An 80-year old woman lands plane after pilot passes out
Helen Collins landed the twin-engine Cessna, with only one engine running, after her husband collapsed. Helen Collins is not a pilot. But another pilot flew next her and told her by radio how to land the Cessna at a Wisconsin airport.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. — An airport director says an 80-year-old woman who took control of a small plane from her unconscious husband was dangerously low on fuel when she landed on the runway at his small northeastern Wisconsin facility.
Helen Collins landed the Cessna 414 twin-engine plane at the Door County airport Monday evening with help from another pilot who took to the skies to guide her to the ground.
The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported that the midair drama started at 5:06 p.m. Monday:
The plane was about six miles south of Sturgeon Bay at the time. Dispatchers were told the pilot had suffered a medical emergency and was unconscious and the plane was being flown by the passenger, who is not a pilot.
An hour later, at 6:05 p.m., the woman radioed rescue personnel and told them her right engine had lost power when the fuel ran out and she needed to land immediately. She made the final approach, and with the help of the pilot in the other plane, successfully landed the aircraft.
Cherryland Airport director Keith Kasbohm says the plane skidded about 1,000 feet before coming to rest. Collins was slightly injured and transported to a local hospiital. Collins' 81-year-old husband John was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Kashbohm says she had some flight training but was unfamiliar with flying the Cessna.