Dramatic audio captures air traffic controllers helping pilot land with broken throttle

mokee81/iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A small-aircraft pilot recently got to thank a team of air traffic controllers who helped her land safely last year when her plane's throttle broke, leaving her stranded in the air.

On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration released dramatic audio from the Feb. 14, 2016, incident.

In the nearly six minutes of edited audio, air traffic controller Mason Braddock and his team could be heard calmly explaining to pilot Cathy Lewan how to land her single-engine Cessna at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Georgia.

Lewan was alone in the plane and had been taking pictures.

"We're going to touch down and cut power immediately to the airplane," an air traffic controller says. "Whenever you're ready, we can set you up for that. Like I said, we'll have equipment standing by to help you on the runway."

Lewan, getting emotional, then asks for a favor.

"Would you call my husband for me?" she says. "If you could, ask him to put a prayer chain out to my church and ask the whole church to start praying, and everybody else that's listening. ... Tell him that I love him and call my mother. And I know I'm going to be fine 'cause you're helping me and the good Lord's helping me."

Braddock tells Lewan to give the team her husband's cellphone number.

"We'll make sure that he knows that you're coming in," he says. "We're gonna call him. ... It's just gonna be a normal landing. ... It's gonna be fine. ... There's no rush."

Lewan was able to land the plane safely. During a news conference Tuesday, Lewan met with Braddock as well as the rest of the air traffic controller team that helped her last year.

"They just really, really were there in every way for me," she said during the news conference. "What I got was my own personal SWAT team -- the super, wonderful Atlanta team."

Braddock and his team from the FAA facility in Peachtree City, including Clay Sutton, Nicole Surunis, Patrick Burrows and Keith Tyus, are expected to receive one of aviation's highest honors for lifesaving work at a ceremony next week in Las Vegas.



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Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI ‘we all have’ terroristic thoughts

Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI 'we all have' terroristic thoughtsiStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- The Turkish national who forced the emergency landing of American Airlines flight 31 in Honolulu on Friday allegedly told FBI agents "we all have" terroristic ideas, and pantomimed shooting an agent during his interview, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hawaii on Monday.

En route from Los Angeles to Honolulu, 25-year-old Anil Uskanli alarmed passengers and crewmembers while acting "strange," forcing the pilot lock down the flight deck and prompting the U.S. Pacific Command to send two F-22 fighter jets to escort the aircraft into Hawaii.

F22's taking off from Honolulu to escort American Airlines flight 31 #Hawaii pic.twitter.com/8cauepQ7Yt

— Anthony Quintano 🌴 (@AnthonyQuintano) May 19, 2017

"We all have those ideas," he said when asked if he ever had terroristic thoughts.

According to the complaint, Uskanli boarded the plane without any luggage, carrying only a phone, laptop, charger, and miscellaneous items in his pockets.

Not long after he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing at LAX after breaching a security door while under the influence, crew escorted him down the jet bridge in a wheelchair.

Once aboard the Airbus 321, he plopped into a seat in first class. At a flight attendant's repeated urging, Uskanli eventually moved to 35B, his assigned seat.

After the flight took off, Uskanli began repeatedly moving his laptop from the seatback pocket to the space under the seat, "uttering things and talking to himself," one passenger told FBI agents.

He then got up to use the lavatory, but failed to lock the door, the complaint adds. When another passenger attempted to enter the lavatory, Uskanli allegedly began "yelling and pounding on the walls."

After flight attendants escorted him back to his seat, they found what appeared to be cigarette pieces around the toilet.

A short time later, Uskanli "wrapped a blanket around his head, picked up his laptop," and shuffled towards the front of the aircraft.

A flight attendant used a beverage cart to block the aisle, but Uskanli shoved back, then set his laptop on the cart, triggering immediate alarm among the crew. The flight attendant was concerned following reports that terrorists are attempting to target aircraft with explosives concealed inside electronics, the complaint explains.

While an off-duty law enforcement officer steered Uskanli back to his seat, a flight attendant barricaded the laptop in the rear of the aircraft -- standard procedure for handling a possible explosive device. To further mitigate the impact of a potential in-flight bomb, the pilot descended to 5,000 feet, according to the complaint.

Uskanli was restrained with duct tape, witnesses say.

Upon landing, Uskanli was escorted off the flight by law enforcement, and bomb technicians and canine units seized the laptop and secured the plane. No explosives were found inside the laptop, authorities say.

Uskanli's urinalysis came back positive for benzodiazepine. Other field sobriety tests indicated he may have been high on stimulants or cannabis, according to the complaint.

During a post-incident interview with FBI agents, Uskanli "made a gun shape with his fingers and pretended to shoot,"simulated a ‘chopping motion’" at an agent's neck, and threatened to kill a female agent, according to the complaint.

Asked if he planned to hurt anyone, he told agents, "it depends on the day."

He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, and was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

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