Pilot Dies - Passenger Succeeds with Emergency Landing
A retired jet pilot, Joe Cabuk died just after a smooth take-off in a twin engine plane at Forty Myers, Florida. Doug White, only a novice pilot himself took the pilot's seat, however White had never flown a plane the size of the King Air plane.
This is what occurred between Doug White and air traffic control:
"I need help. I need a King Air pilot to talk to. We're in trouble," he radioed.
Then he turned to his wife and two daughters: "You all start praying hard." Behind him, his wife trembled. Sixteen-year-old Bailey cried. Eighteen-year-old Maggie threw up.
White, 56, landed the plane on his own about 30 minutes later, coaxed through the harrowing ordeal by air traffic controllers who described exactly how to bring the aircraft to safety. The pilot died, but White somehow managed.
When a controller asked whether he was on autopilot, White replied: "I'm in the good Lord's hands flying this Niner Delta Whiskey," giving the code for the aircraft.
White had logged about 150 hours recently flying a single-engine Cessna 172 but had no experience flying the faster, larger King Air. He declared an emergency to air traffic controllers — White already knew how to use the radio.
On Sunday afternoon, he got his first lesson landing the larger craft. They were on their way home from Marco Island, where they'd traveled after his brother died from a heart attack the week before.
White owns the King Air plane and leases it out through his company, Archibald, La.-based White Equipment Leasing LLC.
White got his pilot's license in 1990, but said 18 years had passed until he recently started flying again.
White had his wife try to remove the pilot from his seat — afraid that he'd slump down and hit the controls. But the space was too small. His wife couldn't remove him. They strapped him back in, and White sat at the adjacent set of controls.
White knew they were supposed to stop at 10,000 feet, but he watched as they ascended thousands of feet higher.
Flying the Cessna, White said he's never gone higher than 7,000 feet. White tried to stay calm and listen to the air traffic controllers as they relayed instructions. "It was a focused fear," he said. "And I was in some kind of a zone that I can't explain."
According to the New Haven Register, Sorenson advised that he had not been up in a King Air in many years, but that he had kept all his ".... flight checklists, manuals and cockpit layout sheets."
Sorenson then liaised with the air traffic controller who in turn relayed instructions to White.
At one point, White said he tried putting the autopilot back on, but it steered the plane north, as Cabuk had programmed in the flight's destination in Jackson, Miss.
They had planned on dropping White off there, where he'd left his truck, and having Cabuk continue on home to Louisiana with the rest of the family.
Flying by hand, White navigated the plane through the descent.
"When I touch down, if I ever touch down, do I just kill the throttle or what?" he asked.
"That's correct," the controller replied. "When you touch down, slowly kill the throttle."
They landed safety shortly after 2 p.m. Fire trucks and EMTs were waiting on [the] ground.
"Looks good from here," the controller said. "Good job."[...] "My initial thought was that we had to quit climbing. The cockpit looked like the inside of the space shuttle, but they showed me where the autopilot was and how to disengage it.
From there, I hand flew it for about an hour to landing."
I've included more information for aviation buffs, on the King Air aircrafts:
Beechcraft Aircraft Corporation make and sell several models of King Air aircrafts. These include; the 90 and 100 series and those that were once dubbed the Super King Airs, referring to the 200 and 300 series.
Some, might enjoy reading about the King Air Story, on the AV Buyer which comes in 2 parts:
Beechcraft King Air B200 enters service with Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service
by Emma Kelly
The Australian Flying Doctor Service uses these fixed wing planes as an aeromedical service in Queensland and has saved thousands of lives across Australia's rural, remote and coastal areas throughout Australia's "sunshine state."
The Beechcraft King Air B200C used by the Flying Doctor Service, has an interior which also includes an intensive care unit.
Beechcraft Super King Air
King Air 100
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force:
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia
Cost: USD3.4 million
Image, Public Domain
U.S. Armed Forces
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia
Cost: USD$6.2-7.0 million
Image: Public Domain
Beechcraft King Air C90GTi
Beech King Air 200/300 Interior
Copyright (c) 1998 Air Broker Center