Encouraging words from Chris Yates helped Taylor Hash during an emergency landing after he learned she had his daughter's first name.
Life can take a dangerous turn sometimes but we can survive it with the help of people around us. As pilot Taylor Hash was feeling "frantic" when she found out that a critical piece of her landing gear had fallen off her single-engine plane. Hash, 21, was worried about how she would survive an emergency landing on March 24 at a small airport in Pontiac, Michigan, when the soothing words from a stranger came on her radio. It was just the help she needed. Veteran pilot Chris Yates was flying nearby when he noticed pieces of landing gear fall from Hash's plane in mid-air and drop down to the runway, as per TODAY.
After a 21-year-old rookie pilot lost part of her landing gear mid-flight, a veteran pilot in another plane guided her through a safe emergency landing. @GioBenitez has more. https://t.co/fq1iSPjkZb pic.twitter.com/PdLmV4xicI— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) March 30, 2023
If not for Yates's help, Hash would have had to land without a front tire. "I was thinking of my daughter and just how afraid and alone (Hash) probably felt," Yates said to NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz on TODAY March 29.
"It was definitely the scariest moment I’ve had, probably in my life," Hash told Schwartz. Hash and Yates saw each other for the first time in TODAY's interview. As Yates was a pilot on his own flight when Hash had to make her landing. Yates, who has also been the former director of aviation at SpaceX, could sense the nervousness in Hash's voice when she asked him over the radio if she should treat this as a normal soft field landing.
At Oakland County International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, we interviewed student pilot Taylor Hash about a recent flight she piloted on Friday, March 24. https://t.co/BGKLRENX1v— WXYZ Detroit (@wxyzdetroit) March 29, 2023
The veteran pilot asked Hash to circle the field before she lands as this would calm her nerves. When Hash told him her first name is Taylor, Hash became emotional as this was also his daughter's name. "I didn’t respond on the radio because I just couldn’t even talk," he said. "I was welled up."
As for Hash, she recalled "You can really tell how my voice went from frantic, 'What am I going to do?' to, 'OK, I can do this,' and that was 100% all thanks to him." Yates also asked Hash if she was going to become a professional pilot, and she jokingly said that she was "planning on it."
"This is a good start," he said. "This is a good story to your legacy, kid." "Atta kid! Nice job!" he said over the radio. "There she comes, the nose is going to come down. You’re OK, you're OK, you're OK. Talk to me, kid." "I’m good," she replied. "I’m all good." "Atta girl, I’m proud of you!" Yates added. These w"As soon as he said that, he goes, 'I’m proud of you,' the waterworks came". "You can hear my voice change," Yates said. "I was crying, too."
The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into this problem, which Hash said has not discouraged her from wanting to become a career pilot. She is even more encouraged now after handling such a difficult situation, that she can handle any problem that comes in a future flight. Hash and Yates also said the controller in the tower allowed Yates to speak with Hash throughout the flight and shared the credit for handling the situation well.
The duo is now making plans to meet up and even fly together!