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“We’re Going To Be Just Fine, Kiddo.” Pilot Guides Newbie To Ground After Plane Malfunctions.

Taylor Hash's plane after emergency landing.

No matter how much we practice, we never know how we’ll react when things go wrong. Twenty-one-year-old Taylor Hash is a novice pilot who had only flown solo twice. One March day, Taylor boarded her single-engine plane at a small airport in Pontiac, Michigan, to complete her third solo flight. Everything felt fine as she took off, so she had no idea that a crucial piece of landing equipment had fallen off of her plane and clattered onto the runway below.

The control tower quickly radioed Taylor to tell her that her front wheel was gone. The fear in the young pilot’s voice was clear as day as she replied and asked for guidance. Thankfully for her, there was someone else listening in who knew exactly how to help her.

Chris Yates is a veteran pilot who just happened to be the former director of aviation at SpaceX. He is also a father to a daughter about Taylor’s age, so when he heard the young woman’s frightened voice on the radio, he decided to step in.

As Chris circled the airport in his own plane, he spoke to Taylor over the radio in his most soothing, fatherly voice. When he learned that the young pilot’s name is Taylor, he had to choke back tears. Taylor is his daughter’s name, too.

“I didn’t respond on the radio because I just couldn’t even talk,” Chris recalled. “I was welled up.”

Taylor says she was more scared than she’d ever been before, but hearing Chris’s confidence helped her calm down right away.

“Taylor, this is Chris,” he said. “My daughter’s name is Taylor and I taught her to fly. We’re going to be just fine, kiddo.”

Looking back, Taylor says this is the moment when she went from frantic, to determined.

Chris kept Taylor calm for several more minutes as she circled the airport. She told him she had been planning to become a career pilot, but her voice told him she wasn’t sure after this scary experience.

“This is a good start,” he assured her. “This is a good story to your legacy, kid.”

When the time was right, air traffic control and Chris guided Taylor to the pivotal moment when her little plan touched down. On the radio cockpit recording, you can hear Chris enthusiastically rooting for her as the plane’s nose bumps against the tarmac and the craft comes to a safe stop.

“Atta girl, I’m proud of you!” Chris cheered. Taylor burst into tears of relief!

Taylor wasn’t the only person weeping tears of joy; Chris was right there with her! The two hope to meet up in person soon, and Chris has encouraged Taylor to keep pursuing her dream of being a career pilot. She’s already survived an emergency landing, so we have a feeling she can fly with the best of them!

Share this story to celebrate Taylor’s safe landing and thank Chris for guiding her home.

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