'I hoped I'd make it': Trainee pilot's incredible landing
A trainee pilot from Perth has been forced to do the unthinkable and land a plane with only a few lessons under his belt after his instructor passed out and was unable to be revived.
Max Sylvester was on his third session when the ordeal took place yesterday, but with the help of air traffic control, the young father of three pulled off a textbook landing.
He successfully set the plane down in Jandakot in Perth's south.
"You train for this when you're in your 20 and 30 hours in, not 2.4 hours. You don't train for this kind of stuff," Mr Sylvester told 9News.
"I'd hoped I'd make it. It's just one of them things that you just have to deal with. It's a situation you've been thrown in front of and you need to react. It's fight or flight. That's it. Adrenaline.
"My study kicked in of actually reading my study books. That definitely saved me."
Incredibly it was Mr Sylvester's first time in that model of light plane.
"I've done two flights before in a 172 and that was the first time I've been in a 152 which is a completely different plane, different handling."
Audio reveals how the control tower then talked him through every step, until he landed safely at Jandakot Airport at 6pm yesterday.
"Just keep an eye on your speed that you're not going into the red too much and keeping those wings level and keeping your nose nice and level on the horizon," the controller instructed.
"Yep copy that," the rookie responded.
Mr Sylvester is thankful to the controller that helped him through the landing.
"I'd love to catch up with him and yeah have a coffee or something for sure.
"Just the way he kept his cool and helped me keep my cool as well, he definitely helped with the situation," he said.
Upon landing, the pilot was immediately taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital.
He remains in a serious but stable condition and is believed to have suffered a seizure.
Mr Sylvester also credits his wife and kids for bringing him down safely. He is father to an 18-month-old boy, a 3-month-old girl and 6-year-old daughter.
While shaken Mr Sylvester has not lost his passion for flying. He now has hopes of becoming a commercial pilot.
"I think there's a bit of a fear of it happening again, but I mean it's one of them things you never hear about - only in movies do you hear about this happening."
"There's no doubt in the world that I will be flying and you have to do that, because you have to show your kids with things like this you have to power through," he said.
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