"We're gonna treat it like a normal landing, Maggie"
September 12, 2018 1:05 PM   Subscribe

A 17 year old solo student pilot loses part of her landing gear at takeoff. ATC audio/radar SLYT. Some days you're the geese. Some days, though, you're Sully.
posted by Devonian (94 comments total) 110 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great work, Maggie!
posted by sixswitch at 1:32 PM on September 12 [13 favorites]


Can we assume she has been upgraded from student pilot to super cool pilot?
posted by notreally at 1:34 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Ahhh the quaver in her voice when she tries to respond to the ATC telling her she's gonna be OK! I teared up; she's so scared but she's fighting so hard. Amazing job to her and to the instructors and tower crew!

Man these kinds of recordings get me every time. A few months ago there was a post with the recordings from Southwest 1380 that had an engine failure, and I totally got sucked down a rabbit hole of this genre -- flights gone wrong, but also, non-professional pilots having to safely fly when disaster happens. People can be kind of amazing sometimes.
posted by alleycat01 at 1:38 PM on September 12 [23 favorites]


Jesus, those first few shaky okay's are just heartbreaking.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:42 PM on September 12 [89 favorites]


Everything turns out okay, but that was shockingly hard to listen to.
posted by Adridne at 1:48 PM on September 12 [10 favorites]


She sounds so young. But she didn't panic and did such a good job. I imagine the other people involved probably had nightmares afterwards - the flight controller woman was brilliant in keeping things calm and professional and also managed to land a couple of other planes during the emergency as well. Now that is a level of concentration I can only imagine possessing.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 1:50 PM on September 12 [18 favorites]


Right? Like, I knew it was going to turn out fine in the end but even still I was this close to pausing partway through and coming back and commenting to make sure.
posted by quaking fajita at 1:51 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Holy crap that is harrowing.
posted by The World Famous at 1:52 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I would never have guessed Beverley airport was busy enough to have to do two landings in the middle of all that!
posted by maryr at 1:59 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


If the audio's too harrowing: Maggie Taraska recounts the experience for ABC News.

(She's been flying for three years, and her mom, Christine - an Air Force veteran - was watching on the ground.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:11 PM on September 12 [16 favorites]


Wouldn't have posted if it had gone wonky. I have listened to decades of things going wrong on two-way radios, and I have never completely and totally melted as I did on that first call.
posted by Devonian at 2:13 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Wow. what a clench inducing situation. level heads prevail all around. Nice job Maggie!
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:16 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


NGL I bawled.

She's OK, but damn her voice.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:18 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


If your definition of courage is holding it together when scared shitless, Captain Maggie had it in spades.
posted by whuppy at 2:22 PM on September 12 [37 favorites]


That tiny scared voice at the beginning...If you don't tear-up, there's no hope for you.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:24 PM on September 12 [11 favorites]


NGL I bawled.

/me raises hand (I did too)
posted by nikaspark at 2:25 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


No way I could have listened to that without knowing the ending first.
posted by nickmark at 2:32 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


I love absolutely everything about this. I love shaky voices over the radios and warm professionalism and people taking care of each other and aviation culture and LOOK I LOVE IT OKAY I JUST DO
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:41 PM on September 12 [27 favorites]


This is super good!

Some news links about the event.
https://www.wcvb.com/article/pilot-in-training-makes-emergency-landing-after-losing-wheel/23054194

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/09/10/beverly-airport-emergency-landing/

"she hopes to one day go the U.S. Air Force Academy"
posted by dreamling at 2:41 PM on September 12 [10 favorites]


One of my previous lives was as a QA tech for a subcontractor to the NTSB, and many of my days amounted to my running a simultaneous circuit of disaster as I made diazo duplicates of NTSB crash reports for distribution, and did quality control on the crash site photos, examining high-quality duplicates of photographs of bodies altered by crash forces in ways that would have put a gleam in the eye of JG Ballard's anti-hero in Crash. While I worked, I'd be running duplicates of cockpit voice recordings of crashes, listening to each duplicate from end-to-end to ensure that it was a complete and accurate copy of the original transcription tape.

Aside from the fact that I'd spend day after day listening to people die, a thing that made dating a tragic failure in the eighties when someone would ask me what I did for a living, the thing that I found reassuring amid all the violation of quotidian horror was that it was very, very rare for a pilot to panic or otherwise lose composure, and I'd often feel inspired to know that pilots would focus on their work and the task at hand, constantly adapting to swiftly changing situations, even when they must of known how unlikely it was that they'd pull out. In one case, a co-pilot called out for his mother, something I always assumed he meant to be heard on the CVR, or maybe that she'd know, somehow, that he'd needed her, but in virtually every other instance, the last word on the recording would be either the pilot and co-pilot still planning, or, fairly often, just a resigned variation on "well, shit."

There's an assurance and sure-footedness to pilots that belies the popular cultural conception of them as mercurial, wild-eyed practitioners of derring do, and Maggie has the clarity of purpose that'll serve her well. It's lovely to hear the process of professionals and a natural student play out so differently than it could have.
posted by sonascope at 2:48 PM on September 12 [126 favorites]


She sounded so tiny and my heart broke but wow she nailed it. Way to go, Maggie!!
posted by kimberussell at 3:06 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I find it charming that she forgot proper proceedure and kept just saying "OK" instead of acknowledging and reading back.
posted by Megafly at 3:17 PM on September 12 [8 favorites]


Wow, that was quite the adventure and I'm so glad she made it. I'm not sure I could remain that calm, way to go Maggie! GREAT JOB!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 3:17 PM on September 12


Jesus, those first few shaky okay's are just heartbreaking.

They're brutal. One of the awesome things though is to hear her get so much calmer once she has to land. Waiting and circling must have been awful. It's so cool to hear her start using her training and realizing, like, "I know what to do!"
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:47 PM on September 12 [16 favorites]


WOW.
posted by notyou at 3:50 PM on September 12


As everyone has said, those first few shaky "Okay's" are hard to hear, but to me the worse part is when her instructor said they were staging equipment on the runway. If it was me up there, I would have taken that as aviation code for "you're gonna die."

But after those first few minutes she seemed so composed, so on task. I can't imagine I would be the same in that situation.

I'm beyond impressed with Maggie and everyone in that control tower.
posted by codex99 at 3:52 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


This was really awesome and definitely tear-inducing but my favorite part of it is how good of a picture it gives of what I imagine bravery really looks like in most cases, since Maggie is clearly scared, and while she's keeping control of the situation and not freaking out, she also doesn't seem to be suppressing that fear, just kind of dealing with it as if it were just another component of the situation she's in. I imagine that fear gets easier to deal with and alters your affect less as you get more training in dealing with anomalous situations, but it's really impressive to see someone visibly and successfully working through it.
posted by invitapriore at 3:57 PM on September 12 [30 favorites]


Oh good, I thought I was going nuts because this is making me really uncomfortably in touch with my newish connection with emotions.

Because holy crap I wasn't expecting that, ow.
posted by loquacious at 3:59 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


That was her first solo. All the future ones are going to be easy compared to that one.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:11 PM on September 12 [8 favorites]


This is fantastic.

I didn’t expect this recording to pass the Bechdel test, but it did. ATC did a great job.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:25 PM on September 12 [21 favorites]


Well done that pilot! And that smile says it all.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 4:27 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I shouldn't have listened to that first section at work. But at least I'm in a cubicle where people can't see me crying.
posted by happyroach at 4:46 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


That was her first solo.

No, it wasn't her first solo. It was supposed to be her first solo cross country flight. As a student pilot, first you spend a lot of solo time flying from your home airport, practicing some maneuvers nearby and then always return to your home airport.

The solo cross country is the next required step in the training progression to demonstrate your ability to plan a trip, file a flight plan and navigate over unfamiliar terrain and land at unfamiliar airports. Typically it is a trip that requires landing at two intermediate airports and then returning to your home airport, a total distance of at least 150 miles. That is the trip she had planned to do that day.

From the sound of it, she has been flying for three years and has a total time of 60 hours. Typically your first solo, which is just once around the airfield and back to a landing occurs after 10 to 20 hours of flight training. Next you go on to your first solo cross country.
posted by JackFlash at 5:00 PM on September 12 [41 favorites]


These days, we all need as many reminders of what competence and community look like as possible. Thanks for sharing this. If we ever dig out of this mess, this sort of rational, kind, response as people help people is going to be why. Here's hoping we come in safe for the landing.
posted by SandCounty at 5:16 PM on September 12 [26 favorites]


JackFlash, I didn’t know that. I thought it meant she was literally planning to hop across the country in that plane over several days. Here I was thinking, “good thing she didn’t get any farther from home in that thing!”
posted by Countess Elena at 5:29 PM on September 12


JFC when I was 17 I was barely toilet trained. This is amazing.
posted by Skorgu at 5:35 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Did they keep her circling longer than they might have in order to use up fuel and reduce the probability of a fire when she landed?
posted by jamjam at 5:45 PM on September 12


"she hopes to one day go the U.S. Air Force Academy"

Kid now has a comically good essay topic.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:47 PM on September 12 [35 favorites]


Man, if you don't tear up just a bit at those okays, I don't wanna know you.

I think I needed to hear this. I lost my first boss and one of the smartest people I've ever known last month when the craft he was flying crashed as he came back into LA. It's good to be reminded that people make it through a number of these incidents.
posted by drewbage1847 at 5:57 PM on September 12 [11 favorites]


I'm about to start flight training once I get my medical clearance. I hope if I'm ever in a situation like this I can see through the stress and continue to fly the airplane like Maggie did.
posted by TrialByMedia at 5:58 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Did they keep her circling longer than they might have in order to use up fuel and reduce the probability of a fire when she landed?

Doesn't seem so. The whole thing lasted about 30 minutes. If she were going cross country, she would have had full tanks for at least 4 hours of flying. It took them a little while to find her flight instructor and get him up into the tower. As soon as he arrived, they started working out the landing.
posted by JackFlash at 5:59 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Yay Maggie! Those "OKs" at the start are just killers, but she did a great job.

How does a friggin landing gear fall off a plane you're letting a student pilot use?
posted by maxwelton at 6:06 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I agree with Jack Flash. I think they were lining up emergency vehicles and getting her instructor to the tower. Might have been nice to *tell* her that, but I gather in this business you need ice-water in your veins, so maybe they didn't think of it. Or maybe "we're just waiting for the ambulances and fire trucks" doesn't send the right message...
posted by uosuaq at 6:08 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


"Sierra Hotel" all around. (Well, except for that lackadaisical dude in the Grumman. No, you can't park by the tower, doofus, there's an emergency in progress!)
posted by Zonker at 6:28 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


The tears in my eyes tell me I really appreciate calmness and competency. I can't imagine having that sort of composure at 17.
posted by mollweide at 6:57 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


It seems like the tower also needed some time to make sure the runway was clear of debris.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:00 PM on September 12


WOW. That is super impressive. The most amazing thing is how you could hear her voice go from shocked/scared to confident, especially when the instructor she knows got on the radio. The pilot must be quite something. The instructor deserves a big round of applause too for the way he approached this situation. Thanks so much for posting this!
posted by bluesky43 at 8:16 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Cried.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:19 PM on September 12


What got me was when the Tower was all, "Another pilot says half of your landing gear fell off. Please state your intention." Like, way to cushion the blow, Tower.
posted by TwoStride at 8:24 PM on September 12 [12 favorites]


What got me was when the Tower was all, "Another pilot says half of your landing gear fell off. Please state your intention." Like, way to cushion the blow, Tower.

At the same time, once the controller knows that the pilot is a student, she immediately switches into a motherly 911 dispatcher tone. Props to her as well.
posted by bonje at 8:42 PM on September 12 [40 favorites]


Props to the controller for not crying after hearing that first terrified child-like "okay." Air-traffic controllers are incredible and everyone was so calm, level-headed, and capable. And I love that they told the pilot how everyone was applauding for her after she safely landed.
posted by acidnova at 9:19 PM on September 12 [16 favorites]


The flight instructor on the ground sounds entirely like Howard Stern to me. Anyone else?
posted by talldean at 10:43 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Loved this, never would have come across it otherwise. Thanks for posting it!
posted by charmedimsure at 12:21 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


To be fair once Grumman dude was made aware of an emergency he did call back in and say, Wait...you still want me to land there? Like he was totally ready to turn around and go back home if needs be.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:48 AM on September 13


Jesus, my chest just tightened up after the first reply on the radio. I have a teenage daughter myself as as well as a vivid imagination, so that was actually hard to listen to. Tried hard not to tear up at my desk, though. Stupid open office!

I also teared up at Capt. Sullenberger's extremely professional handling of what's later called The Miracle on the Hudson. That incident also ended up with everyone OK, so should be SFL to listen to.
posted by Harald74 at 2:32 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Pregnant with a baby girl and fucking hell that first "Okay" ended me.

Way to go, Maggie! Way to go, everyone!
posted by like_neon at 3:06 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


“Bad things happen all the time and it can’t deter you from doing what you want to do or doing what you love,” Maggie said.

Yas, girl!
posted by like_neon at 3:10 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Why the hell am I listening to this in an open plan office? I am executing some excellent breathing and blinking techniques to hold back the tears.

I feel almost as in control as Maggie. Almost.
posted by trif at 4:11 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


As a fellow student pilot, I hope if I ever encounter an emergency, I can handle it like Maggie.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 4:25 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Excellent job all around. Rule number one full in effect here - first of all, fly the plane. Losing a wheel is an emergency, but it's not a crisis and you need to keep the plane flying in order to sort things out and come up with a plan.

How does a friggin landing gear fall off a plane you're letting a student pilot use?

Metal fatigue, probably. The mains on this plane are mounted to gas-oil struts with a metal linkage, so there are a few places for pins to shear. I would still consider this to be a fairly unusual occurrence. Small aircraft used for hire (including flight training) need to be inspected every 100 flight hours, and the gear is included as part of that inspection. Beverly is nearby to me - it's a well maintained airport, so the idea of the plane hitting something on the runway seems unlikely to me. The flight school has a good reputation (although the last time I flew with them was maybe 15 years ago).

In all fairness, flight school rentals just get beat up a lot faster than other planes. They get a lot of usage, and much of that is by inexperienced pilots. I could easily see a situation where there's a small crack somewhere in the gear assembly that is inaccessible during the normal 100-hour inspection, and normally it wouldn't cause a problem and get taken care of at the annual inspection where they tear stuff apart. And then a student takes it up and lands a little screwy, which grows the crack... and then it falls off.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:20 AM on September 13 [12 favorites]


We've been following this story because my husband is a private pilot who flies out of Hanscom (in Bedford, MA, he's done a lot of practicing over at KBVY over the years) and it's honestly pretty easy to know someone who knows someone and oh my god. That kid is outstanding. Her flight instructor must be BURSTING with pride, as I am vicariously.

On the other hand, we took our 4 year old daughter flying in a 4 seater for the first time a couple weeks ago and now she wants to be a pilot like daddy and I might have to be medicated for the duration.
posted by lydhre at 7:03 AM on September 13 [11 favorites]



The flight instructor on the ground sounds entirely like Howard Stern to me. Anyone else?


Funny...I was picturing Ray Romano.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:11 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I was also thinking that I know that probably rule #1 for ATC is No Joking In The Tower, but if I'd been a student I think my "omigod omigod omigod please let me land" might be warring a bit with "C'mon, this is totally a joke, right? Like, secret hazing for new pilots?"
posted by TwoStride at 7:51 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Way to go, Maggie! And props to the instructors and controllers keeping her calm and assuring her it would all be ok. It's not like instructors have experience landing with broken gear so I'm impressed he could just talk her down like that. I mean, he really didn't do much, just suggested she land like she always does, but I'm sure it was nice to hear his voice. She's the real hero, of course, the way she was able to put aside that initial worry and do what needed doing.

When I was taking lessons at Hanscom (BED) we were holding for takeoff clearance when a Piper with retractable gear did a couple of passes with one of his wheels stuck. We were able to contact the tower and tell them "yeah, his right gear is about halfway down." The pilot decided to go back to Lawrence airport and I never heard the result of what happened. Maybe he got the gear down, or maybe he landed like Maggie did. The tone in his voice was more "what a giant pain in the ass this is going to be" rather than fear.

I'm curious how things would be different if she was in a high wing plane like a Cessna. I'd imagine the result would have been worse.

One of the things that amazes me about things like this is just how well airplanes, even the little ones, are built. You think "landing without one of your wheels" would be a disaster but everyone walks away without a scratch. Good piloting and good engineering make for a pretty good combination.
posted by bondcliff at 7:56 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Amazingly, gear problems are not at all uncommon in GA, though usually the issues are with retractable gear either failing to retract or failing to extend, not a wheel falling off a fixed gear plane.

More surprisingly, if you don't already know, is that they almost always end up turning out ok for everyone but the insurance company as long as the plot manages to keep their cool and land as normally as possible.

Any landing everyone walks away from is a great landing in my book. Reuse of the plane is merely a bonus.
posted by wierdo at 8:08 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I'm curious how things would be different if she was in a high wing plane like a Cessna. I'd imagine the result would have been worse.

I don't know much about airplanes, how would that make a difference?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:20 AM on September 13


This sort of thing is extremely my jam, and also, OY
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:36 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


how would that make a difference?

Well, it seems with a low wing airplane the wings would keep the plane from potentially rolling over. With a high wing, and one landing strut or wheel one, I'd guess the plane would be more likely to roll over upon landing?

I don't know a whole lot about airplanes either, it just seems like it would be worse in a high wing. There's probably a reason why I'm wrong.
posted by bondcliff at 8:37 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Not much difference except she could see her wheel fall off. Well, maybe not so easy from the left seat without leaning a bit over to the right.
posted by JackFlash at 8:39 AM on September 13


I totally cried and I'm so totally happy for her and grateful for the calm helpful air traffic controller and instructors! I'm gonna try to remember how helpful Taraska found the constant "you are doing a great job" reassurance and the calm "we are all getting through this" confidence (from the Tunis Daily News piece: "'Hearing people not panic like I was panicking was a reassuring sign, I guess,' said Taraska.")

From the WCVB piece: "Her instructor says she hopes to get back up as early as tomorrow." YAY GO YOU!
posted by brainwane at 8:47 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Man, what a rabbit hole.

Her whole demeanor seems to change when the Chronos shows up. She goes from sounding like she's wresling with emotions to sounding like a pilot. "I have the traffic." Total pilot-speak turn. I've gone through a bad icing incident and a temporary (fortunately!) landing gear issue, and the cockpit reaction is something like "fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck", but then you get over it, go through a checklist, make yourself feel confident and comfortable again, and just deal with what's in front of you. My guess is the next time anything happens to her plane, it'll take about half a second to go from "fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck" to "Deal with it."

I'm curious how things would be different if she was in a high wing plane like a Cessna. I'd imagine the result would have been worse.

Engineering speculation here: That right wing has a runway light embedded in it, which would have slowed the plane a bit as it came off the runway. The wingtip would hit about 5 degrees sooner on the low-wing and enter at a shallower angle, so a Cessna would yield a longer period without touching the wingtip (good!) but a steeper entry angle (bad...), resulting in a sharper carve on the grass. Stall speed is the same - just under 50 kts - in each, but the wing loading in the Cessna is higher (lower deceleration on the ground), so the runout would have been longer. Rudder effectiveness is also a little better on the Piper. I'd wager the result would have been a heck of a lot more wing damage, but likely no worse for the pilot. From the pictures, she eased almost perfectly into that landing.
posted by ptfe at 8:50 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I cried and then yelled FUCK YEAH!! Brava, Maggie!
posted by emkelley at 9:01 AM on September 13


Amazing, and thank you for posting - I loved it. I'm going to play this for my kids (10 and 12) as an example of keeping your head cool in an emergency.
posted by widdershins at 9:09 AM on September 13


how would that make a difference?

Biggest risk I can see is the different geometry allowing the prop to strike the ground. It looks like the Warrior survived that fate; that's basically a new engine at that point.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:11 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


As the instructor pointed out, she was fortunate to have a bit of a left crosswind, that is, wind coming from the left. Pilots practice crosswind landings a lot as it is a critical skill. When the wind is coming from the left it tends to push you to the right sideways across the runway as you approach. So you are trained to bank the plane slightly to the left just before touchdown to counteract the rightward drift. That slight left bank means her left good wheel touched down first a few moments before the right wheel-less strut, allowing a bit more control.

Also as the instructor pointed out, she could use her brakes to help counteract the dragging right strut. Planes have separate brake pedals for the left and right main wheels. That is how you normally steer the plane on the ground. There is no steering wheel. You just apply a bit more braking pressure on the left or right brake to turn.

So he told her that as the right wheel-less strut began skidding, it would pull to the right, just as if she had locked up the right brake. So he instructed her to apply left brake and left rudder to counteract that. Sounds good in theory but difficult to execute. If you apply left brake too soon you go off the runway to the left. If you apply too late, you go off the runway to the right. You would need to apply the left brake at just the instant the right strut touched the ground, which you can't see. As it was, she ended up skidding off to the right, but all was well.

There's a lot to be said for being able to land a Warrior at 70 knots and as slow as 45 knots full flap stall at touchdown compared to a 747 at 145 knots.
posted by JackFlash at 9:24 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


Great googly moogly! I am in awe of everyone involved. I've done a little student flying, but never soloed, and i can't imagine what it must have like for her circling the airport alone while they prepared to bring her in. I teared up as well at her brave voice.

It seemed she got some confidence back in her voice when the tower controller informed her of traffic. It seemed like looking for traffic in the area gave her something to do that she was well trained for, and the routine was a welcome distraction.

Amazing.
posted by Gelatin at 9:28 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Weeping like a baby, here. Everyone did such a great job, Maggie, the tower, the instructors, the other pilots. And the congrats from the other pilots at the end sounded like "Welcome home" to my ears. You're one of them now, Maggie.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:30 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I live in the area, and totally didn't know that Beverly even had a staffed tower!!! Guaranteed her eventual Air Force callsign will be "one wheel" :-)

I think the other lucky issue with the high-wing vs low-wing issue is that some high-wing aircraft have two wheels in the front, meaning that a one-wheel landing is more likely to dig in and flip the aircraft.

And c'mon, folk - this is Boston, not NY - that's a nawth shawah accent, not lon guyland.
posted by scolbath at 10:19 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Amazing teamwork.

that lackadaisical dude in the Grumman. No, you can't park by the tower, doofus, there's an emergency in progress

Same here. I wanted to yell at the guy: DON'T YOU SEE WE'RE BUSY?!?
posted by DrAstroZoom at 10:43 AM on September 13


I wanted to yell at the guy: DON'T YOU SEE WE'RE BUSY?!?

He likely would have no idea what was going on locally. He would have been on a different frequency talking to Boston Approach, not the Beverly tower frequency until right before his first contact. Boston Approach may have given him a heads up, if they were informed, but he likely wouldn't have heard the previous conversation between Maggie and the tower at all.
posted by JackFlash at 10:59 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Yeah, plus the tower is not necessarily going to be where the emergency vehicles are parked. Sometimes the tower is near the restaurant or something.
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on September 13


"just fly the plane".

Great advice for all of us when things go wrong.
posted by bluesky43 at 11:11 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Yup. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate in that order.
posted by lydhre at 11:16 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


She is way more mellow than me. If I were in that plane, the video would not have a font large enough for the words I'd be saying.
posted by 4ster at 1:37 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


OK, just finished the video. I don't know if it is because my oldest daughter is sixteen or what, but this video hit me square in the feels. Wow.
posted by 4ster at 1:52 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that first meek “okay” just breaks you and then you settle in and accept you’re going to be a weepy mess for the duration and get on with it.
posted by notyou at 7:27 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I haven’t been able to watch the video yet: just your comments have made me well up!!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:08 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Wenestvedt - I hope you get to listen to it. Especially because it becomes an example of something I love which is people being super competent and solving a problem during a crisis. It's like watching The Martian or Apollo 13 for me, but starring a 17-year-old in a plane. "Just do what you've been trained to do."
posted by acidnova at 8:20 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


"Another pilot says half of your landing gear fell off. Please state your intention." Like, way to cushion the blow, Tower.

The normal phraseology here is "say intentions," so ... but yeah I had the same reaction. Hearing that phrase from ATC on a solo flight really brings home the fact that it up to you to resolve the situation.
posted by exogenous at 3:29 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I'm a little surprised they didn't have her do a low altitude flyby to get another pair of eyes on the landing gear. I mean what if, God forbid, the person who saw it fall off was dyslexic? *shudder*

Anyway, Bravo Zulu to ya, Captain Maggie.
posted by whuppy at 5:44 AM on September 14


I'm a little surprised they didn't have her do a low altitude flyby to get another pair of eyes on the landing gear. I mean what if, God forbid, the person who saw it fall off was dyslexic? *shudder*

They confirmed with binoculars and inspected the recovered fallen wheel to determine which one it was.
posted by lydhre at 5:47 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Pretty harrowing stuff in her voice. One of my college roommates was a private pilot and was also in the Army ROTC which gave him access to the flight club at the local Air Force base. The only time he took me flying we had an issue with the landing gear indicator light. Essentially the indicator light wouldn't change when raising and lowering the gear. We could hear mechanical movement but since we couldn't see it we didn't know for sure what position the gear really was in.

My roommate calmly called the tower to explain the situation. They had us try to lower the gear and do a close pass of the tower with the wings tipped up so they could get a good look. Since it was down they gave us the clearance to circle and land. My roommate warned me that the gear may not be locked into position. Long story short, it worked out fine but looking back I was pretty amazed at how everyone was so calm and focused.
posted by mmascolino at 6:00 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


This was definitely my roughest flight, just sitting in my bed, and I've been on one where my instructor screamed
posted by Jacen at 6:31 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I love absolutely everything about this. I love shaky voices over the radios and warm professionalism and people taking care of each other and aviation culture and LOOK I LOVE IT OKAY I JUST DO

Helen Parr's panicked but totally professional radio voice during her crisis piloting the plane in The Incredibles makes me tear up every time, so I know this is going to wreck me when I get a chance to listen to it where nobody can watch me.

But yeah I absolutely love that stuff too.
posted by straight at 11:05 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


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