/06/2024
Posts

Can any passenger land a plane? Is there such an example?


Many people wonder if they would be able to land a commercial airplane in an emergency situation, especially if the pilot were incapacitated. It’s a question that’s been debated for years, and while it’s technically possible, it’s not something that should be attempted without proper training and preparation.

The reality is that commercial airplanes are complex machines. And even pilots with years of experience undergo extensive training to learn how to fly them. However, there have been a few rare instances where non-pilots have successfully landed planes in emergency situations.

Emergency Transponder codes
Emergency Transponder Codes

One such example occurred in 2001 when the pilot of a Cessna 172 suffered a heart attack mid-flight. The passenger, John Wildey, had no pilot training but managed to communicate with air traffic control and land the plane safely with their guidance. Wildey attributed his success to his calm demeanor and the fact that he had some knowledge of flying from watching flight simulators.

Another example occurred in 2013 when the pilot of a small plane in Australia collapsed during a flight. The only other person on board was a passenger with no flying experience, but with the guidance of air traffic control, he was able to safely land the plane.

While these examples show that it’s technically possible for a non-pilot to land a plane in an emergency situation, it’s important to note that they are extremely rare. In both cases, the passengers were able to communicate with air traffic control and receive guidance throughout the landing process. They also remained calm under pressure, which is a crucial factor in any emergency situation.



The Risks of Untrained Passengers Attempting to Land a Plane

It’s essential to understand that attempting to land a commercial airplane without proper training and preparation is incredibly risky. The chances of success are slim. And the risks to both the passengers and the people on the ground are significant.

Even if a passenger managed to get the plane on the ground without crashing, they would still have to taxi the plane to a safe location, which can be just as challenging as the landing itself. Furthermore, attempting to take control of a plane can create chaos in the cabin, which could lead to injuries or fatalities.

In the end, it’s important to remember that commercial airplanes are designed to be flown by trained pilots. If an emergency situation were to occur, the best course of action would be to remain calm and listen to the guidance of the flight crew and air traffic control. Attempting to take control of the plane without proper training and preparation is not a viable option and could potentially put everyone on board at risk.

Flaps definition and types
Can any passenger land a plane? Is there such an example?

In addition, in a study conducted on January 2, 2023 it is asked that… (Link to survey)
“How confident are you that you could safely land a passenger airplane in an emergency situation, relying only on the assistance of air traffic control?”
The answers to the question are quite interesting.
As a result of the survey, almost half of the participants think that they can land a plane only with ATC assistance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while there have been rare instances where non-pilots have successfully landed planes in emergency situations, it’s not something that should be attempted without proper training and preparation. The risks are significant, and the chances of success are slim. Therefore, it’s always best to rely on the expertise of trained pilots in normal flying conditions, and in the event of an emergency. Also it’s essential to remain calm and follow the guidance of the flight crew and air traffic control.

References:

  1. “Non-Pilots Who Landed a Plane in an Emergency.” Reader’s Digest, 18 May 2021, www.rd.com/list/non-pilots-who-landed-plane-emergency/.
  2. “Can Anyone Land a Plane?” Airline Ratings, 16 Apr. 2018, www.airlineratings.com/news/can-anyone-land-plane/.
  3. “Can Passengers Actually Land a Commercial Airliner?” Pilot Training System, 26 Oct. 2021, www.pilottrainingsystem.com/blog/can-passengers-actually-land-a-commercial-airliner/.
  4. “John Wildey on Landing a Plane with No Lessons.” BBC News, 15 May 2014, www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-cornwall-27400673.
  5. “Passenger Lands Plane After Pilot Collapses in Australia.” BBC News, 29 Aug. 2013, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-23896984.