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80-Year Old Woman Lands Plane After Husband Dies Mid-flight

An 80-year old woman landed a plane after her husband suffered a fatal heart attack–while the plane was low on gas and with no flying experience.  I came across the audio last night and was transfixed the entire time.

Here’s the harrowing audio (it’s long, but wow, is it tense):

This article from ABC News mentioned her son was about to fly out to meet them to take over.

 “I can’t even tell her how to run a computer, let alone land a plane,” Richard Collins, 55, told ABCNews.com. “It was a very trying time. I thought I was going to lose them both.”

John and Helen Collins were flying from Florida to Wisconsin on Monday. John had not been feeling well on Thursday and the couple’s son James Collins, also a pilot, wanted to meet them in Rome, Ga., where they were stopping, to fly the rest of the way.

Here’s an interview with Captain Sully that also goes into how the airport assisted her.

They sent a plane up to meet her and had a pilot on the ground coaching her.  They did some practice rounds, and in the end she finally had to land because she was running out of fuel.  She landed hard and was injured, but nothing really serious.

I’m not sure I could have done this.  I can’t imagine calmly landing a plane when something like that happened.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. She does have flying experience. Little but she does. Probably saved her.

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