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Passenger Lands Plane After Pilot Has Heart Attack

December 18, 1986

PUYALLUP, Wash. (AP) _ After a pilot suffered a fatal heart attack in the air Wednesday, a 25- year-old passenger flew the plane for 30 minutes before bringing it down for a safe landing, officials said.

Jeffrey Macey of Spokane was a passenger in a Gypsy Moth bi-plane with an open cockpit when the pilot, who was not identified, suffered the heart attack, said Federal Aviation Administration duty officer Don Grovac.

Macey, who was not trained to fly, landed the plane at Thun Field, a small strip near Puyallup without a control tower, Grovac said.

″He made a ground-loop landing,″ in which the plane spun around in a 360- degree turn upon setting on the ground, Grovac said.

″Not bad for a person who doesn’t know how to fly,″ Grovac said. ″And that kind of plane has a tendency to do that anyway.″

The pilot of the plane was dead on arrival at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, officials said. His identity was not released until his family could be notified.

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