A Florida man used a popular chatbot app to land an airplane after both pilots became incapacitated, local media has reported.
According to witness statements, the feat is “nothing short of a miracle” and has made them “really think about the future of AI”.
Global View News Florida first broke the story. According to the report, the incident took place onboard a Floridian Skyways Boeing 737, flying from San Juan Airport (SJU) to Tampa International Airport (TPA), on April 1, 2023.
While approaching TPA, the pilot notified flight control that he felt dizzy and that the first officer had passed out. Shortly after, the crew squawked emergency code 7700 and stopped responding to flight control.
According to tracking data, the aircraft experienced a significant drop in altitude, followed by a quick recovery and stabilization at a height of just 300 feet (91 meters) above the Gulf of Mexico.
According to GVN Florida, John Williams, 45, was traveling back from a vacation in Puerto Rico with his wife, and two children, entered the cockpit, and took control of the plummeting aircraft with the help of the ChatGPT app on his phone.
“I whipped out the app and yelled, ‘tell me how to fly a plane’,” Williams is quoted as saying in the report.
“The app starts explaining what knob to turn and what lever to pull and whatnot, and there you go, I’m flying the damn plane!” Williams added.
It is currently unclear how Williams was able to enter the cockpit during the uncontrolled dive. According to the report, the passenger had been on his way to the lavatory when he had “felt something fishy was going on” and decided to enter the cockpit.
Pilot cabin doors are typically locked during flights.
AeroTime was able to contact Daisy [the name has been changed to retain anonymity – AeroTime], who was on the flight and witnessed the event.
“The landing was really smooth,” she said. “It seemed far smoother than any other low-cost airline landing I’ve witnessed.”
In the aftermath of the incident, Floridian Skyways shared a tweet by Passengers for Smoother Landings, a non-governmental organization, which describes itself as “a grassroots movement which has never received a single cent from corporate backers.”
“How the hell do airlines still allow human pilots to fly the planes? Dangerous and irresponsible. Put AI in charge of flying NOW!” the tweet said.
The tweet has been shared by a number of other low-cost airlines around the world.
Technology with great potential
Previous statements by Floridian Skyways show that the company has already tried outsourcing some work to artificial intelligence (AI). On March 20, 2023, the airline published a press release claiming that it had begun to experiment with AI assistants designed to help cabin crew distribute and manage catering on some of its routes.
“We can’t wait for our passengers and crews to taste all the delicious treats our attendants are going to prepare with the help of our new algorithms,” the airline said in the statement.
AeroTime contacted Floridian Skyways for a comment.
While we take the aviation industry seriously, we also believe in the importance of having a sense of humor. On April Fools’ Day, we thought it would be fun to share a lighthearted article that is not meant to be taken seriously. Please keep in mind that the information in this article is purely fictional and not based on any factual events. We hope it brings a smile to your face and provides a brief escape from the seriousness of everyday news and announcements in the industry.