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American Airways Pilot dies at the controls in flight. Co-pilot makes heavy landing


Julian Bray Aviation Expert commented: Perhaps aviation authorities should seriously consider lowering the compulsory retirement age for civil aviation captains/pilots where passengers are carried to age 50. Or they could possibly continue as co-pilots and training captains? But with the new generation of aircraft coming in, the main responsibility for the aircraft and passengers should be passed to flyers under the age of 50.  

American A320

An American Airlines pilot taken ill during a flight from Phoenix to Boston, later died in the cockpit, the co-pilot  landing the plane safely in Syracuse, N.Y.

Ironically it was the captains last flight before retiring, he had a history of heart trouble, and had several bypass operations but Airline said he passed enhanced medicals and declared fit to fly. 

Syracuse Police Department confirmed to CBS News the 57-year-old male pilot was found dead on the plane at approximately 6:45 a.m. local time. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene
The corpse was taken to the county medical examiner for a post mortem examination.

Local Tv station WTVH Syracuse reported Flight 550 left Phoenix Sky Harbour International airport last night and was scheduled to land in Boston at 8 a.m. The plane ended up landing safely in Syracuse at about 7:10 a.m.

Cockpit audio  by Live ATC.net, which provides live air traffic control broadcasts, the co-pilot is heard calling the control tower, "A medical emergency. Captain is incapacitated, request handling for runway one zero landing."

The flight, an Airbus A320  US Airways Flight 550, diverted and  landed at Logan Airport at 12:30 p.m. local time. There were 147 passengers on board.

Describing the incident to reporters in Boston, passengers said there was a quick descent, they felt some turbulence and then a member of the flight crew announced that the captain wasn't feeling well.

The passengers described a hard landing in Syracuse and did not know at the time why they were there. They said EMTs did not rush onto the plane, leading them to believe the pilot had died.

The passengers praised the co-pilot who they said appeared calm during the entire incident.

"This is a terribly sad event and American Airlines is focused on caring for the pilot's family at this time, as well as the American Airlines staff and passengers on board the flight," the airline spokeswoman said.

Sources CBS, AP, CNS

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