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Pilot Overcome By Hypoxia, Daughter Takes Over With Controller and Nearby Pilot Assist

October 29, 2009 — A father-daughter flight earlier this month turned harrowing as the woman, a non-rated passenger, had to take over flying duties when her father succumbed to hypoxia while cruising at 23,000 feet. The Oct. 7 flight from Omaha to Stafford, Va. in a Cessna Corvallis 400, was routine until the plane entered Indianapolis Center's airspace and the pilot, who has not been identified, stopped responding to radio calls, the FAA's Air Traffic Organization reported. After several minutes, the pilot's daughter, who did not know anything about flying, came on the radio. With patient coaching from controller Randy Smith and a nearby King Air pilot Jimmy Foote, who was headed to Tupelo, Mississippi; she was able to initiate a slow descent. The pilot revived himself as the plane passed through 16,000 feet but was still slow to respond to instructions. Controllers were able to convince him to divert to nearby Zanesville, Ohio, where he landed safely.

Listen to audio of the controller/pilot conversation

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