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A pilot who DESERVES an EGO!


Active member
Mar 27, 2002
Total Time
Pilot awarded for "dead-stick" landing
Thu Aug 22, 6:09 PM ET

By Charles Grandmont

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Canadian pilot
who astounded the aviation world by gliding
his stricken jetliner, with 304 people on board,
to a safe landing on an island in the Atlantic
Ocean, has been given a special flying award.

The Air Line Pilots Association ( news - web
sites), the union representing some 66,000
pilots from Canada and the United States,
gave its Superior Airmanship award to Air
Transat pilot Robert Piche and his first officer
Dirk De Jager at its annual banquet in
Washington on Thursday.

"The spirit of airmanship that is involved here
is the amazing feat of taking of airplane that
lost both its engines at 35,000 feet and piloting
it... 70 miles and making a precision pinpoint
landing on a tiny speckled island," the
association's spokesman, John Mazor, told

Piche, a married father of three, became a
national hero in Canada and made headlines
around the world on August 24, 2001, when
he brought a Lisbon-bound Airbus 330 to a
safe, "dead-stick" landing on the Azores after
a fuel leak left the jetliner's engines dead over
the Atlantic.

Diverting to a military airstrip, Piche and De
Jager brought the heavy aircraft through a
harrowing 18-minute gliding descent and
wrestled it to a grinding halt on the tarmac,
blowing eight of its 12 tires.

Less than a dozen of the 291 passengers were
treated for minor injuries, most inflicted as
they evacuated the plane.

"The good news is that because of the superior
airmanship of the crew they all landed safely,"
Mazor said.

But not all has been good news.

Portuguese authorities are scheduled to
produce a final report on their inquiry into the
incident before the end of the year. A
preliminary report found a fuel line on the
right engine had failed, possibly after rubbing
or banging against another pipe.

Air Transat was fined C$250,000 (105,000
pounds) by Canadian transport authorities for
the faulty installation of a hydraulic pump in
the right engine. The airline disputes any link
between the hydraulic pump problem and the
fuel leak.

Passengers aboard Flight 236 have launched a
class action lawsuit against Air Transat.

Piche, who has said he was just doing his job
bringing the airplane down safely, has been on
personal leave from the charter airline since
March. He plans to get back in the cockpit in
coming weeks.

"I became more aware of the changes in my
life after this incident," he said in an interview
with a local newspaper.

"I needed (the break) to fully live through all
this," he said.

The award marks a reversal of fortune for 50
year-old Piche. The former bush pilot spent
nearly two years in a U.S. jail in the 1980s
after he was busted with 53 bags of marijuana
after landing a small Piper Aztec on a Georgia


Well-known member
Dec 14, 2001
Total Time
One should try to avoid scars from battles in which one should never have fought.

Saving the day from a situation of your own making isn't heroic; it's break-even at best.

From drug runner to international superstar. How about that.