American Airlines Pilot Falls Ill, Plane Diverted Safely

This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen: a pilot gets sick in mid-flight. The good news is, unlike the movies, such events are generally smooth sailing with a happy ending and that was the case with American Airlines flight 2050 Friday.

Pilot Gets Sick in Mid-flight

According to news reports, the captain of the Boeing 777 fell ill while heading from Chicago to Miami with 213 passengers and a crew of 10, and the decision was made to divert the plane for an emergency landing in Nashville. The first officer guided the aircraft in safely and another pilot was brought in to continue the journey. It’s not clear why the pilot fell ill, but last we heard, he was expected to make a complete recovery.

Flight Attendant Helps Land Plane

As noted earlier, while such problems are rare, anyone can get sick on the job and that includes pilots. Just last year, in a case of life-imitates-art scenario (and I’m thinking of the hilarious movie, Airplane!), another American Airlines pilot fell ill on a flight from San Francisco to Chicago, and after the remaining pilot asked if there were any off-duty airline pilots aboard, flight attendant Patti DeLuna volunteered that she had a commercial pilot’s license.

Next thing you know, she’s sitting in the first officer’s seat and helping the plane land safely into O’Hare. By all accounts, she did a magnificent job.


Published: October 3, 2011