Air Traffic Controller Helps Save Pilot

By: Barclay Pollak Email
By: Barclay Pollak Email

Posted Wednesday March 27, 2013 --- 5:45 p.m.

On February 21st pilot Dan Spangler took off from an airport in Watertown. According to Spangler his problem started shortly after he took off.

Spangler says, " As soon as I got into the air, a couple hundred feet into the air, I noticed what I said was my windshield was
fogging up. "

But it wasn't fog on Spangler's windshield. It was ice. The ice coupled with the clouds made it virtually impossible to see. But that wasn't Spangler's only problem.

Jack Deutscher was the Air Traffic Controller helping Spangler. A former pilot, Deutscher says ice on a plane makes it more difficult to turn and it takes more energy to keep the plane in the sky. Making things worse, one of Spangler's most important pieces equipment malfunctioned.

After close to 30-minutes in the sky and lots of guidance from Deutscher, Spangler was nearing Dane County's Regional Airport.
But his problems still were not over. Just moments before he was supposed to land he lost radio contact with the tower.

Finally, after a few tense minutes Spangler landed safely.

Dan says he's confident in his skills and abilities and he believes he would've been able to bring the plane down safely on his own. But thankfully we'll never have to find out and that's all due to Jack and the folks in the tower.

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