Pilot Coaches Student To Safe Emergency Landing Without Nosegear


A veteran pilot helped guide a young student on her third solo to a safe emergency landing after the nosegear fell off her Diamond Star on takeoff from an airport in Pontiac, Michigan, Wednesday. Chris Yates, the former director of aviation for SpaceX, saw the wheel fall off and quickly got on the radio to help 21-year-old Taylor Hash manage the problem in a radio recording quoted by WXYZ News, which also played a video of the incident. “Taylor this is Chris, my daughter’s name is Taylor and I taught her to fly! We’re gonna be just fine kiddo.”

After flying the pattern, Hash lined up on final and Yates talked her through the approach and landing. “When you touch down, I just want that stick all the way back. You’re gonna hold that stick back like you don’t want that nose to touch,” he said. Hash held the nose off as directed until she ran out of airspeed. The plane pitched onto its nose but did not flip. “The nose is gonna come down, you’re okay, you’re okay. Talk to me. Thatta girl, proud of you,” Yates coached.

Hash said she’s not sure if it would have turned out so well without Yates’s help. “It’s hard to think about what could have happened. The plane could’ve ended up in the grass, in the dirt, flipped over,” she told WXYZ News. Yates said it was an emotional experience for him to help out the namesake of his own daughter in those circumstances, but he also had a frank assessment of the student pilot’s skills. “Somebody with 6 hours solo and 57 total hours flight time doesn’t handle the plane like that,” said Yates. “I hope all the airlines are paying attention to this kid right now.”

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  1. As stated, it was her “third solo.” I would assume that a third solo would have been a “supervised solo,” as was mine. (1965) I see no mention of her instructor being involved in the “coached landing.” She did a good job of following the instructions from Mr. Yates and made, in my opinion, a textbook landing, under emergency conditions.

    • I was just thinking that too.
      My first response after reading the details was that she is was obviously a bit on the slow learner side.
      I can only assume that the lauding of praise is to keep her paying a flight school for the next 50 hours till she’s ready for the check ride.

    • Good question.

      Is 8000 hours enough time to be airline material before you forget to lower the wheels, or 3000+ hours before you just ignore warning messages, or my favorite, over 4000+ hours and that airline material pilot stalled a regional at 41K and did not survive.

      This young lady showed public calm, good communications, and solid flying skills in a situation that may have flustered other “aces” out there and this was only her third time solo in an aircraft.

      There was another young lady, student pilot who had a right main tire depart the aircraft on takeoff. She also got help from outside and she also reflected the best of what represents a pilot, remain calm, work the problem, ask and listen for help. She also landed safe and I hope both become professional pilots, because maybe we need more mentally aware and stable pilots then those ‘think with your dick’ pilots.

  2. Am a retired A&P who once worked at a flight school and something was possibly not mentioned from a previous hard landing or missed at a 100 hour inspection. Regardless, she did very well following directions and getting the ship down and it seems this young lady was a good student which helped a lot.

    • Well, I hope there is an investigation. I doubt the whole thing was bent and it just wasn’t noticed. Diamond was very particular about this sort of thing. I’m guessing more than one part was not reinstalled.

      I was hoping someone who worked on these would be around, but alas, the fact they were different than 172’s kept them from replacing 172’s and so they just didn’t sell as well as they should have.