Student pilot lands plane after wheel falls off

You’re a 17-year-old kid, alone in an airplane a few thousand feet above the ground and a wheel on your airplane falls off. What do you do?

It happened in Beverly, Mass., just outside of Boston, and while it might be tempting to say it was no sweat for Maggie Taraska, who was a student pilot flying solo, her voice tells a different story.

She landed safely, but not before illuminating the heroism of a government worker, the one in the tower on the ground.

“I was really scared at first,” Maggie told a news conference this week.

Her flight instructor, John Singleton, was in the air with another student when he heard the radio calls, so he landed and “hustled over to the tower” to talk Maggie through the ordeal. Hero.

Maggie planned to go flying again yesterday, she told a news conference on Monday.

“I still have a few butterflies,” Maggie said, “we’ll see how it goes. I will do my best and try not to stress out.”

“Bad things happen all the time and it can’t deter you from doing what you want to do or doing what you love,” she said.

(h/t: Michael Wells)

  • Rob

    Sounds like the hero here is the novice pilot, who maintained enough composure to heed instructions and thereby land the crippled plane as uneventfully as possible. And the plucky young woman is obviously undeterred, ready to get right back in the pilot’s seat. Rock on, Maggie!

    • She did a great job. But listen to her voice at the beginning. Those people on the ground got her focused and prepared. A great job by all.

      • lusophone

        Yes, the voice of her instructor, so impressive, you could hear her anxiety level diminish after he gave her that “back to basics” instruction.

  • AL287

    Did they figure out what caused the right wheel to fall off?

    • No, not yet. I imagine a bolt snapped on the strut. These old training airplanes have a lot of miles on them.

  • slycivilian

    Okay, who is cutting onions in here? As a dad, I strive to be the kind of person who would reach out a help someone else’s kid…because I sadly know I won’t always be able to be there for mine. Really touches me to see a story where people live that out so clearly.

  • ReggieV

    Remember, the Piper at Embry-Riddle had the wing fall off a few months ago. Both pilots perished.