Student pilot accidentally declares hijacking in Cessna 150 during engine failure  

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One student pilot’s solo cross-country flight took an unexpected turn when he lost the engine in his 1968 Cessna 150 at 2,200 feet. The 180-mile round-trip flight was the last step in Brian Parsley’s journey to becoming a pilot, a goal he wanted to accomplish before his 50th birthday. Having flown the route with his instructor, Parsley felt prepared to face the final challenge. “Could I have done things better… the short answer is absolutely,” Parsley said in a YouTube video debriefing his flight. Parsley was originally using the camera so that he could debrief the landings with his instructor. He turned it on early when, roughly 12 miles from his home airport, he began experiencing rough engine. Assuming it was carb ice, the student pilot checked the aircraft’s gages and felt secure enough to continue his flight. Video feed from the cockpit shows Parsley’s reaction moments later when the engine began to sputter and ultimately fail less than 10 miles from Concord-Padgett Regional Airport (JQF). Parsley’s hands shook as he experienced what he called “pure panic mode.” The student pilot pulled from his seven months of training experience to determine the next steps. In the event of an emergency, pilots should declare the emergency to Air Traffic Control (ATC) and squawk the appropriate transponder code. In this scenario, Parsley entered squawked 7500 instead of 7700, before correcting his mistake. The pilot then informed ATC that he was flying over a residential area and was using the aircraft’s pitch to maintain altitude. The controller initially issued clearance to land at Concord-Padgett, but Parsley knew his aircraft wouldn’t reach the runway in time. Instead, he prepared for an off-airport forced landing. Looking out the aircraft’s windows the pilot searched the residential area, finally spotting an open field. ATC responded with emergency personnel sent to Parsley’s location.


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