Pilot Passenger Lands King Air after Pilot Dies

 - April 14, 2009, 11:47 AM

The FAA is hailing three South Florida air traffic controllers for assisting Doug White, a fixed-wing single-engine-rated private pilot and passenger, in safely landing King Air B200 N559DW on Sunday afternoon after pilot Joe Cabuk Jr. became incapacitated minutes after takeoff from Marco Island (Fla.) Executive Airport. White, whose White Equipment Leasing company owns the twin turboprop, was on board the aircraft with his wife and two teenage daughters. After Cabuk became unconscious as the airplane was climbing through 10,000 feet, White declared an emergency. A Miami Center controller redirected White to the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, where tower controllers Brian Norton and Dan Favio took over. Favio, a controller in training at the facility, called King Air-rated pilot and his former flight instructor Kari Sorenson, who relayed King Air checklist items, speeds and procedures to Favio, who in turn radioed the step-by-step instructions to White. Thanks to calm controllers and his own piloting experience, White safely landed the King Air at the Fort Myers airport without further incident. Emergency personnel then tried to resuscitate Cubak, who was declared dead 30 minutes later. Cabuk held an ATP certificate with single- and multi-engine ratings, as well as type ratings in the King Air and Cessna Citation 500 and flight instructor privileges. His first-class medical was issued in November, according to the FAA airmen database.