The Air Up There
The Air Up There
Jun 17, 2021
“We're putting it in the trees.”
Play • 26 min

On a flight back to his home airport in a Cherokee 140, pilot Truman O'Brien ran into engine trouble. FAA air traffic controllers at the Portland, Oregon TRACON were in close communication with the pilot, offering him multiple landing options and working hard to help guide him to safety. But, flying at 8,000 feet, the aircraft lost altitude quickly. Even with top-notch air traffic control services, O'Brien had no choice but to make an emergency landing in the trees, deep in the forest of southwest Washington.

In this episode, we hear from the people on both ends of the transmission — Krissy Lewandowski, Portland TRACON Controller; Patrick Elmore, Portland TRACON Operations Supervisor; and the pilot himself. It's a story that underscores why clear pilot-controller communication is so critical.

The FAA's WINGS program has resources to help general aviation pilots stay proficient and enjoy stress-free flying. You can learn more about WINGS at

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