But no embellishment was needed in the story of what happened after 81-year-old John Collins lost consciousness. His wife, Helen, who was a passenger, began to fly the plane around the Sturgeon Bay area.
She’s not a pilot, but her son today revealed she knew how to take off and land a plane because her now-late husband taught her how 30 years ago just in case something happened to him.
It’s an assessment another son didn’t give to MSNBC:
Somehow, in what Richard describes as “a miracle,” Helen managed to touch down safely at Cherryland.
“She didn’t even know how to drop the landing gear,” Richard said. “I can’t even tell my mom how to run a computer!”
Amazingly, Helen didn’t suffer any major injuries, Richard said. While the plane landed nose-first, and Helen got some bruises in the process, she is expected to be OK.
That’s a different sort of story than another son offered to the Associated Press today
Collins’ son James said his mother knew her husband had died after he fell unconscious, yet she remained calm. He said his mother had learned to take off and land about 30 years ago at her husband’s urging, in case something happened to him. She has flown hundreds of hours by his side.
Talking to the Associated Press exclusively in a telephone interview Tuesday, James Collins said he’s also a pilot and that he helped his mother Collins via radio from the ground as the other pilot helped her out in the air.
“At one point she didn’t even want the wingman to go up,” he said. “She said, `Don’t you guys think I could do this on my own? Don’t you have confidence in me?’ She was calmer than everybody on the ground. She had it totally under control.”
That’s a much more intriguing story than the one originally told.
(Photo: Door County Sheriff’s Office)