Skip to comments.Vacationing Air Force bomber pilot helped land Boeing 737 after pilot had a heart attack
Posted on 06/02/2014 5:08:42 PM PDT by ConservativeStatement
United Flight 1637 was returning off-duty Air Force Captain Mike Gongol, his family and 157 other souls from their Christmas vacation when disaster struck.
The Boeing 737's pilot suffered a devastating heart attack at 30,000 feet on the way from Des Moines to Denver, forcing Gongol to rush to the cockpit and help guide the plane to an emergency landing.
His heroic actions have gone unheralded until now, as Gongol recalls the dramatic moment he answered the chilling announcement on the December 30 flight, 'Does anyone know how to fly a plane?'
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
God bless the men that fly and fight.
“Does anyone know how to fly a plane.”Ranks up there with “Fix bayonets” for words you never want to hear.
Independence Day - I can fly, I’m Pilot.wmv
737 has 2 pilots.
Not certified for single-pilot operation.
It’s handy to have another person up there to run the FMS, jabber on the radio, hold the pilot’s beer, and the like.
The article mentions the first officer.
“It was then that the first officer turned to Gongol and revealed she had never landed at Omaha airport before.”
Every pilot on board a commercial jet wonders if they will hear that call on the PA.
Usually there are at least 3-4 people on a flight with varying degrees of experience. All they really need to do is assist the Pilot Not Flying with the radio and possibly gear/flaps, although a 737 can be flown by one guy in VFR conditions.
It’s just if it were to happen on dark night with an approach to minimums...in snow
7th Maine, or 20th?
DFC is deserved in my opinion. B1-B pilot sitting there cold, plopped into the seat of a 737 he isn’t rated in and has never flown. Has no idea of the fuel, weather,,,nothing.
Lands it and saves 160 lives.
DFC doesn’t have to be combat related.
One of the worst things that’s happened with our awards system is that they are over inflating the standards to award for actual pilots and grunts. While Officers and politically approved groups in the military are festooned with decorations.
The Medal of Honor has become downright ridiculous. Half of the ones awarded in WWII Korea and Vietnam wouldn’t make the cut today.
Heroic behavior should be recognized properly. He was military man, and was heroic, and exhibited some distinguished flying, ergo,, DFC. That’s exactly the standards.
Silly headline alert. The actual announcement was “are there any non-revenue pilots on board?”
"Captain Mike Gongol, United States Air Force distinguished himself by saving 160 passengers,........bringing honor upon himself and the United States Air Force. "
My endorsement isn't worth anything, but a TSgt thinks the Capt did good, and needs and attaboy.
I've been taking stupid pills.
You just blew my mind. I am going to carefully weigh every word you say from now on with the most open mind I possess.
Or maybe thinking about Yellow Hair.
RE: Fix Bayonets
Or belong to Lewis Millet’S Company E 2nd Battalion 27th regiment
There’s also pilots deadheading to an airport to pick up their flight. But yeah, needed that second person on the deck to help out.
How many people even have bayonets these days?
(I’ve got three).
If this is a problem, then that F.O. doesn't need to be in that job any more.
It's an airport.
It has a runway or three.
Land the friggin' airplane! It doesn't have to be pretty - you can break it if you really have to - but land the plane!
Thanks I will have to look that up later
What I thought was funny was the notion that the FO needed the Bomber Pilot to “talk her through the landing” at Omaha.
Um...right. Like she couldn’t just read the chart.
But I have a crapload of kitchen knives and a bunch of duct tape.
Never piss off a cook.
It’s just the reporters. They literally have no clue.
Fact omitted from the story: when first arriving in the cockpit, Capt. Gongol’s first words were “Where are the other two throttles?”.
Yep. It might be a good idea to have someone calm to read the frigging chart for her, and plug in all the frequencies.
And your knives are probably sharper than my bayonets.
Neither Bob Pearson nor Maurice Qintal had ever landed where they landed on July 23, 1983.
It was a dead-stick landing, necessitated by "fuel exhaustion due to maintenance error". The "airport" was a closed Canadian airbase that Quintal remembered from his days in the service. Part of it had been converted into a drag strip.
Last Friday, Southwest Flight Attendant: “Fasten your seatbelts, the pilot mentioned he wants to try something new today.”
I had forgotten aboot that exciting dead stick landing!
Air Medal maybe. More likely, what promises to be the fastest, easiest pilot interview United will ever give.
At the rank of O-4 (Captain, USAF), one has to wonder whether he hadn't read the -1 on most of the commercial fleet, in anticipation of not seeking O-5 (Major).
Discussing anything involving other service rank with Navy is dang awkward. Just had to say that.
I know better. I'm out for the night. Be back when I'm not fighting an infection.
I'll be back when I whip the infection and I'm not on stupid pills. ;)
My guess is it was more like, "Um . . . does anyone know how to fly a plane?"
Usually FO’s are taken to fields to learn them. The PIC i.e captain talks them through it. Usually they don’t know what airport they’ll be flying to so there’s no time to learn the approach.
Helping the First Officer land a perfectly good airplane in Omaha is exactly the same as keeping a flak damaged B-17 on the bomb run over Mainz. If you want the standards to be enforced, this might be a good place to start.
Hopefully United has given this guy free lifetime passes.
A couple of technical errors in the article. The B-1 is not a nuclear bomber (not anymore) and they don’t fly out of Ft Carson.
I do - Have M4, M6, M7
And then there is the oft told airline story about the captain giving his level off announcement over the PA: weather, arrival time, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Still keying the mike, he dropped his hand and rested it on his leg and announced to the First Officer, “Boy, I sure could use a cup of coffee and a blow job”, not knowing that the entire plane had heard the exchange.
One of the flight attendants turned to run up to the cockpit to let them know about the PA. A little old lady sitting in the last row cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled,”you forgot the coffee!!!”
Can’t imagine a long straight in with single channel priority would be too taxing, but I guess if she needed a someone to warm the seat then that was good.
What a blessing that this pilot was on this flight.
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