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Sat, May 28, 2011

Wife Takes Controls Of SR22 When Husband Falters

He Recovers At Lower Altitude, Lands Plane

A woman flying with her husband in an SR22 from California to Colorado had to take the controls of the aircraft when he experienced breathing problems. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.


SR22 File Photo

An air traffic controller contacted the aircraft just after noon local time and noticed the 70-year-old pilot was having trouble breathing. The controller lost contact with the Cirrus, but eventually the wife came back on the radio to say her husband had become "incapacitated." The couple was reportedly flying under IMC conditions in heavy clouds.

The woman was assisted by the Longmont air traffic controller, as well as the pilot of a Great Lakes Airlines aircraft, who talked her through the procedure establishing a controlled descent. Though at one point the Cirrus swerved towards mountainous terrain, the controller was able to get the plane and its occupants back on course.

The woman, who has not been identified, told television station KCNC in Denver that she was "terrified" when she had to take control of the aircraft. She said she considered killing the airplane's engine and deploying the emergency parachute.

As the aircraft descended through 10,000 feet the pilot, who has also not been identified, recovered, and landed without further incident.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.ntsb.gov

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