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Sick Pilot? No Problem -- Flight Attendant Successfully Lands Plane

Jun. 16 2010, Published 9:35 a.m. ET

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A flight attendant helped out with more than just soda and snacks during American Airlines Flight 1612 from San Francisco to Chicago on Monday, has learned, when she took over for a co-pilot who had fallen sick, and successfully helped land the aircraft at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner said the flight attendant stepped up when the co-pilot was unable to continue due to severe flu-like symptoms.

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The co-pilot, according to Wagner, "went back into the passenger cabin. That's when he began to solicit help from any passengers with a pilot's license."

At that point, the attendant informed the captain that she is a commercial pilot, and the rest was smooth sailing for the crew and 225 passengers aboard.

"She called things out, and read through the pre-landing checklist," Wagner said, adding that the "entire incident was handled very well on all accounts."


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Upon landing, the ill co-pilot was treated by paramedics, then taken to the hospital, where he was later released.

Jeff Pharr, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told the Chicago Tribune of the incident: "This was an example of how our flight attendants are able to step up to the plate in an emergency; we are proud of what they do to keep passengers safe."



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