Person With No Flying Experience Can Land

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Airplane Hour"


Explanation: The myth that someone can coach an inexperienced person through successfully landing a plane is little more than a cinematic confection. Though hilariously portrayed in the 1980 comedy Airplane!, no one in real life has ever attempted to pull off this feat, making it perfect test fodder for MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman.

Due to the sky-high insurance liabilities of flying an actual plane, novice pilots Jamie and Adam took turns in a simulator cockpit to see what would happen if they tried to take the reins mid-flight on a 160-passenger plane. Without any assistance, the MythBusters were each hopelessly befuddled by the dizzying array of dashboard knobs, buttons and switches in the cockpit. Unable to control their flight speed and altitude, both literally crashed and burned.

But their second go-round with coaching assistance from an air traffic officer was much smoother sailing. Though the coach wasn't inside the simulator with Jamie and Adam, he was able to point out the gauges and controls and how to use them to correctly maneuver the plane. After being talked through how to steer and land step-by-step, Jamie and Adam each brought their imaginary planes safely to the ground, leading the MythBusters to rule this one "plausible" for someone actually flying the friendly skies.

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