WATCH: Cessna passenger with no flight experience makes 'absolutely' incredible' landing at major airport

WATCH: Cessna passenger with no flight experience makes 'absolutely' incredible' landing at major airport
A passenger landing a Cessna Caravan 208 at Palm Beach International Airport on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022 (screengrab/WPBF News).

A passenger onboard a single-engine Cessna Caravan 208 successfully landed the plane at Florida's Palm Beach International Airport on Tuesday afternoon despite having no experience operating an aircraft.

WPBF News reported on Wednesday that the unnamed individual had contacted Air Traffic Controllers in Fort Pierce and informed them that the pilot had unexpectedly blacked out.

“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the man told ground control. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”

A conversation then ensued to locate the plane, which the passenger was unable to do because the navigation system was down.

“Roger. What’s your position?” Air Traffic Control asked.

“I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea," the man replied. “I can’t even get my nav screen to turn on. It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?”

The Washington Post noted that the plane was cruising at an altitude of about 9,000 feet based on recordings that it obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The paper also shared the prop plane's basic specifications:

The Cessna 208 is a single-engine propeller plane measuring nearly 38 feet long and 15 feet tall, with a 52-foot wingspan, according to its manufacturer. It can be used to transport passengers and cargo. It can also be outfitted to land on water.

Over the next several minutes, ATC walked the passenger through maintaining a steady heading.

“Maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound. We’re trying to locate you," control said.

“Have you guys located me yet?” the man followed up.

He was eventually picked up on radar near Boca Raton, at which point Palm Beach ATC took over.

“Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me,” the controller said. “Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate.”

The passenger remained calm and alert, the news outlets pointed out, although he did express concern over the next steps.

“I have no idea how to stop the airplane," he said. "I don’t know how to do anything.”

ATC watched as the plane drifted toward the ground and landed safely. Chatter quickly erupted over the comms about what the passenger had just accomplished.

“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” one controller said.

“Did you say the passengers landed the plane?” another asked.

“That’s correct," the first confirmed.

“Oh, my gosh," the second exclaimed. "Great job.”

JetBlue pilot Justin Dalmolin told WPBF that his landing was delayed as the Cessna descended into Palm Beach and that he was amazed at what had just happened.

“The level of difficulty that this person had to deal with in terms of having zero flight time to fly and land a single-engine turbine aircraft is absolutely incredible,” Dalmolin said: “I remember ... when I first started flight training I was white-knuckled and sweating.”

Aviation expert John Nance, meanwhile, told WPBF that “this is the first time I’ve ever heard of one of these being landed by somebody that has no aeronautical experience." He added that an inexperienced passenger successfully landing a Cessna Caravan is unheard of.

“The person on the airplane who had no aeronautical experience listened very carefully and obviously followed instructions with great calm,” Nance said. “That’s what made the difference.”

A spokesperson for the FAA told the Post that there was a “possible pilot medical issue" and that the FAA "will investigate."

Watch the extraordinary landing below:

Passenger lands plane safely at PBIA


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