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Anyone hear about this? Cape Air.......

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Registered User
Nov 25, 2001
Flight student landed plane in emergency on Cape Cod

by Dave Wedge
Sunday, February 10, 2002

As investigators try to determine why a pilot nearly passed out at the controls of a Cape Cod-bound small plane, the young woman who took over and miraculously landed the aircraft - without landing gear - is being hailed as a heroine.

``We are truly amazed at her efforts,'' Cape Air spokeswoman Michelle Haynes said of Melanie Oswalt. ``She climbed into the seat and took the controls and landed that plane. It was an extraordinary effort.''

The high-flying drama unfolded around 8:15 p.m. Friday when a Cessna 402 en route from Martha's Vineyard to Hyannis made an emergency landing in a closed Provincetown airport. The pilot of the plane, whose name was not released, ``became disoriented'' at the helm and nearly passed out. The pilot was described by Haynes as a man in his 50s with years of flying experience.

Oswalt, who works security for the regional airline, noticed the plane was veering off course and saw that the pilot was in distress.

``She realized he was disoriented and made a determination to land the plane,'' Haynes said.

Oswalt, an aspiring pilot with just 50 hours of training flights under her belt, managed to land the plane on its belly without the use of any landing gear. There were three businessmen on the plane and no one was injured.

The pilot was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and later released.

The pilot was tested for alcohol and drugs but the results won't be known for a week, Haynes said. She also said officials are looking into whether he may have had a medical condition.

``We are now investigating what happened to that pilot. We just don't know what happened,'' she said.

The pilot, who has a clean flying record, has been suspended pending the outcome of an internal probe. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board also are investigating the incident.

``He will not fly again until we find out what happened to him,'' Haynes said. ``We will not rest until we find out what happened.''

Oswalt takes flying lessons in Chatham and has done several solo landings at the Provincetown airport. The facility was closed at the time of the incident but the airstrip was lit.

``They were all shaken up,'' Haynes said of the passengers. ``But they all walked off the plane and were O.K. We're very grateful to Melanie.''

Haynes said Oswalt was ``confident'' in her flying skills and is now more eager than ever to earn her pilot's license. Cape Air pilots must log 1,500 hours before they can fly commercially.

``She's a pilot-in-training but I'd say she's well on her way now,'' Haynes said.
Additional info

The Cape Air pilot who lost consciousness while flying from Martha's Vineyard to Hyannis on Friday night was grounded last year for an undisclosed ailment, an airline official said yesterday.

About nine months ago, the pilot, identified by airline industry sources as Ronald N. Crews, was preparing to take off from Martha's Vineyard Airport when he voluntarily removed himself from the plane. Crews subsequently took a medical leave of absence, according to Cape Air spokeswoman
KingAirer said:
Great job i suppose by the student pilot, but why not lower the landing gear?

I think it makes sense, the strip that she landed at was her training strip that she knew was 3500' long as such would prefer the drag that the gear down landing would produce. Also for all we know she forgot, god only knows how stressful that must have been for her.

I also heard on the PP rumor board (I troll it), that Cape Air is going to provide her with free training.
Have to give kudos to Melanie, the woman that landed the plane! I heard that she couldn't find the gear handle, but that's just rumor. Flying and landing a C402, a much larger plane than she was used to, with two of just about everything, at night, with a considerably faster landing speed than what she was used to from a 172 or Warrior or something like that, she did a great job. You gotta admit though, there are probably lots and lots of student or private pilots out there that would love to have the opportunity to be the hero and save the day by landing a "big" plane just like in the movies!

Just curious... but just because she is a student pilot, the FAA wouldn't put any of this on her record as an incident or accident would they? I sure hope not, considering it was an emergency!

If I were her I would apply for a pilot position at Cape Air!

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