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Maple's Mid-Flight Emergency


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It started out as a normal Friday for EFL quarterback Dogwood Maple. He went to an early morning practice, worked out, and watched film, all before heading home for the evening.  He was planning on just having a quiet night at home until he received a phone call from one of his college roommates asking if he wanted to grab dinner.  Not wanting to pass up this opportunity on seeing a friend he hadn't seen in years, Maple jumped at the chance.  


"I knew it was a little bit different when I asked where to meet him and he just gave me an address.  But this guy was always known as a bit of a prankster so I figured it would just be some random alley and he'd be there to jump out and scare me before heading to a restaurant downtown.  That all changed when I pulled into the Eastern Wisconsin Regional Airport, which is where the address led," Maple explained.


His roommate recently got his pilot's license and had planned for the pair to take a short flight to Chicago for dinner and to catch up on old times.  


"I was a little nervous because it was a small plane, but I knew he was responsible and had a bunch of flight hours logged," continued Maple.


The first half hour of the flight was uneventful with the two talking about old times and discussing everything from airplanes to football.  But all of the sudden, everything changed.  Maple's friend (whose name we've redacted for privacy concerns) all of the sudden passed out and leaned forward on the yoke, taking the plane into a dive.


Maple had taken a few hours of flying lessons in high school, but hadn't touched the controls of an aircraft since.  


"I knew enough to know that you always want to do three things in order: aviate, communicate, and navigate.  So I knew I had to fly the plane first.  I pulled him back off the yoke and made sure our wings were level and then I checked his pulse.  It was there, but it was weak.  He was sweating and didn't look good at all and I couldn't wake him up.  I then squawked 7700 which tells everyone that I've got an emergency. And the only reason I knew that was because I've been watching some emergency flight documentaries lately, which was lucky."


Maple was then able to contact the nearest control tower and let them know about the situation.  Fortunately, one of the flight instructors in the tower had thousands of hours on this type of aircraft, so he was able to tell Maple exactly what to do.


"I was terrified.  But this guy knew everything. I mean it was like he was in there with us.  He was telling me what to do without it sounding completely foreign.  He explained where the gear was, where the flaps were, how to control the aircraft, how to slow down and speed up, all of that.  He'd say 'flip the red switch that's two inches to the right of the radio' and stuff like that.  He had spent so much time in this type of airplane that it was second nature to him," Maple said.


When the tower eventually guided him to the Kenosha Airport, his friend began to slowly wake up but was still groggy.  After letting Maple do a few practice runs where he would pass directly over the runway, the tower told Maple he could land whenever he was ready.  


"I thought there was no way I could get this plane on the ground. I was convinced we were going to crash.  But somehow, that instructor and the controller got us down safely and we got [redacted] to a hospital ASAP.  I'm just really, really thankful."


The pilot of the aircraft is undergoing tests but is expected to make a full recovery.


(650 words)

Edited by dogwoodmaple
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