Air traffic controller helps land distressed plane with text messages

An Irish air traffic controller last week showed that he could think quick on his feet when he helped a small Piper airplane that had lost electricity make an emergency landing by sending text messages to the pilot.

The twin-engine Piper lost all electrical power shortly after taking off from Kerry airport in Ireland on its way to the Channel island of Jersey.

Realizing the problem, the pilot contacted air traffic control in Cork using his cell phone. When that signal weakened, a controller sent a series of text messages confirming the plane was clear for an emergency landing and providing coordinates and headings to guide the plane safely to the ground.

The plane carried four passengers, and none were injured in the incident.

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