Remember When a 17-Year-Old From Beverly, Massachusetts, Had to Land an Airplane Without Landing Gear?
I'm not sure what reminded me of this incident.
This was one of those wacky news stories that always stuck with me. I found myself wondering, "what if that was me?"
Now, I would not necessarily be in this situation; however, if I was, could I react as well as this incredible 17-year-old girl from Beverly, Massachusetts? I'm not sure.
Maggie Taraska was only 17 and a student pilot when she took off from Beverly Regional Airport on Sunday September, 9, 2018, according to a Boston 25 News Article. She was supposed to fly from Beverly to Portland, Maine.
Her trip changed immediately when the plane lost its right main wheel shortly after taking off.
"As soon as I took off, basically, I heard something," Taraska said to Boston News 25. "I just felt something was wrong instinctively."
It was her first solo flight "across country", and her landing gear (a wheel) fell off immediately.
"I got really scared, nervous, obviously," she said, according to an ABC News article. "I had done emergency procedures before, but you don't do them if you lose a wheel. No one really thinks that's going to happen to them. And I mean, I was all by myself, so I was just terrified."
What happened next was remarkable, brave, and well-executed.
Air traffic control, who saw the wheel drop, contacted her instructor, John Singleton. He was the one who talked Maggie to landing via radio.
She was focused and resilient. He was supportive and efficient.
“Maggie, this is John. How are you doing?” Singleton could be heard asking through radio traffic, according to WCVB.
“I'm OK,” Taraska replied.
“OK, you're doing a great job flying the airplane,” Singleton responded. “Keep doing what you're doing. We're going to take our time here. We've got plenty of time. You have plenty of fuel. We've got plenty of daylight."
"So just try to relax, and you always heard me say, 'Go back to basics,' so we're going to work the basics here as much as possible, OK?” John asked.
“All right,” Taraska could be heard responding to her instructor.
See the full landing and talk through below.
Maggie had hopes of attending the Air Force Academy like both of her parents did.
Without knowing exactly what the pilot is up to, this tweet in September of 2018 after the emergency landing paints a pretty good picture.
Congrats and well done, Maggie Taraska!