Aviation & Space Law

Dubious Pilot's License No Problem in Emergency Landing


A stewardess on an Air Canada flight apparently may have technically violated her commercial pilot’s license by helping with an emergency landing in January.

But no one is complaining about the unidentified flight attendant’s expired instrument reading certificate. A report released today by the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit praises the pilot’s decision to put her in the cockpit and her instrument-reading skills, crediting the two for landing the plane safely after the co-pilot had a mental breakdown and had to be physically removed from the cockpit, reports the Associated Press.

The co-pilot was physically restrained and sedated by two physicians among the 146 passengers. But when the pilot asked the crew to find out if a passenger was a qualified pilot, they had no luck. At this point the flight attendant “admitted she held a current commercial pilot’s license but said her license for reading cockpit instruments had expired,” the news agency recounts.

The Toronto-to-London flight landed at Shannon Airport in Ireland on an emergency basis.

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