Off-Duty Pilot Assists Landing A Boeing 747

Illustration for article titled Off-Duty Pilot Assists Landing A Boeing 747

When the first officer of Lufthansa flight 403 became ill yesterday, an off-duty airline pilot flying as a passenger took the controls and helped land the plane in Dublin.

We were all counting on him.

The flight was diverted from Frankfurt to Dublin when the first officer got sick, and the off-duty pilot offered his assistance when the cabin crew announced the destination change.

Advertisement

A Lufthansa spokesperson told The Guardian, "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."

No one was injured, but the landing is currently under examination by Ireland's Air Accident Investigations Unit.

(Hat tip to ttyymmnn!)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`

DISCUSSION

TexasEdition
TexasEdition

Notwithstanding the entertaining Airplane! jokes, I am confused by this situation.

- Why couldn’t the co-pilot land the plane?

- How did the off-duty pilot find out the pilot was ill? Deductive reasoning via the destination change?

- What was the pilot ill with?

- Why were you counting on him Raph? Were you on the plane too?

"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."

That doesn’t make sense to me. It sounds like they are implying that the off-duty pilot didn’t need to land the plane; that part makes sense. But, why would "trained" cabin crew need to read back checklists in this situation? Are they looking at WebMD to diagnose his symptoms?

I don’t know. There are just a lot of (and lack of) confusing details here.