When non-pilot passenger Darren Harrison took the controls of a Cessna 208 Caravan from its disabled pilot last May and landed safely, the air traffic controller who helped talk him down was praised as a hero. Earlier his month at the National Business Aviation Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Orlando, Florida, the trade group honored that controller, Robert Morgan, with its Above and Beyond Award for Heroic Achievement.
The NBAA honor “recognizes individuals whose actions avoided injury, loss of life, or catastrophic aircraft damage.” The NBAA Safety Committee established the award in 2020. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said at the award ceremony, “Robert Morgan’s quick thinking, professionalism, situational awareness, and calm demeanor were instrumental in successfully managing a critical emergency situation, saving all three people on board from injury and allowing the incapacitated pilot to receive timely medical care.” After emergency surgery (which some have described as a miracle on par with the safe landing) the pilot later recovered.
Morgan is a 1,200-hour licensed pilot and flight instructor, but had no experience in the Caravan. He downloaded a photograph of the flight deck to help guide Harrison to a safe no-damage landing at Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport (PBI).