80-year-old woman lands plane after husband passes out mid-flight, proves courage knows no age!

Wow! Talk about thinking on your feet! Yesterday, an 80-year-old woman with no recent piloting experience took over the controls of a small plane and landed it after her husband fell unconcious while steering.

Reportedly, Helen Collins underwent flight training about 30 years ago, but was not familiar with the controls on the plane that her and her husband were flying in Wisconsin on Monday evening. Mid-flight, her 81-year-old husband, John, suddenly passed out and Collins was forced to land the plane--which was running out of fuel-- herself! With the guidance of air traffic controller and a pilot who jumped on another plane and flew up to meet her in air, Collins was talked down and was able to settle the plane safely.

But though she (pretty miraculously!) remained unharmed, John was later pronounced dead at the hospital.


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Um, can you imagine how scary and horrific that situation must have been?! Apparently, Collins knew her husband had died but somehow still managed to stay calm. If that happened to me, I don't think I would ever be able to remain that calm and collected. Actually, knowing me, I'd probably have trouble moving, let alone landing a plane. Plus the fact that this women is 80 years old makes it even more impressive!

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The whole incident just shows what people can be capable of doing by relying on adrenaline and instinct when thrown into a life-and-death situation. Collins' bravery in the face of such immediate danger is an inspiration for people of all ages and her actions are a reminder that we are all stronger than we think. And while I am deeply sorry for Collins' loss, I am in awe of her astounding, (literally) death-defying courage and applaud her for being setting such a heroic example for the rest of us.   

Do you think you would have been able to handle the situation like Collins did?

Image via AviaFilms/flickr