This is True Stories of Air Traffic Control!
Shortly after takeoff from Potomac Airfield at eleven hundred feet the single-engine Cessnahad begun spewing oil onto the windshield obstructing the student pilot’s vision. The pilot had radioedPotomac TRACONwhere approach controller Casey Whittaker was there to assist.
Whittaker let the pilot know she was lined up with runway six at PotomacAirfield and approved to overfly the runwayif necessary.
When radar contact was lostWhittaker feared the pilot had crashed. Fortunately she came back on the radio after a last-minute decision not to land clearing the trees by only thirty feet. She needed to try again.
The pilot still had enough power to climb. As she passed over a populated neighborhood she worried she may need to ditch in the PotomacRiver to avoid crashing into a house and time was running out.
Hyde Fieldoffered a more open layout than PotomacFieldwith fewer houses in the area. Whittaker solicited help from other pilots in the airspace.
Still no answer!
Then another pilot in the vicinity lent a helping hand.
Afew days after the pilot’ssafe landing she visited the TRACON.Everyone soon realized how scary it had been for her from the moment the oil splattered until she bounced on the landing.She thanked Whittaker for his help saying that if he hadn't given her a vector she probably wouldn't have made it.
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