Aero Flight Ops Team Assists with Heroic Rescue
Aero Flight Ops Team Assists with Heroic Rescue
On November 11, 2022, a group of employees from Honeywell Aerospace's Flight Operations team (Ed Manning, Clint Coatney, Paul Carter) were conducting a routine test flight north of Payson, somewhere over the Coconino National Forest in the northern part Arizona. They were testing Honeywell Anthem hardware, which is installed in Honeywell's Pilatus PC-12 test aircraft.
1 - Honeywell PC-12 test aircraft
Springing Into Action
Suddenly, they received communication from air traffic control asking if they could assist with a search-and-rescue event in the immediate area. A small Cessna 150 aircraft had gone down among the trees of the forest. The team headed toward the crash site, where they found another aircraft, a Citabria, circling the area at a low altitude, piloted by the son of the man whose plane had crashed.
"When we arrived we were mostly relaying details of the crash site condition from the son to air traffic control," recalls Ed Manning, who was one of the test pilots onboard the PC-12 that day. "The son had witnessed his father crash, and we were able to help keep him calm as emergency services came to the site. Eventually, he ran low on fuel and needed to land in Payson."
2 - Additional details of the PC-12's flight path
Honeywell's PC-12 crew continued to circle the area, coordinating the arrival of search and rescue helicopters after his departure, guiding rescuers to the crash site. Eventually, Civil Air Patrol aircraft arrived on the scene to take over, and the Honeywell team returned to Phoenix after a long day.
Upon returning to Phoenix, the crew received a call from the son, who let them know that his father was alive and was going to be OK -- he was being airlifted to the Phoenix area for medical care.
A Letter of Thanks
A few weeks after the incident, the Flight Ops team received a surprise... it was a letter to them, written by the pilot of the downed plane.
He extended his heartfelt gratitude and gave more detail from his experience that day, noting "I cannot express how powerful the site of [Honeywell's] aircraft was to my mental wellbeing and my desire to hang on. I needed that human connection."
He continued, "My family and I are forever in their debt... I wish them all the deepest wishes for a wonderful holiday season."
Read more of his letter below:
Dear Sir or Ma'am,
I am writing you to commend the actions of the flight crew of Pilatus N389H, Honeywell 12.
On November 11, 2022 1 was flying my Cessna 150 enroute to Gallup, NM from Deer Valley with clothing donations as part of the Navajo Nation Christmas Airlift. My 21 year old son, was flying our Citabria on the same route ahead of me. While over the Coconino National Forest I experienced a loss of engine power and was forced to land in the tops of the tall Ponderosa Pines which dominate the forest. The ensuing impact with the pines almost completely sheared both wings from the fuselage of the aircraft, The aircraft came to rest inverted on the forest floor completely destroyed. Somehow I had survived the crash and was able to extract myself from the wreckage. I moved to a small clearing where I was able to signal my son that I was alive. I had fractured 11 ribs on my left side along with fractures to my spine in three places and internal bleeding. It was not long before my injuries made it impossible for me to move. I laid on my back on the forest floor looking up at the sky through the small clearing in the pines.
I could see my son's plane circling above me and I knew he would call for help. I had no communication with him as my cell phone had been lost in the crash. Because of how low he was flying and the bleed over from the Cessna's ELT it was difficult for him to communicate with Albuquerque Center on the emergency frequency. Albuquerque asked Honeywell 12 if they could assist by first identifying the accident site and then by flying above my son and relaying his radio calls to Center. It had not been more than 20 minutes after the crash that I saw the Honeywell Pilatus begin to orbit above my son. After circling for almost an hour above me my son had to depart the area for Payson. I knew he did not want to leave me alone injured in the forest but he had done everything he could do. But Honeywell 12 never broke station, after my son left, the crew brought the aircraft down low and made several passes over me. I knew they were trying to tell me "hey you are not alone, we are here with you and help is on
I cannot express to you enough how powerful the site of that aircraft was to my mental wellbeing and my desire to hang on. I needed that human connection. I just concentrated on the Honeywell plane for the next hour until the sound of helicopter blades signaled that I would be rescued. Even after the MEDEVAC helicopter had landed and medical personnel were working to stabilize me, I could see Honeywell 12 still orbiting above. I found out later from my son that the Honeywell crew had called him and given him updates on the progress of my rescue in real time. These updates greatly eased his mind and provided comfort to a young man who had witnessed a very traumatic event. The crew of N389H are amazing human beings of the highest caliber and Honeywell is blessed to have them as employees. am sure that what I have recounted here is only a small portion of what this crew did following my accident. I believe the actions of the Honeywell 12 crew were primarily responsible for the successful outcome of my accident. I know my accident disrupted whatever test plan N389H had scheduled for the day and probably cost Honeywell a lot of Jet-A, I do apologize for that but THANK YOU.
Please extend my heartfelt gratitude to these individuals. My family and I are forever in their debt. I hope Honeywell can honor the actions of these individuals in some way. I wish them and all Honeywell employees the deepest wishes for a wonderful holiday season with their families. I know this Christmas will take on a much deeper meaning this year for my family thanks in part to Honeywell. God bless you all.
3 - Photo of the Father and Son visiting the Honeywell Flight Test operations on Jan 17, 2023