Have you ever had your pilot die while in the air? It could happen to you! Prior planning prevents poor performance so here are five practical tips to land your plane if your pilot dies.
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Have you ever had your pilot die while in the air? It could happen to you! Prior planning prevents poor performance so here are five practical tips to land your plane if your pilot dies.


Studies show that 1 in every 411,000,618 pilots die mid-air, and usually from stress from having to deal with annoying passengers and being angry while listening to conservative talk radio. It could happen to you. Prior planning for these sorts of incidents is critically important.

We’ve reached out to the experts – including a man certified as a Microsoft Simulator Video Game pilot – for their suggestions on how to land a plane if your pilot dies. Here are five practical tips.

Step 1: Panic

Definitely panic. You are definitely going to die, so freaking the $$*#@ out is appropriate. Experts recommend a good 2 minutes of heavy breathing, followed by at least 30 seconds of screaming and a reasonable amount of sobbing. It’s good to get this out of your system so you are clear-headed during your last moments.

Step 2: Find some religion, real quick

Obviously, there’s no god (duh….), but finding some religion at this point will help keep you more level-headed as you try to get this plane on the ground. Literally, any god will do. Just pick one. Our recommendation is a god or a religion that’s pretty easy on the last-minute requirements. Something quick and easy and not a lot of rules. You don’t want to be trying to circumcise yourself up there.

Step 3: Change your underwear and freshen up

You’ve probably sh!t yourself at this point and honestly, you don’t want your charred corpse to be found like this, so go ahead, take a moment, and freshen up. Change your clothes, adjust your hair, snap a good final selfie (you know…for the ‘gram…#instalife #crashlifedeath), and then get back to work on crashing…er…landing…this plane.

Step 4: conference in LegalZoom and make sure your will is current

According to our crack legal team which is headed up by the 4th place finisher in a teen court, a last will and testament can be given orally. So, call up the folks at LegalZoom, give them $79 bucks, and scream where you want your ashes to spread (you are coming in pre-cremated…), who gets your Cabbage Patch Kid collection, and share the private key to your crypto cold storage.

Step 5: We don’t have a 5th step…uh, you probably won’t make this far anyway

Yeah, we don’t really have anything at this point. By now, your plane will probably have plummeted to the ground and is a fiery ash pit in a North Carolina tree line. If not, we guess you could try calling the ATC over the radio or pulling up a YouTube video? Maybe just rewatch the Sully movie on your iPhone and see if that helps. Literally, any Hanks movie is probably good, too.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. It’s easy as 1, 2, 3, 4. We want to thank our Microsoft Flight Simulator pilot Chet Stinot who was gracious enough to step away from landing A330s at LHR to give us these pragmatic tips on landing a plane when your pilot dies midflight.


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Lee Ballou

Lee is the brains (but definitely not the looks) of The Takeoff Nap. When he's not complaining about upgrades he runs a few travel blogs, but this one is his favorite.

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