Good Instruction and Kudos to Maggie

From NAFI's Chair

Good Instruction and Kudos to Maggie

By now most of you have heard the story of Maggie Taraska, the 17-year old student pilot who, at the start of a solo cross-country flight, experienced an emergency that most of us have never faced. Shortly after takeoff from Beverly Regional Airport in Massachusetts, the pilot of a Waco that was to depart behind her reported to the tower that the right main gear of the Piper Warrior Taraska was flying had fallen off.

When you listen to the audio of the tower communications here, you'll recognize that Taraska was very anxious to find herself in this situation. And, to be perfectly frank, I think most, if not all, of us would be too. I know I would. At this point, things could easily have gone badly, but they didn't.

The first person to have a positive effect was the tower controller at KBVY. She reminded a frightened student pilot to fly the airplane. The controller then proceeded to tell Taraska that she would get an instructor up to the tower to talk to her and help her. I firmly believe that it was the controller's calm demeanor and gentle but firm adherence to radio procedures that helped Taraska refocus, allowing her training to kick in. As the audio progresses, you can hear the change in the student's voice.

In the final act, Taraska's flight instructor was located and brought into the tower. He can be heard on the audio saying, "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?"

From that point on, the CFI calmly talks Taraska through what turns out to be a uneventful, yet unforgettable, landing. As his final act, he reminds her to shut everything down and get away from the aircraft after landing. In all of this, he makes it sound like talking a scared, young student pilot through an emergency landing is an every day occurrence for him.

So congratulations to Maggie Taraska for being a good pilot and doing the right things at a very stressful time. And even more so as according to a report from a local news station, the experience is not going to keep her on the ground. She says she hopes to continue her training soon.

And congratulations also to the tower controller who helped prevent this from becoming a tragedy and for coordinating all of the activity at KBVY to facilitate the safe conclusion of this emergency.

And, finally, and I think most importantly, to Maggie's flight instructor John Singleton for providing his students the training, confidence, and trust to be able to handle an unexpected emergency like this. It made me proud to learn that he's been a NAFI member since 2003. Well done all!

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
Share this post:

Comments on "Good Instruction and Kudos to Maggie"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment