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vc10man

Ex-USAF Pilot Helps FO Land

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Just heard on the BBC that during a flight in the USA, the FA put an announcement asking for anyone with flying experience.A retired ex-USAF pilot on board went up front, where he found the Capt had collapsed with a heart attack. The Female FO asked the USAF pilot if he had any experience of flying, and told him to shut the cockpit door. After easing the Capt out, he helped the FO make an emergency landing with a 737, something that she had never done before, at an airport in Omaha. Incredible.

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Incredible story, and a situation simmers like us have have dreamed would happen to us countless times!   I have heard many times a call for a one person cockpit, but it's because of the risk of an event like this, particularly heart attacks and captains nearing their golden years, that assure that a two man crew will remain the norm for basic safety reasons.   I even know that some airlines require their cockpit crew to eat meals from two separate kitchens to reduce the risk of food borne illness during flight. 

 

I recall hearing of a similar event to this involving the captain of a Continental 777, and the two copilots were able to bring the flight to a safe conclusion in 2009: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-06-18-continental-pilot-dies_N.htm

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a situation simmers like us have have dreamed would happen to us countless times!

 

From the things I have read here... I know!... I know!...

 

:LMAO:

 

“There was a moment,” he recalled. “We both had about five seconds to size each other up. She was wondering about my level of experience. Was I a Cessna driver — or a professional pilot?”

 

Neither!  "I was a 'professional PMDG pilot!"  :yahoo:

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Everything I read says he was a current USAF pilot at the time of the event. The USAF received a request for information from news sources and provided a publicity photo.

 

mark-gongol.jpg?enlarged

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Everything I read says he was a current USAF pilot at the time of the event.

 

I don't know about current... saw him on FOX earlier this morning and he did say he was a B-1B pilot.

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Thanks for that corrective Update, as I could only go by what I heard on my local BBC Radio(local as opposed to National) when the presenter, broadcast that news and was agog at hoe he stepped into the breach, or cockpit, in this instance. Whichever, he helped the female FO make a safe emergency landing. All safe. Result.

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This is a good story. The right person in the right place at the right time.

 

One question; The FO had never done a landing before or never done a declared emergency landing before or perhaps never a landing without PIC assistance?

 

Regards,

Mel

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Thank you Henry, for giving this the complete picture, because, when I heard it this morning at around 8am, I was not really paying the radio presenter(folks in the North-West England will know of him, Allan Beswick), a great deal of attention, until I heard him sort of in a jokey way relate that story, but he obviously only skimmed the details that your link provides in depth.

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I saw him on the Fox News Channel this morning and he said he did not have to provide assistance as she was very calm and handled the situation professionally.  I liked the fact that when she asked him what do you fly and he said B1 Bombers.  It was great that there were several nurses on board too to take care of the Captain!

 

Best regards,

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I did watch the interview, first I hope the captain recovered and is going to be ok. It was a great team effort and everyone deserves to be praised (crew, medical assistance, and the military pilot for assisting the FO)

 

One thing that bothers me a bit is how the press paints the picture that the "pilot" had a medical emergency and that a passenger helped landing the plane.

 

The military pilot was very humble and pointed out that all he did was assist the FO with radio and checklists, the FO flew the plane. It is part of our training to handle emergencies, and both "pilots" are qualified to handle such issues.  I was taken back by how the journalist made it look like the FO was perhaps not capable of handling this problem, it is not the first time a member of the flight crew is incapacitated.

 

I am not trying to dismiss the credits the military pilot deserves for offering his help, it was very gracious of him to get up there and help the FO out, and I would definitely appreciate someone offering their help if I am on a flight and faced with the same issue.

 

 I have a problem with how the press is not explaining to the public that there is a flight crew in the cockpit,(not just a "pilot").

 

Best regards,

 

John.

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I did watch the interview, first I hope the captain recovered and is going to be ok. It was a great team effort and everyone deserves to be praised (crew, medical assistance, and the military pilot for assisting the FO)

 

One thing that bothers me a bit is how the press paints the picture that the "pilot" had a medical emergency and that a passenger helped landing the plane.

 

The military pilot was very humble and pointed out that all he did was assist the FO with radio and checklists, the FO flew the plane. It is part of our training to handle emergencies, and both "pilots" are qualified to handle such issues. I was taken back by how the journalist made it look like the FO was perhaps not capable of handling this problem, it is not the first time a member of the flight crew is incapacitated.

 

I am not trying to dismiss the credits the military pilot deserves for offering his help, it was very gracious of him to get up there and help the FO out, and I would definitely appreciate someone offering their help if I am on a flight and faced with the same issue.

 

I have a problem with how the press is not explaining to the public that there is a flight crew in the cockpit,(not just a "pilot").

 

Best regards,

 

John.

I completly agree, John

 

I was going to write the same thing but you took care of that!

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The military pilot was very humble and pointed out that all he did was assist the FO with radio and checklists, the FO flew the plane.

 

Thanks, that certainly and clearly answers my questions asked in my post #7 and I'm genuinely pleased that it occurred that way. I was having a rather hard time believing that a FO would be unable to land their plane. Good for the FO, good for the USAF pilot, good for the crew. If the pilot is okay it is a good day for all involved.

 

Regards,

Mel

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I think the whole confusion on Capt Gongol being a current USAF B1 pilot has to do with his current assignment. He is assigned to the ASOS at Ft Carson which is an Air Liaison Squadron providing USAF support to a US Army Division. Thus in his current job he is most likely not maintaining current flying duties (i.e. ground assignment.) However, like all Air Force pilots he still carries an AFSC of pilot and could not be in his current job unless he was in fact a pilot. So he is currently an Air Force B1 pilot but he is not current, in that he requires a flight or flights with an IP before he is designated Mission Ready and able to act as the Aircraft Commander of the B1 again. Two meanings for the word current.

 

Capt Gongol acted in a professional manner and did the same thing that many professional pilots would do in that situation, which was to assist the qualified crewmember to the best of his abilities. If that means reading checklists, handling the radios, ect. those seemingly non-critical items adds some normality to an abnormal situation. The FO was in the best position to land the airplane and with the incapacitation of the Captain was in default the Pilot in Command.

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I did watch the interview, first I hope the captain recovered and is going to be ok. It was a great team effort and everyone deserves to be praised (crew, medical assistance, and the military pilot for assisting the FO)

 

One thing that bothers me a bit is how the press paints the picture that the "pilot" had a medical emergency and that a passenger helped landing the plane.

 

The military pilot was very humble and pointed out that all he did was assist the FO with radio and checklists, the FO flew the plane. It is part of our training to handle emergencies, and both "pilots" are qualified to handle such issues.  I was taken back by how the journalist made it look like the FO was perhaps not capable of handling this problem, it is not the first time a member of the flight crew is incapacitated.

 

I am not trying to dismiss the credits the military pilot deserves for offering his help, it was very gracious of him to get up there and help the FO out, and I would definitely appreciate someone offering their help if I am on a flight and faced with the same issue.

 

 I have a problem with how the press is not explaining to the public that there is a flight crew in the cockpit,(not just a "pilot").

 

Best regards,

 

John.

 

This is completely on point. There's such a misunderstanding of the public that FO's are basically unqualified 'helpers'. It's sad to see. A fresh-out-of IOE FO may be slightly behind the aircraft as they get used to the pace of operations, but put a few months under their belt and situations like this can be handled efficiently and effectively by them. If you read between the lines this story is proof. The media, all outlets, especially of late CNN, try to inflate, exacerbate, and dramatize the situation beyond what was really going on. 

 

I'm not trying to downplay the role this gent had in this, it's good to add someone to your task management in this type of situation if able. I just can't stand the stigma that the media continues any chance they get. I just hope that simmers and aspiring pilots (as well as the public, but far chance) out there realize this point. 

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There's such a misunderstanding of the public that FO's are basically unqualified 'helpers'.

 

Excellent point.  And while recognizing that everyone involved did a great job, I find myself wondering idly why reporters (and some of the commenters here) seem to find it necessary to point out that there was a "female FO."  Is that relevant?  Would anyone make a point of saying that there was a "male FO"?  Or an African American or Christian or Jewish FO or what have you?  People seem to want to build a narrative that the FO was somehow helpless and in distress and in need of rescue... as opposed to being a fully qualified line pilot doing her job.  It's a bit sad.  

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