Off-duty pilot helps land Lufthansa plane after co-pilot falls ill

A Lufthansa airplane takes off at the International Airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, 16 August 2013. Photo: Jan-Philipp Strobel

An off-duty pilot on a Lufthansa plane from Newark to Frankfurt had to step in and help land the aircraft when the captain's co-pilot fell ill.

The pilot suffered dizzy spells, headaches and vomiting, and by the time the plane was over the Atlantic the decision was made to divert the flight to Dublin.

A report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) found that cabin crew identified the off-duty pilot on the Boeing 747, which was carrying 266 passengers.

According to the Aviation Herald, the passenger had 11,000 hours flying experience with a smaller aircraft and the captain checked his license before permitting "him to sit in the F/O's seat, while performing PM duties under his command and supervision."

The Irish Independent reports that the AAIU had no issue with the off-duty pilot being asked to help make the emergency landing.

The plane landed safely in Dublin and the ill co-pilot was taken to hospital.

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