Pop Culture

Pilot helps solo student flier land safely after the wheel falls off her aircraft mid-flight

“We’re gonna be fine, kiddo.”

flight school, emergency landing
FSX Aviation/Youtube

A student on her third solo flight landed her plane after the front wheel fell off.

“We’re gonna be fine, kiddo.”

These were the words used to bring rookie pilot Taylor Hash back down to safety after a harrowing flight gone wrong.

The 21-year-old had taken off in a small, two-seat, single-engine Diamond DA20-C1 aircraft after it passed a pre-flight inspection. From what Hash could tell, this would be a routine training flight like any other.

As she told FOX 2 News, “I got in the plane, started the engine up, called on the radio and asked for clearance to taxi to the runway. Everything was perfectly fine.”

Luckily for Hash, another pilot had his eyes to the sky, and was able to see that everything was definitely not fine.

Chris Yates saw that Hash’s plane had lost its nose wheel tire after taking off from the runway, which would have made landing the aircraft extremely dangerous. Yates immediately alerted air traffic control (ATC), who then contacted Hash.

Sensing that the student pilot needed further guidance—and perhaps a calming presence—Yates spoke to Hash directly.

In an audio clip of their exchange posted to Youtube by FSX Aviation, Yates can be heard introducing himself to Hash.

“Taylor, this is Chris. My daughter’s name is Taylor, and I taught her to fly,” he told her over the radio. “We’re gonna be just fine, kiddo.”

Yates and ATC talked Hash through the next steps (“Keep that stick all the way back,” “Pull that nose off for as long as you can,” “Nice and slow, nice and straight,”) until Hash successfully landed, with the nose of the plane tilted towards the ground.

Pretty intense for Hash’s “third solo ever,” but luckily she was in good hands.

Hash shared with FOX 2 that listening to the clip and hearing Yates’ comforting words still makes her emotional.

"Just having someone to have a conversation with me, and not be so official with the aviation language—it was just calming. It was perfect and just what I needed in that moment," she said.

Hash also asserted that while she told herself she was “done” flying during the height of her stress, she most assuredly will be flying again.

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