If you've ever been on a plane and had the frightening thought flash through your mind about what would happen if you had to land it yourself in an emergency then fear not as one helpful pilot has revealed how fretful passengers can guide a jumbo jet to safety.
Should the scenario often seen in questionable movies (Snakes On A Plane, anyone?) where pilots of a passenger jet have been somehow incapacitated, what would you do? With the recent news of a laser pen being shone at a Virgin Airlines plane, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing, it makes you think (more worry) what if all pilots on board were unable to take control of the plane.
Following a query on Quora, a question and answer website, which posed the dilemma: "What should I do if the pilot passes out and I (with no flight training) have to land the plane?" Delta Airlines pilot Tim Morgan posted a video to YouTube using a flight simulator to show how to bring the bird down to the runway.
Thankfully, if anything was to happen at 30,000ft, Morgan alleviates some fears by explaining: "The good news is the plane is likely already flying on autopilot, it's not going to fall out of the sky and you can use this to do most of the flying." However, "you'll still have to land it," he says and with every aircraft having a different cockpit, you will need to know what to look for.
How a passenger could land a plane in an emergency
Morgan runs through a 10-minute video in the virtual cockpit of a Boeing 737 – a popular aircraft model – and immediately presents a dizzying plethora of knobs and switches. With a simulation flight running, the first thing he advises is to put on the captain's headset and begin a two-way communication with air control where an experienced pilot will talk you through all the details.
Morgan succinctly runs through the landing process with a step-by-step guide on how to change heading, override the autopilot, use the flaps, hit the right landing speed and, should you make it to the runway, the useful tip of making sure you don't roll the plane off it.
While the experienced pilot makes it look easy, the effort involved and the untold pressure should you make the slightest error makes you realise it's anything but easy. Despite only being a computer simulation you will be relieved to see the tarmac and engines turn off.
Morgan then signs off: "Grab a beer from the galley, pull the emergency exit handle and enjoy the ride down the emergency slide." Let hero status commence.