Pilots become heroes after landing the 2-engine aircraft

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Two pilots were recognized for their remarkable attitude when landing a Cessna Citation 550 in an emergency with both engines lost. The award came from the 1st edition of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) award on and about aviation. Here’s how it all happened.

Pilots Bruce Monnier and Gerald Downs work for the Air Track Company in Punta Gorda, Florida, an aircraft charter company that operates many medical flights to transport patients and their families between cities.

This was the case on that fateful day on May 9, 2019, when an aircraft supply failure could have killed the two crew members and at least one other passenger.

Before taking off from Punta Gorda for Niagara, New York State, a member of the ground crew mixed DEF (exhaust fluid for diesel engines) into the jet’s fuel. DEF clogged the engines’ fuel system filters, leaving them without power.

In portraying the heroism in a webinar, both pilots demonstrated not only a complete understanding of all the emergency protocols that every pilot needs to know, but also a flair for teamwork and an emotional balance that is essential to acting in an extremely challenging situation.

According to reports, according to Your Sun portal, pilots have completely lost the power of the first engine to fly 35,000 feet across the Atlantic. They did not despair and began to act to contain the emergency. They began to make plans for how to land their small jet aboard medical transportation.

They quietly warned their passengers that they would be making a side trip to Savannah, Georgia, and continued their emergency landing protocols.

The other engine cuts out

When they were 8,000 feet away, they lost the second motor and, as a result, all of the electrical part of the aircraft powered by the energy generated by the motor.

From there, they started building an airplane and only a visual flight because the airplane’s navigational instruments stopped working.

When asked in the webinar whether there was panic aboard, Commander Monnier was convinced he would answer. “No, the atmosphere in the cockpit was completely peaceful”.

What happened was a lot of conversation between the pilots trying to fix the first problem and then planning their landing without power.

Without energy and instruments, they had to rely on visibility that wasn’t always there. Due to the weather conditions, they have lost sight of the airport at 1,500 feet, Downs said. The track reappeared at the last minute.

“We looked at each other and we had smiles on our faces, like ‘Phew, it’ll be fine’,” he said.

All diesel trucks in the USA must use what is known as “Diesel Exhuast Fluid” (DEF), which reduces the emission of harmful gases in the truck’s exhaust gas. DEF is a colorless, odorless liquid that is stored in small containers.

Airplanes like the Citation require another fuel additive called Prist, which is also colorless and odorless and was stored in similar containers.

On May 9, a utility technician who was later fired due to the failure mixed the two fluids thinking they were both Prist. He refueled two planes that day and both had problems in the air. The second plane only lost one engine and made a safe emergency landing.

James Parish, CEO of Punta Gorda Airport Management Company, changed his liquid storage protocol after the error. The DEF was saved and blocked outside the aircraft access point. Prist, also called FSII, was stored separately with different locks and different keys.

Employees also received more training and DEF and FSII deliveries were registered.

According to Rob Hancik, who was in charge of the Punta Gorda runway, when he operated a small airport in Missouri, he requested that all jet fuels be shipped with the pre-mixed prist. When asked if he was pressuring his superiors to follow the same protocol, Rob said, “Next question.”


Richard McSpadden, Executive Director of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Safety Foundation, was impressed with the story and congratulated the pilots.

“What we see here is a perfect execution of the emergency response,” said Richard, adding, “It’s just a remarkable example of crew coordination and air capabilities.”

“These pilots demonstrated excellent skills and responsiveness to save lives and grace under pressure,” the Punta Gorda Airport CEO said in a statement.

When Downs returned to the webinar, he remembered the passenger asking why the plane had stopped after landing. “Because we lost both engines,” Downs replied.

The passenger question shows that the professionalism of the pilots did not even show that the jet was flying completely without power in an emergency.

This gave the pilots a new place in their fan club. “I don’t like to fly in small planes, but I would fly with you anywhere,” said the passenger.

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