It’s not exactly the way you’d want to receive flight instructions when you’re in the air, but it worked: the pilot of a twin-engine small plane in Ireland was guided into land by text messages.
It came about after the plane, which was en route from Kerry to the Channel Islands last November and carrying five passengers, lost all electrical power, which included communications. With no alternative, the pilot used his cell phone to call airports in Kerry, then Cork – only to have his calls dropped.
After contacting Air Traffic Control at Cork, the controller decided to use texting as the most secure way to give the pilot the vital information he needed to land safely in Cork after lowering the landing gear manually.
Air accident investigator John Hughes told the Irish Times:
"In this incident the positive and proactive initiative of the ATC controller, who, on realizing that mobile audio communication from the pilot was intermittent, quickly switched to texting his instructions instead. This contributed to the safe resolution of the incident and, for such, the controller should be commended for his actions."
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