June 16, 2010 in Nation/World

Flight attendant helps land plane

Jon Hilkevitch Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO – A flight attendant who has a pilot’s license replaced an ill first officer during a landing at O’Hare International Airport, officials said Tuesday.

The co-pilot of an American Airlines plane that departed from San Francisco on Monday fell sick en route to Chicago, said American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan.

“He was unable to continue his duties and he moved to the passenger cabin,” Fagan said, adding that the flight’s captain checked to see whether any off-duty airline pilots were on board the flight.

A female flight attendant advised the captain that she is a commercial pilot and the captain asked her to sit in the right-hand seat in the cockpit, Fagan said.

The flight attendant helped the captain by reading off a check list of procedures. She handled other tasks, in addition to providing a second set of eyes in the cockpit, Fagan said.

“The flight attendant became the first officer on landing,” Fagan said.

The plane, a Boeing 767 with 225 passengers and seven crew members on board, arrived at O’Hare at 4:24 p.m. Monday. The landing was normal, officials said.

The condition of the ill first officer, who is based in Chicago, was not serious, officials said. He was met on the ground at O’Hare by paramedics and transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.

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