Joe Cabuk was a retired jet pilot who was at the controls of a twin-engine plane this week. The passengers of the plane included Doug White, his wife and two daughters.
They had just taken off and everything seemed normal, when suddenly Cabuk made an odd sound and lost consciousness.
Doug White had a little experience, logging about 150 hours on a Cessna 172 (a single-engine plane) but had no experience flying the bigger King Air 200 craft.
White knew where to start. He grabbed the radio. “I need help. I need a King Air pilot to talk to. We’re in trouble.”
“Are you on autopilot?” asked a voice.
“We’re in the Good Lord’s hands,” was Doug’s reply.
Doug turned to his family and told them to buckle up and pray. His wife trembled, while one daughter cried and the second vomited.
The Whites were on their way home from Marco Island, where they attended Doug’s brother’s funeral. White is the actual owner of his plane and leases is out through his company, White Equipment Leasing LLC.
An air traffic controller telephoned a King Air pilot, who got out his flight manuals and checklists and helped White and family make it safely to the ground.
“It was a focused fear,” White said of the ordeal. “And I was in some kind of zone that I can’t explain.”
Once on the ground, officials tried unsuccessfully to revive Cabuk. The official cause of death has not yet been determined.
White had high praise for the air traffic controllers who helped him land the plane. “Heartfelt thanks, ” he declared. “They don’t make near enough money; don’t get near enough respect for what they do.”
Finally, a blog with a happy ending!