Quick thinking controller uses text messages to guild down troubled plane

Smart thinking probably saved the lives of five airplane passengers on a flight from Kerry to Jersey when an air traffic controller guided the problem airplane down to safety at Cork via texting the pilot.

Air accident investigator John Hughes described in his official report a “serious incident” when a twin-engine Piper plane lost all onboard electrical power along with weather radar and communications shortly after taking off from Kerry airport last November 7th.

When the pilot of the flight realized there was a problem he used his mobile phone to try and contact Kerry airport and then air traffic control at Cork.

On contacting Cork and letting them know the problem he then lost audio phone contact, it was then the air traffic controller switched to using text messaging, and used text to guild the plane to a safe landing.

Air accident investigator John Hughes said: “In this incident the positive and proactive initiative of the ATC controller, who, on realising that mobile audio communication from the pilot was intermittent, quickly switched to texting his instructions instead. This contributed to the safe resolution of the incident and, for such, the controller should be commended for his actions.”

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Source — Irish times

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