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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, RadarOnline.com 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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