A flight attendant on board an American Airlines Boeing 767 who had an expired pilot’s license had to assist and take over for a sick co-pilot. The flight attendant then helped to land the AA Boeing 767 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
The Boeing 767 was flying from San Francisco to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when the co-pilot became ill with a stomach bug. Help was requested from the flight deck from any passengers with a pilot’s license. Flight attendant Patti DeLuna, stepped forward as she was a commercial pilot in the past, and took over for the ailing first officer – The flight’s purser also had flight experience, but the captain eventually chose DeLuna.
DeLuna’s first question to the captain was, ‘Where are the brakes?'”
According to media reports, Patti DeLuna, has been a flight attendant for 32 years, had a commercial pilot’s certificate in 1970, and has about 300 flight-hours flying a small Cessna but had not flown since for about 20 years.
The plane, carrying 225 passengers and 7 crew, landed safely at Chicago O’Hare. The sick co-pilot was taken to hospital, treated and released.
An American Airlines spokesman said the Boeing 767 can be flown by only one pilot if required and is actually so sophisticated it can even land itself thanks to the Auto-Land system.