Pilotless

By WJG

September 14, 2022

There were rare instances when pilots made a flight scary for their passengers.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET343 was over Addis Ababa Bole International Airport when it did not descend to land on 15 August, CNN reported. Air traffic control could not contact the pilots and the plane overshot the runway and continued flying at 37,000 feet.

It was later learned that the plane was on autopilot, which triggered an alarm at the cockpit when it overflew the runway, waking up the napping pilots.

The plane en route from Khartoum, Sudan to the Ethiopian capital landed safely 25 minutes later, according to CNN.

In May, the pilot of a small plane that flew out of the Bahamas became incapacitated and his passenger, Darren Harrison, didn’t know how to fly.

Harrison called air traffic control and flight instructor Robert Morgan guided him in flying the single-engine Cessna along the coast. Morgan then instructed Harrison to land at the Palm Beach International airport which he safely did.

A non-pilot may not always be able to land a plane even if remotely guided by a real pilot.

Last week, a small plane was circling over Mississippi, USA for five hours since its takeoff at the Tupelo Regional Airport at past 5 a.m.

Flying the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air C90A was Cory Wayne Patterson, 29. He called the emergency hotline 911 and told the dispatcher he was going to crash the plane into a local Walmart store.

Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka ordered people from the Walmart and a nearby convenience store to evacuate, WTVR reported.

Police learned that Patterson flew the plane after filling up its fuel tank at the airport, where he works at the Tupelo Aviation company as a refueler and has access to aircrafts. Authorities negotiated with Patterson and convinced him to land.

Patterson could not land the plane; he was not a licensed pilot and didn’t have adequate flight training, according to WTVR. A private pilot coached him to land to no avail.

Later, the plane safely landed on a soybean farm near Ripley, Mississippi, about 70 kilometers northwest of Tupelo. Patterson was not injured and the plane was intact.

Police then arrested Patterson and charged him with grand larceny for stealing the plane and making terroristic threats. His motive remains unknown.


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