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After pilot incapacitated, air traffic tower helps passenger make emergency loopty loops

Updated: May 13, 2022

Nashville, TN - It was a harrowing experience for Bob Roberts when the pilot of the single-engine plane he was traveling on became incapacitated.

Roberts, who has no flight experience, quickly jumped into the cockpit and radioed the local air traffic tower to inform them of the situation. Steve Guthrie, a seasoned air traffic controller and flight instructor, proceeded to give Roberts a crash course in aviation.

Audio recordings captured the moments in real-time.

Air Traffic Tower (ATT): Alright, Bob. I need you to stay calm. But, here's the thing. Landing is the hardest part of flying, so before we do that, I want to get you comfortable with the controls.

Roberts: Okay.

ATT: Great. Now, I'm going to talk you through a series of aerial acrobatics to help familiarize you with the plane. Let's start with a simple Hammerhead.

Roberts: Ummm. I think maybe we should just land.

ATT: Well, I mean, I can teach you to land, but since you're already up there, you might as well have a little fun. Maybe we can start with a few emergency loopty loops? How's that sound?

Roberts: I don't know. I think landing would be best.

ATT: Okay, tell you what. Let's just make a couple of barrel rolls, and then I'll talk you down.

After about 20 minutes of loops, rolls, and spins, the flight instructor was able to help Roberts safely land the plane without incident.

The pilot is recovering at home.

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Good Mental Health is No Joke

The Inquisitor Nashville is a work of satire. We aim to promote positive mental health through the power of laughter. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.


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