Military Test Pilot Helps Out On Airliner

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Lt. Col. Scott Neumann, a test pilot and the deputy commander of the 412th Operations Group at Edwards Air Force Base, took the right seat of a 737 during an emergency diversion of the Los Angeles-bound airliner last week. The pilot headed for Colorado Springs to get medical help for the original co-pilot, who apparently suffered a seizure while in the right seat. (And you thought you had problems with your medical ...) Neumann -- along with his test-flight experience on the B-2 Spirit, plus time on at least four other Air Force aircraft -- was on his way back to California from meetings in Washington when the co-pilot was stricken. While he was helping other passengers move the sick co-pilot, a flight attendant with whom he'd been chatting mentioned his flight experience to the captain. "You'll do," the captain said to the colonel. Neumann spent the next 20 minutes going through checklists and helping out with the landing at Colorado Springs. His good deed almost cost him an unexpected layover in Colorado, however. By the time he got to the ticket counter to get booked on the replacement airplane (the diversion caused a crew and aircraft change) all the coach seats were booked. When the ticket agent found out that he had ever so briefly worked for the airline, however, he got a first-class seat the rest of the way. "Not quite as good as the one I had," he said.